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Pop Culture

'Spider-verse' filmmakers were so wowed by a 14-yr-old's Lego trailer remake, they hired him

“It blew us all away, including some of the best animators in the world," producer Phil Miller told the New York Times.

Scene from Spider-man Across the Spider-verse Lego trailer

Preston Mutanga's Lego trailer impressed the industry's top animators and he's only 14.

Marvel's 2018 animated feature film, "Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse," was incredibly well-received by fans and critics alike, and its sequel, "Spider-man: Across the Spider-verse" is being touted as just as good if not better.

The films follow a young teen, Miles Morales, as he discovers his superpowers and learns to wield them. But it has now been revealed that, behind the scenes of the new film, another young superhero was being discovered—a real kid with genuinely impressive 3D animation powers that even wowed some of the world's best animators.

At just 14 years old, Preston Mutanga recreated the trailer for "Across the Spider-verse" using Legos and shared his creation on social media in January of 2023. He tagged the producers of the film and wrote, "I recreated the entire Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse trailer in LEGO!"


Sounds downright adorable, right? Kid with his Lego hobby making little home movies?

Yeah, watch this:

His trailer caught the attention of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, producers of both "The Lego Movie" and "Spider-man: Across the Spider-verse." Both men were floored when they discovered it was created by a kid.

“We found out that it was a 14-year-old kid who made it and we were like, ‘This looks incredibly sophisticated for a nonadult, nonprofessional to have made,'" Miller told The New York Times. “It blew us all away, including some of the best animators in the world.”

Lord responded to the trailer with a compliment and a quip: "Well done!!! Where were you in 2014 oh wait you were 6."

Preston replied that he was "closely observing the movie" at that time, and clearly, he was. And he was learning a lot.

In fact, his animating skills were so impressive the filmmakers invited him to help create a scene for the new "Spider-verse" movie—an homage to "The Lego Movie" that Lord and Miller wanted to include in the film.

Preston's parents were naturally skeptical at first. This certainly wasn't what Preston's dad anticipated when he got him the 3D animation software, Blender, or when Preston used YouTube tutorials to teach himself animation techniques. And what parents would believe that two of the biggest names in the animated film world would enlist the help of their 14-year-old for a major film?

But the offer was real. According to The Times, Preston got a new computer and high-end graphics software and worked on the scene from his home in Toronto. The filmmakers explained to Rotten Tomatoes that Preston animated the shots during his spring break and made revisions after he finished his homework.

Undoubtedly, this experience taught him more than any school homework ever could about his passion.

“One new thing I learned was definitely the feedback aspect of it, like how much stuff actually gets changed from the beginning to the final product,” Preston told The Times. "Getting to work with the people who actually made this masterpiece was honestly like a dream,” he added.

Apparently, it was pretty dreamlike for the animation crew to work with him as well. Animation lead for "Spider-man: Across the Spider-verse" Chelsea Gordon-Ratzlaff shared on Twitter that they and the whole team were consistently "blown away" by Preston's shots.

Now that Preston's involvement in the movie is public knowledge, he's been getting his due praise from the filmmakers and others.

How wonderful that this young person has not only worked hard on polishing his craft but had his talents recognized by some of the best in the business. Kudos to his parents for their encouragement and kudos to the filmmakers for giving a kid this huge opportunity and mentoring him through it. We can't wait to see where in the multiverse Preston Mutanga goes next.

Here's a side-by-side of the original trailer and Preston's Lego remake so you can see how spot-on it was:

A young woman drinking bottled water outdoors before exercising.



The Story of Bottled Waterwww.youtube.com

Here are six facts from the video above by The Story of Stuff Project that I'll definitely remember next time I'm tempted to buy bottled water.

1. Bottled water is more expensive than tap water (and not just a little).

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube


A Business Insider column noted that two-thirds of the bottled water sold in the United States is in individual 16.9-ounce bottles, which comes out to roughly $7.50 per gallon. That's about 2,000 times higher than the cost of a gallon of tap water.

And in an article in 20 Something Finance, G.E. Miller investigated the cost of bottled versus tap water for himself. He found that he could fill 4,787 20-ounce bottles with tap water for only $2.10! So if he paid $1 for a bottled water, he'd be paying 2,279 times the cost of tap.

2. Bottled water could potentially be of lower quality than tap water.

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Your purchasing power can swing by 30% from state to state.

Image by Tax Foundation.

Map represents the value of 100 dollars.

As the cost of living in large cities continues to rise, more and more people are realizing that the value of a dollar in the United States is a very relative concept. For decades, cost of living indices have sought to address and benchmark the inconsistencies in what money will buy, but they are often so specific as to prevent a holistic picture or the ability to "browse" the data based on geographic location.

The Tax Foundation addressed many of these shortcomings using the most recent (2015) Bureau of Economic Analysis data to provide a familiar map of the United States overlaid with the relative value of what $100 is "worth" in each state. Granted, going state-by-state still introduces a fair amount of "smoothing" into the process — $100 will go farther in Los Angeles than in Fresno, for instance — but it does provide insight into where the value lies.

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Optical illusions are wild. The way our brains perceive what our eyes see can be way off base, even when we're sure about what we're seeing.

Plenty of famous optical illusions have been created purposefully, from the Ames window that appears to be moving back and forth when it's actually rotating 360 degrees to the spiral image that makes Van Gogh's "Starry Night" look like it's moving.

But sometimes optical illusions happen by accident. Those ones are even more fun because we know they aren't a result of someone trying to trick our brains. Our brains do the tricking all by themselves.

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A 6-year-old asks ​Neil DeGrasse Tyson an adorable question. He gives her an awesome answer.

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." — Albert Einstein

Neil DeGrasse Tyson at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.

I recently spent some time with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. He's known not only for breaking down stereotypes about what kinds of people go into science, but he has actively stood up and spoken against those who would close its doors, especially to young women.

So when Neil was asked this question by a little girl during a public speech, he gave one of the best answers I've ever heard. It may drive some parents crazy, but it also might just help change the world.

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Photo courtesy of Kara Coley.


Kara Coley, a bartender at Sipps in Gulfport, Mississippi, got an unusual phone call on the job last week.

"Good evening," Coley answered. "Thank you for calling Sipps!"

A woman on the other end of the line asked, "Is this a gay bar?"

Sipps welcomes everyone, Coley explained to her, but indeed attracts a mostly LGBTQ crowd.



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Have you ever seen anyone put an avocado pit in water to grow an avocado tree? I've seen lots of people try, but only a few succeed. My mom has a tiny avocado tree growing in her living room that she managed to grow from the pit of a Hass avocado she ate. It's small but thriving, and I've often wondered if it will ever grow actual avocados.

As it turns out, it could—but they won't be Hass avocados.

Wait, huh?

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