The Lego Movie
What if an alien in the future stumbled upon The LEGO Movie? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
The LEGO Movie (2014)
Stars: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks
Directed by: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures, RatPac-Dune Entertainment
Available on Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Sony Entertainment Network
Written by: Ben Steiner
Analysis & Directed by: Jared Bauer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon
Additional Notes by: Tommy Cook
The LEGO Movie’s Hidden Meaning – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is The Lego Movie, based on the tiny choking hazards humans used to train their army of child architects.
The film tells the story of yellow humanoid creature Emmet Brickowski,
a construction worker who is rather unpopular despite having the voice of a charismatic and bankable leading man. One day, Emmet sees a cute girl, which naturally leads him to fall down a big hole. He gets a doohickey stuck to his back, but fortunately it’s the famed Piece of Resistance, so now everyone wants to hang out with him.
During this chillsesh, Emmet learns that President Business plans to freeze the world with a weapon called the Kragle, which is smidge megalomaniacal for a government official. The cute girl, whose named is Wyldstyle with two Y’s because humans were the worst, returns to save Emmet with some fancy punches. She takes him to meet Vitruvius, who is known to locate certain things from time to time. They believe Emmet is the One, I mean the Boy Who Lived, I mean the Special. They visit one of my recurring nightmares to meet with the Master Builders, who don’t need instruction manuals, but could use an etiquette lesson or two.
The cops follow them there and destroy the place, so Emmet gallantly hides in a couch, then even more gallantly leads an attack on President Business’ headquarters. Let’s hope there’s an elevator.
Doesn’t matter, because President Business immediately defeats everyone and sentences them to join a thinktank. Vitruvius tells Emmet he made up the prophecy about the Special, so Emmet jumps out the window.
As luck would have it, he falls right into a wormhole and awakens in another dimension, where it is revealed that he and all his friends are toys in some kind of “toy story.” Turns out the larger conflict is between the kid from The Wonder Years and his rule-crazy father, actor-slash-entrepreneur Will Ferrell. They have a nice little heart to heart about easing up on the Krazy Glue, then everyone has a good cry and we all go home to call our parents.
The Lego Movie may be fashioned as a movie for children and brandwhores, but it’s actually a satirical jab at the 21st century American political, economic, and social landscape. President Business is the president, as one half of his name suggests, but the other half suggests he’s all about the bottom line. This juxtaposition satirizes the effect money has over politics, and the increasingly blurred line — you know you want it — between corporate and political power. In a prime example of crony capitalism, all media, business, government, and interpersonal interactions are controlled by a single corporation.
The Octan Energy Corp is a sly reference to the behemoths that controlled life on Earth: Bing, Google Plus, and, of course, Tidal high-fidelity, lossless laundry detergent.
President Business is a corporate despot, and wants to maintain the status quo by gluing everyone in place, something I’ve considered with my children on more than one occasion. He uses his control of the economy to subjugate his citizens, even using a coin as an actual weapon. The proletariat is subdued into silence and complacency with the allure of Taco Tuesday, proving once and for all that humans were powerless to resist alliteration. Citizens are also dulled into submission by watching “Where Are My Pants”, a show that pokes fun at an era of mindless television, not to mention its cheap, short-form, internet-only facsimiles.
And if that wasn’t enough to take television down a peg, the film also includes numerous literary allusions. An “I’ve got my eye on you” poster and surveillance camera call to mind George Orwell’s 1984 classic, 1984. Cloud Cuckoo Land is a reference to a play by Aristophanes called “The Birds” featuring a chaotic realm of the same name. The name “Vitruvius” is a reference to a Roman author who wrote a 10 volume work on architecture, which later inspired Da Vinci to create his famous “Vitruvian Guy,” or “Truvie” to his friends.
The film also features some bizarre existential undertones. After his death trip into oblivion, Emmet enters a heightened reality where he realizes free will is an illusion, and he is nothing more than a puppet being controlled by some snot-nosed fleshmonster. When Emmet wiggles off the table, he is undergoing an existential rebellion, refusing to let anyone define him — be it his societal overlords, his God, or beloved child star Fred Savage.
Emmet becomes a religious figure, which is appropriate, given that his name means “truth” in Hebrew. His entry into the “real world” symbolizes death, so his return is a Christ-like resurrection. And just like Christ, he ends up stealing Batman’s girlfriend. Ultimately, The Lego Movie is a celebration of creativity and individualism over uniformity. Emmet lives in a society as rigid as the blocks themselves, his individual will smothered by instructions and a terrifyingly catchy song. As Emmet eventually learns, to become the Special, “you must embrace what is special about YOU.” Don’t settle for being just another cog in some larger machine. Now this may seem like a harsh indictment of corporations for a glorified two-hour toy commercial, but keep in mind that Earth’s greatest export was hypocrisy. For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. Sweet dreams.