consume, dear consumer, and be happy in the hands of lord business...
Everything is not awesome. The merry theme song of the LEGO movie invites us to believe that everything is. That is, until our plastic protagonists discover they are mere pawns in the game of "Lord Business".
So they decide to join forces to tap into their potential, ultimately overcoming the corporate titan's machinations to glue them down. In the end, the characters reclaim their autonomy, find new meaning in life, and manage to befriend Lord Business in the process. That was the take home message from The LEGO Movie.
But some critics saw something subversive that I missed as I laughed over The LEGO movie with my six-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter. The suggestion that in taking my kids to this film, I exposed them to a "practically communist" agenda is no laughing matter.
As BBC Culture recently reported, the new Pixar-inspired film is sparking the old gripe that Hollywood is cramming liberalism down our kids' throats. In reality, corporations are cramming consumerism down citizens' throats. Despite its "anti-capitalist" connotations, The LEGO Movie - a product of Hollywood, itself a booming business - has grossed in excess of $360 million worldwide.
Brainwashed not brainless
This is not a complaint. It was decent entertainment for a two-hour commercial. And like the dutiful consumer I am, I also purchased several books and toys based on the film.
If there is anything uncomfortable about Pixar films, it is the harsh truths they sometimes force us to confront. I still remember squirming in my seat when I took my kids to see WALL-E. Most of the parents and children seated around us were sipping a week's worth of sugar from oversized Styrofoam containers, bearing eerie resemblance to the obese characters on the screen.
Gus: on perusing the Sunday Telegraph cartoons, this weekend (23/03/14) (I borrow the ST from next door) I wondered how the Calvin strip passed the censors at the ST — a sheet mostly designed to sell stuff and bash Labor in between adverts. Frame by frame, the cartoon strip was about being pestered by junk mail demanding that you contribute to this and buy more of that. The conclusion is quite telling and so close to the bone, it de-validated all the junk advertising that barely keeps these papers afloat. The "advertisors" must have been spewing chips.
HEY MOM, I SAW A BUNCH OF PRODUCTS ON TV THAT I DIDN'T KNOW EXISTED, BUT I DESPERATELY NEED!
May be the line is too subtle and we are too brainwashed to dismantle our shackles to consumerism. The manufacturers depend on our inability to see the trap while we laugh at the reveal. I have harped about this concept many times on this site, but to see it float in the MMMM (mediocre mainstream mass media) could be a sign of cultural shift.... (I wish — I am kiding myself, aren't I?)
Calving and his dinosaurian distractions always annoy me. But his philosophical discussion with his stuffed tiger reflect the often ruthless spirit in the little guy. But in this one effort, the creator of the strip revitalised the spirit of good satire rather than plod with its often dreamy entertainment.
One of the major problem in our societies is not that "capitalism is bad"... But capitalism in the hands of conservatives is atrocious. Conservatives are like super-fat people at a pie-eating contest... They cannot stop stuffing themselves, even after the winner has been announced... Capitalism should be the province of socialism, where rules, restraint, regulations and "moderation" make the horse work for you in the fields so to speak, rather than help the riding master in his suit of armour run you, the little guy, over...