w00t!

[2006]

Directed by Nathan Wells | Featuring Nathan Wells as Alex and Derrick | Written by Nathan Wells

If I was going to begin reviewing brickfilms, I just had to start with one created by Nathan Wells!

Memes, viral videos, copypastas, and humor (whether intentional or not) used to be a very different brand of comedy. Today, ‘internet relevant’ comedy and memes tend to fit within several categories – and while not completely stale – tend towards like-minded and familiar; whereas the memes of old were often unfamiliar and (partially due to the genre’s infancy) fresh. Before there was an unwritten social culture of the internet – complete with its “do’s” and “do not’s” – it was a place for everyone to share their, often unique and fickle, brands of humor.

Certainly, Star Wars Kid wouldn’t be a hit today, and likewise, something like Gangnam Style [2012] or Avengers: Infinity War [2018] spoilers probably wouldn’t have been as popular in decade’s past. Yet, the memes of today are built upon the memes of yesteryear. Bring up a Trololo, (Russian Rickroll) and you’ll often get a grin – albeit a nostalgic one.

One Brick Studio’s wOOt! came out when internet memes were still relevantly new. Sure, things like the duckroll originated a few years prior, and even some usenet posts could be considered the very first memes, but the genre hadn’t reached the mainstream, I’d argue, until the advent of YouTube (the site’s popularity, and the advent of video memes, rapid success of viral videos, and the YouTube poops) memes were a relative need-to-know in-joke shared amongst memers nearly exclusively.

wOOt! is certainly a product of its time – in a good way. As with a lot of ‘internet history,’ if you will, it’s easy to forget dial-up, flash, and video downloading. While each of these three still exist (with adobe flash on the way out by December of next year) they’re much less prevalent than a decade or two ago. Google fiber boasts nigh-instantaneous download speeds, flash has largely been replaced by HTML5, and video downloading is but a remnant next to instantaneous HD video streaming. wOOt! hearkens back to the ways of old without reminding of the stress, viruses, and loading times of the era.

A rosey window into a random day in 2006, if you will.

Opening on Numa Numa (Dragostea din tei [2004]) and an admittedly impressive camera pan, (a rival to even today’s brickfilm ‘standards’) the film immediately buds with familiarity. For Alex and Derrick familiars (and Leftfield Studios’ Aladibababad [2004] fans), the cased American third edition holographic Charizard with a misprinted hitpoint counter (red 1×1 Lego tile) on display in the background is a nice callback to their first appearance in Material Possessions [2006] – as well as a continuity nod.

We find Derrick sitting at the admittedly outdated, yet really well designed, computer, as he is watching Numa Numa; here recreated with Nathan Wells’ signature minifigure (of course). Alex catches him, scoffing at his Star Wars Kid video, while similarly condemning and name dropping several other prominent memes and websites of the time. (‘Myspace’ being perhaps the worst aged)

The ‘climax,’ if you will, following the standoff between the two – is Derrick’s delightfully horrid rendition of Peanut Butter Jelly Time [2002]. Alex’s promise of hitting him with a baseball bat is followed through, and we cut to credits; initially written in leetspeak before being ‘corrected’ back into plain English. Weird Al’s White & Nerdy [2006] plays over the credits. (And was only a month old at the time!)

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the otherwise plain wOOt! is Nathan Wells’ impeccable animation. Fluid and paced, it’s a vast improvement from his first brickfilms, and, along with the clever cinematography and directing here, shows just as much promise of future potential as Beast [2006] did, albeit in a simpler and more lighthearted way. I, myself, have rewatched wOOt! several times (Along with the ‘Basic Animation – Walk Cycle’ episode of his Bricks in Motion [2009] tutorial series) if for no other reason than to study the admittedly excellent walk cycle.

As far as Lego stop-motion goes, this film isn’t quite on the level of something like Zach Macias’ Mirrored Perspective, [2006] but for such a short and simple concept – nothing is overlooked. The animation and cinematography are given respect, and it’s really kept the film looking spiffy even today – adding to the brickfilm’s longevity. (Even if the subject matter is a bit dated)

Whether you’re looking to recall a simpler time on the internet, or just wanted to study some good animation, I’d recommend watching wOOt! again. It’s surprisingly great for what it is, and definitely deserves a 3 and a half stars! Certainly not Nathan Wells’ best work, although, not terrible either. wOOt!, if released today, would, in my opinion, still hold its own as a pleasant, if no longer culturally relevant, piece of entertainment.

It’s certainly a very well made brickfilm. Check it out on the brickfilm wiki too if you’ve got a chance!

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