I saw The Lego Movie with the kids last week, and in a nutshell, it is fun for the whole family, pro-freedom and anti-fascist. I’ll try not to give away any spoilers, and I’m not going to dissect the plot, but I will describe some of the symbolism in the movie, so if symbolism is a spoiler grey-area, don’t read beyond the second paragraph, and come back after you’ve seen the movie.
Many of the so-called conservative media outlets, such as Fox Business, are claiming The Lego Movie is anti-capitalist, but it’s not; The Lego Movie is clearly anti-fascist. In this case, I’m referring to fascism as a totalitarian government that controls finance, industry, and commerce. I understand the confusion, however, since most people nowadays don’t realize how fascist the land of the free ® actually is (Hint for the uninitiated: 9 federal cabinet departments and over 100 federal agencies and commissions control the economy).
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Symbolism in The Lego Movie
I’m going by memory here, so the details are fuzzy, and I’m sure I won’t remember everything on the first try, but here are some aspects of the movie that stuck out to me (in no particular order):
- The antagonist’s name is President Business. (President + Business) = (Government + Corporatism) = Fascism. If the message was anti-capitalist, they would’ve chosen something like Mega Corp Man or Captain Capitalism. President Business’ powers are also described more like governmental powers than corporate powers. He divides Lego nations with borders, crushes dissent with capital punishment, and controls an extensive military-industrial complex. Lastly but most importantly, President Business’ motivation is totalitarian control over society. If the message was anti-capitalist, his motivation would’ve been profit instead of control.
- Some scenes take place in Cloud Cuckoo Land. If you’ve never heard of that term before, Cloud Cuckoo Land refers to an idealistic place where everything is perfect. In the movie, Cloud Cuckoo Land is pretty much like heaven, where all the creative and free people live. I distinctively remember Unikitty saying there are no rules and “there is no government” there. In other words, in an ideal world, there is no government.
- At some point it’s mentioned that President Business controls all the schools, media and voting machines.
- President Business likes citizens that are dumbed-down consumers who follow orders (Lego building instructions) and don’t ask questions. There is a lot of satire and parallels to western culture here.
- The protagonists fight for their freedom in the movie, and the word, freedom, is used. Again, if this had been an anti-capitalist movie, they would have been trying to save the environment from the clutches of monopoly men wearing top hats and monocles. Instead, they fought for their freedom from President Business, who wears a crown with an all-seeing eye and giant boots, which are made for stomping on people.
Those are the most obvious symbols that I can remember off the top of my head, but I’ll update this article in detail after the Blu-ray comes out.