A megalomaniacal corporate villain threatens to end Life As We Know It. A proletarian everyman transcends his limitations to save the world in an unexpected way; and gets the girl.
“We’ve seen this movie before” is the fitting cliché. Indeed, this is the unvarying plot for a certain species of animated epic (Robots was another example).
The Lego Movie’s evil entity isn’t exactly corporate – it seems to be governmental –but there’s a melding, with the bad guy named “President Business.”
That name makes a rather unsubtle ideological statement. Of course the creative types behind these films are all lefties, so there’s never a business or businessperson that’s anything but wicked. Yet it always amuses me to remember that these corporation-hating movies are financed, produced, and distributed by . . . corporations . . . to make profits. Well, Lenin did say capitalists will sell the rope to hang them with.
But back to The Lego Movie. Despite my jaundiced remarks thus far, this is a wonderful film which we thoroughly enjoyed. Really. It’s actually not an extended commercial for Lego toys. From start to finish there’s not a dull minute in it. And with much droll humor, it’s not just a kid’s movie. Or maybe one has to be a kid at heart.
I’m not too jaded to appreciate the creativity that goes into something like this. It’s a visual phantasmagoria, that goes by so fast I almost wanted to view it in slo-mo. And having characters that are, well, mere Lego figures, was surely a creative challenge, but at every turn the film actually makes that work for the viewer’s entertainment. Although the characters are, to be sure, given human-like personalities, the ending sequence, in a truly brilliant and unexpected way (which I won’t reveal) plays upon the fact that they are after all in reality Lego toys.
And so, while with evil “President Business” and all that, the film ritualistically carries the baggage of anti-capitalist ideology, on a meta level the fact that it was made by a corporation, for profit, shows us those are not dirty words. This film’s corporate producer profits because people willingly pay it for something they value more than the money spent, in this case, entertainment, amusement, enjoyment. In a market economy the vast bulk of profits earned are likewise garnered by giving people things they value. Creating that value is how we all get richer and live better.
Go see The Lego Movie and do your bit for corporate profit.