By Iain Dalton
A movie about Lego, the interlocking brick building toy? Is it some kind of joke? But the right-wing, Rupert Murdoch-owned, Fox News said the movie’s ‘anti-capitalist’ message is ‘pushing an anti-business message to our kids’.
The main villain, President / Lord Business, presides over a world where people are encouraged to follow the rules and consume his goods.
Our hero, Emmet Brickowski, is a construction worker who follows all the rules but all this changes when events bring him into contact with a ‘relic’, a distinctively non-lego object that has fallen into the lego world from the outside. Needless to say in this big Hollywood production, anti-capitalist themes fade away as the film goes on.
The movie pokes fun at the Lego brand itself – the police cannot find Emmet because his mugshot looks like almost everyone else.
Some characters, especially the female characters, are one-dimensional but it is an enjoyable film, and may even tug at your emotions at times.
Ultimately, the film-makers aim to say Lego can be played with by all the family, so go out and buy it. The movie has grossed over $50million already, and will probably boost sales of other Lego products.
But Lego is a relatively creative toy, requiring people to use their imagination and by tapping into genuine frustrations and anger at a society so clearly organised to satisfy the likes of Lord Business, many people may leave the film with much more than the film-makers want.
Oddly The Lego Movie was the most scathing criticism of capitalism I’ve seen from a mainstream film.
The film is set in a world where one large business holds a monopoly, and controls the state, suppressing opposition.
The workers in the film receive daily instructions about how to live their lives, and are told this is the best way for things to function.
They are hypnotised by mindless TV and music – instructed to “enjoy popular music”, for example, with messages about how great everything is in the current system.
This leads to a stifling of creativity, and ultimately no real happiness. And to Lego struggle. The film was produced by mainstream corporations and its revenue still ends up in the hands of the capitalists but it was refreshing to see.