Thursday, June 4, 2009

Beastie Bricks

Brendan Powell Smith has announced the next five chapters of Revelation in his ongoing Brick Testament project. My comments on Brendan's interpretation of the text would probably be pretty much the same as those for his previous installment, so I'll largely keep myself to the LEGO aspects. I do think that one of Brendan's overall themes in the Brick Testament is summed up when he has one of his characters say:

What's the point of repenting to a god who tortures women and children and commits mass murder?

Rather than give my own response, I'd be interested in hearing what others have to say to this in the comment section. Okay, on to the LEGO:

In God Tortures Everyone Except 144,000 Jews a plague of locusts comes upon the earth. I really like the star figure using a Clickit element - it kind of makes me think of a couple of places in C.S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader where the main characters meet stars who have come to earth. The locusts themselves are great - though I might have used 1x4 hinge plates rather than 1x4 tiles to give them more articulation. Of course then you'd either have exposed studs or have to use 1x2 tiles to cover them, resulting in fatter legs. Random observation, but the illustration of 9:6 reminds me of an episode of the Family Guy, when Death was laid up with a sprained ankle and so Peter found he couldn't die, no matter what. One possible humorous way to illustrate the "seek death but will not find it" would have been to do a game of hide-and-seek, with a figure in a black robe and hood with a scythe doing the hiding. The "wish for death" scene is really effective in capturing the movement of the falling fig and the panes of glass.

God Kills One Third of Remaining Humans describes the release of four angels to bring plagues upon mankind. Interesting use of some Bionicle piece as a lion head on the army of horsemen. The black skeleton is very effective in the picture shown above. The illustration of 9:20 brings together a great collection of random LEGO elements to make the different idols. That same picture very successfully achieves the illusion of kneeling - tough with figures without knees.

Satan Thrown to Earth brings us the dragon and the pregnant woman. I've heard many different interpretations of these symbols, but Brendan chooses to play it straight, which was probably wise. The achievement of the seven heads on the dragon is well-done. The crown of stars and the destroyed microscale town are also very nice, and I really enjoyed the "war in Heaven." I probably would have used swords, but the machine guns and cannon give a touch of humor. There were a few build details in this chapter that I did not like. The white wall in 12:8-9 seems wrong - maybe it would be better to have the edge of a cloud that Satan is being thrown off of. When the woman is given eagle's wings, the wedge plates used here make her look more like Buzz Lightyear - I think the hippogriff wings would have worked better. Also, the blue flex tubing in the last image is odd. I assume these are streams of water flowing into the crack in the earth, but I don't know if this succeeds for me.

Alternative to God Proves Very Popular introduces the beast. Again, probably wise to go with a straight beast rather than to try to force some interpretation. The beast itself is well-designed, and translates very well to stone in the subsequent chapter. When the beast is giving a speech in 3:5 there's a great building backdrop behind him. The bank of microphones is also very effective. By the way, is that George Bush in the parade with the beast?

Remaining Humans Doomed to Torture shows some of the reign of the beast. The troll climbing out of the ground works very well, as does the stone beast. The illustration of 13:16 does a good job of portraying a variety of people, using different legs, the constructed skirt and legs on one fig, and the extended torso to make the really tall guy. Nice brick wall and hand stamp in that scene as well.

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