A Short-Film Review

South Africa By: Mandy J Watson on 14 January 2011
Category: Screen > Shorts > Reviews
Tags: #lego, #watch Comments View Comments


Much like last year, we're kicking off this year's posts with a fun short film. This one is appropriately named Smile and there's no talking - everything is expressed purely with visuals, which makes the sentiment instantly universal and very endearing.

Smile is the story of a backpacking LEGO man who goes on an epic trip around Europe to see the iconic sights and experience the world. (Although I can't figure out how he manages to get to Iceland (and back) by train.) In this live-action short, much of which is filmed in recognisable locations, the LEGO Minifig interacts with people along the journey, "speaking" their language - once again all expressed only in visuals - showing how we are all interconnected and language and culture really isn't as much of a barrier as we sometimes choose to think it is.


The music has a lilt that's reminiscent of the rhythm of trains on tracks and it's paired with a harmonica - the instrument most associated with the wandering traveller and the train hobo - and it suits the piece beautifully.

The editing offers swift transitions that have a comedic effect and allow quite a bit to be packed into only a few minutes, and the LEGO Minifig (perfectly accessorised for various locations) is very cute.

The video was made by Charles Temujin Doran, David Hugh Andrews, and Henri D'Armancourt and it won an award in 2008. Temujin Doran, or "Studiocanoe", is an illustrator and filmmaker in London who also made the Build Anything LEGO short that went viral towards the end of last year.

Watch Smile and Build Anything in the "Watch Online" section below.

Watch Online Watch Online
Streaming Video Vimeo: Smile
• MP4, Low Res (360p/640x368): 16.5 MB; High Res (720p/1280x720): 41.9 MB

Smile from Studiocanoe on Vimeo.

Streaming Video Vimeo: Build Anything
• MP4, Low Res (360p/640x360): 7.2 MB; High Res (720p/1280x720): 20.74 MB

Build Anything from Studiocanoe on Vimeo. Opinion: Smile
Rating: 9/10 Opinion: Build Anything
Rating: 8/10
In One Word: Inspiring

Key Facts: Smile
Year: 2009 (3 April 2009)
Running Time: 00:03:10
Genres: Comedy, Family
Charles Temujin Doran:

David Hugh Andrews
Henri D'Armancourt

Key Facts: Build Anything
Year: 2010 (12 June 2010)
Running Time: 00:01:21
Genres: Family
Charles Temujin Doran:

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