Comrades, when I first saw the opening scenes of The Lego Movie, I was thrilled.
The movie’s analysis of class conflict is impeccable, approaching the one Marx and Engels made so brilliantly in Das Kapital.
The plot goes like this: the aptly-named Lord Business rules the Lego city of Bricksburg and is also the president of the sinister Octan Corporation. Despite the vast Bricksburgian proletariat’s oppression, their class-consciousness is undermined by insipid reality TV, corporate media, and mindless pop songs with titles like “Everything is Awesome.”
But after construction worker Emmet Brickowski stumbles upon an item which has the power to spark a revolution, he finds himself in an epic struggle to stop Lord Business from completely destroying the entire Lego universe itself.
Is this not a perfect metaphor for late capitalism’s predicament?
Every single one of these conditions has clear analogues in the United States: corporate control of politics and media; capitalism sowing the seeds of its own demise; proletarian ignorance of its own revolutionary role in history. It is no coincidence the bearded sage who guides Brickowski on his journey bears a striking resemblance to Karl Marx. Not since Papa Smurf has an animated character brought Communism so successfully to the masses!
The movie’s separate stages also offer pointed criticisms of current reactionary tendencies. One of the first Lego Worlds Emmet travels to, Cloud Cuckoo Land, serves as a powerful antidote to the Randian ideal of the individual-as-hero. Cuckoo Land, a sort of fluffy candy kingdom in the clouds, is ruled by “Super Builders” who have individual special powers but refuse to work together as a group.
But Brickowski forces them to work communally, and it is only then that they can fight back against Lord Business’ expanding capitalist empire.
With all these criticisms of corporate culture and control, it’s no wonder the imperialist running dogs at Fox News are terrified by this children’s movie.
But they need not be so worried, for The Lego Movie contains a giant cop-out to capitalism. At the end of the film, Brickowski has the opportunity to finally destroy Lord Business with the all-powerful item he found at the movie’s beginning. But Brikowski instead gives a mushy speech invoking the poisonous postmodern dogma that “everyone is special” – even Lord Business himself. Lord Business is somehow charmed by this nonsense and ends his plans for world destruction.
What kind of Menshevik appeasement is this? Given the opportunity to begin the arduous path towards Full Communism, any classconscious workingman knows he must completely smash/liquidate the ruling capitalist class and forcibly seize the means of production.
While the Lego Movie had a clear opportunity to show us all that Full Communism was indeed possible, it instead opted for a silly centrist middle ground. It is a terrible pity, but it must be said that despite its incisive analysis of class, The Lego Movie is only Half Communism at best.
All good parents who plan on taking their children to the cinema must be warned of this dangerously subversive movie.
General Secretary, Evanston Writers’ Soviet
Hero of Socialist Labour ‘98
Director of Marketing, North by Northwestern
[This article is satire. Please do not write to us if you think it isn’t.]