The Lego Movie, Anti-capitalism and The Lego Company

by burakdharkan

Well, I never thought I could see such a movie for “kids” when I was done watching The Lego Movie. It was great fun (as expected) but what I was surprised about was the references and the multi-layered scenario.

Before I go on further, I would like to eliminate any possible misunderstandings if I may call it that way, because it would not be correct to take this as a serious critic of the movie since I do not possess such extensive knowledge on subjects mentioned below.

From my childhood to become a 24 year old young man, I have almost all the time kept in touch with Lego. But I was not thoroughly convinced that there could be a proper movie made about Lego in a good way. It would either be boring or animation (which means no Lego) or a seriously weak plot which makes it practically a cartoon for kids. To my and many people’s surprise, It was not the case.

So what was it like then? It was a layered film in my opinion. Perfect and super fun for the kids who both knows and does not know about Lego and a film for grown ups who are concerned about our world today.

As you might know, Legos usually come in sets with instruction manuals. In the movie we had a world where “Everything was awesome” as it is quoted in a song in the movie. But what was on the table is a model of capitalist world like ours today, where people think they have choices but frankly they don’t really have and the few choices they do have are dictated by capitalist enterpreneur Mr. President. So as we see here, main villain of the movie is a CEO. That is a very bold move to make in a movie like this but as I mentioned before it was highly appreciated by adults who are concerned with topic. The setting of the movie was a hybrid of Nineteen-Eightyfour and Panopticon. There was a dictation on people to follow the rules and who tries to ignore instructions given to them and rebel was taken away by police. Oh and there was an open Big Brother reference on a billboard where Mr. President says; “I’m watching you!” So as you can see while there is not a clear indication of surveillance like in panopticon but there surely is enough to take this setting as a 1984-panopticon hybrid.

Well, the question which strikes into my mind is, why? Why exactly? The Lego Company is a capitalist big company even as a toy company. I mean, they even move their factories to China and Mexico for cheaper labour.

On the situation of answering this main question I must admit that I was kind of inefficient. The Lego Company might be taking Batman as role model, like a dark knight and trying to end capitalist world from within? Just kidding do not worry. But really, their intention was really unclear. Maybe they decided to critisize capitalist system while making a movie which would unlock the imagination of children but I strongly believe that the other layer of scenario was too strong to be something this insignificant.

Whether The Lego Company dislikes capitalist world and wanted to give a striking message or just felt like critisizing for the sake of criticism, it was a good thing they had as end product and it was a child movie I wish I had seen when I was a kid.