Am I not part of normal society now? Now before you go thinking I have put on a mask and lurk in dark alleys tackling criminals or I have forgotten its the early 21st century and moved to another time zone I have not. What I mean is ‘am I the kind of guy that mainline movies are made for’. What made me have this thought, well the LEGO movie did. I had promised my eldest son that he and his brothers could go see it and that happened this weekend.
This film has had rave reviews. I mean rave. Aside from the review above which you can watch the film got a 96% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes which is no mean thing. But I just don’t buy it and here is why. Firstly I sat in an audience of three hundred most of whom were children and most of them were at times so bemused and bored that they cried, spoke and wandered around (that did not happen during the excellent Despicable Me 2) and secondly the film just made me sad. Some have said that it pokes fun at the society that created it, the media obsessed, consumerist driven, you are never a failure despite your mediocrity society of the Western World in 2014. It does but its a veneer that covers the following.
The main LEGO character called Emmett is a vacuum of a man who just wants to fit in with a generic ‘awesome’ template of being ideal in his environment. The bad guy is called President Business (telling eh!) who does away with everyone who disagrees with him using a fascist police force. Literally disassembled by the powers that be. If you fail you get bailed out or soothed by the government if you are rich and important but if you try to be different and you are normal..you are killed. Special privileges for those in control in manipulation of the masses. President Business explains that ‘everything must stay the same’ and that building lego on your own is bad, that the elite must stay in control and society must confirm rigidly. Those at the top want to freeze everything, nothing must change or fail if its important. Business wants to literally ‘glue everything in place’. In the film the creativity of builders is brutally repressed for conformity. Emmett must believe he is special to become special and so he does and the film pokes fun at this but not enough. Skills don’t come from simply thinking you have them. Believe and it happens…leads to the dangerous core of this film. Emmett is passive and vacant and then someone tells you to be in violent conflict with others, you don’t see your own goals and you do not make your own choices. Its a bleak and a dangerous message. ‘Believe you are special but only when we give you the power to attack and destroy’. It is all troubling. At the end of the movie there is a cop out of the core drive of the film that brings it to a sudden halt before the appearance of Duplo.
Its a veneer to me because it actually left me feeling cold inside. This is not the times of my childhood with films like The Goonies, Karate Kid, Short Circuit. Its a veneer that once pushed through covers the fact that actually we are all like the movie portrays us and perhaps our society now is really rather screwed. Buy the lego kits, don’t create your own designs but you are awesome and you should create your own designs but don’t since you need to conform. Some scenes actually put me in mind of adult rated war movies. No hope in this fantasy world.
Did I look too far into it? Well maybe but I thought I would put my considerations to virtual paper.
Its a fun movie, its fast and its bright and it pushes buttons. Go see it. I don’t want to see it again.