This Is the Oldest Known LEGO Movie

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 7 2014 12:37 PM

The Oldest Known LEGO Movie

lego_movie
Lars and Henrik Hassing were 12 and 10, respectively, when they made their "brickfilm."

Lars C. Hassing/YouTube

The LEGO Movie, reportedly “poised for one of the best February openings ever,” can be seen as, among other things, Hollywood’s belated move into the “brickfilm” business. You have probably seen a few brickfilms, even if the term is new to you: They are movies made with LEGO bricks, typically animated with stop-motion techniques. Some brickfilms recreate scenes from and trailers for other movies; many tell their own tales. Over the years, a very active brickfilm community has developed online.

And while brickfilms are perfectly suited to the YouTube era, they predate the Web video age by several decades. Indeed, it is widely believed that the short movie below, titled En rejse til månen (Journey to the Moon), is the earliest known brickfilm. It was made by Lars and Henrik Hassing in 1973, when the two cousins were 12 and 10, respectively. They made it, Lars says on YouTube, where he uploaded the movie last year, as a gift for their grandparents’ golden wedding anniversary. He and his cousin were inspired by NASA’s Apollo program. Hassing makes no mention of Georges Méliès, whose Le Voyage dans la lune seems like another possible inspiration. Maybe the minds of innovative filmmakers just naturally drift moonward.

Advertisement

The cousins were eventually able to show their film to Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, president of LEGO (and son of the company’s founder). “He liked it and had a copy made. We, in turn, got a LEGO factory tour and got some big sets to take home.”

En rejse til månen was “filmed in Super 8 without sound,” Hassing explains. “Most of the film is stop motion animation, but there are also scenes with movement using a fishing line.” Lars’ little sister Inger, 10, helped “with the landscapes of papier-mâché.”

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.