Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Irony behind LEGO

The Irony behind LEGO
            Every child has spent hours upon hours on their hands and knees, shuffling through thousands of little plastic bricks, trying to create their own engineering masterpiece. Legos have been around since the late 1940s, and the company has now become the world’s largest toy manufacture in the world worth over $14.9 billion ( With not only toy sets bringing money, but also video games, and even theme-parks. Lego has grown to be one of the most admired companies in the world. But where to go from there? Lego was able to bring every child’s dream to the big screen when they released The Lego Movie in 2014, and did it in fashion. With phenomenal reviews, even scoring a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie saw great success(
Immediately we see the cliché “be yourself “ message that is seen in every children’s movie; along with everyone is special. Emmet, our protagonist, learns that following the instructions is not always the best option, but rather be creative and experiment. In the movie, he starts out being an ordinary construction man, following every rule given to him. He wakes up and right away starts to read “Instructions to Fit In, Have Everybody Like You, and Always Be Happy,” which includes exercise, say hello to the neighbors, and even “drink over-priced coffee.” He works a construction job where everybody follows the rules, blowing up anything that is weird and making it look exactly like the instructions, making for a smooth operation. They all sing “Everything Is Awesome” while building, enforcing  the idea that working together and following instructions is great! Such a lovely message to send to kids from a company that strives on giving the power of creativity. The movie then takes a wild turn when Emmet accidentally stumbles on “the Piece of Resistance.” A new world is opened up to him, and the master builders- a large group of famous characters like Dumbledore and Batman- of the Lego Universe dub him “the Special”.  Through these mentors, he learns how creativity is so important and that there is no need to follow the instructions all the time. This
message is constantly strained on, the most prevalent being at the end of the film. Emmet falls into “the Pit of Nothingness” where he is transported to the real world. Here we learn that this all is taking place in the basement of an adult who loves Legos and has built an elaborate world that his son has been playing with. The son eventually shows his strict father that  creativity is good, rather than his strict world he built by the rules. The message of teamwork and originality are obviously shown throughout the film, but there are some deeper messages shown as well.
In the somewhat creepy utopian society that we see Emmet living in at the start, President Business runs the whole system. If the name didn’t give it away, he rules with a strong grip (as strong as a plastic hand can have) over any and everything and plans to use a doomsday weapon called “the Kragle” to freeze everything in its right place. Emmet obviously rebels against this dictator showing
that big business is terrible and that one business cannot control all. This strong message is pushed in an obvious way, but it is hard to think that kids could really pick up on such an idea. The movie does have a star-studded cast including Will Ferrell as President Business and the adult, and Morgan Freeman as Emmet’s mentor. Because of this, along with their kids nagging at them, adults will go and see this film and see this message. Regardless, the huge irony is hard to miss. The “build using your imagination, but make sure you build with our product” is pretty much the title of the movie, but what happened to big business being the enemy? Don’t forget Lego is worth over 14.9 BILLION DOLLARS! Bilge Ebiri, a writer for went as far to even title his review on the film, The LEGO Movie Is Practically Communist. This might be a little bit of a stretch, but there are points in the film where you start to question it. The entire movie is one huge ad promoting their product and making kids lust after the possibilities if they had more Legos. Genius, but ironic.
With all that being said, the positive messages do out way the weirdly, anti-capitalism message. The movie was extremely well done and really sparked a lot of creativity in the minds of children. The audience did gain emotional attachment for such fictional characters, so the film did allow us to get lost in it and soak up what it had to say. After all of this, I give it four out of five pickles.


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