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An Objectivist Look at “The Lego Movie”

The LEGO Movie
Year: 2014
Genre: Animation, Action, Comedy
Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Stars: Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell

An ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together. So I take back my initial worries about the film I had from the trailer because The Lego Movie was actually REALLY good.  I was shocked at how much I loved this movie.  It’s entertaining, has very well-done visuals, and a theme that I can completely appreciate.   I think another reason that contributed to my immense enjoyment of this movie is that I started reading Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead this morning before going to the theater so those thoughts on objectivism and the strength of the individual were key in my mind when I sat down to experience what I felt was essentially a kid’s overview of Atlas Shrugged.

Everything is Awesome

Emmet Brickowoski is an ordinary Lego man – a construction worker in the city of Bricksburg.  In this city, Everything is awesome… there’s even a song about it.

lego1This Lego world is brilliantly realized and detailed.  EVERYTHING in this movie looks like a Lego.  It’s is CGI but it’s CGI deliberately made to have a stop motion feel to everything.  This CG Animation is some of the best and most creative I’ve ever seen in that every single thing in this movie is LEGO. But let’s take another look at this seeming “utopia” of Bricksburg.  Everything is awesome because it is all the same.  Everyone does the exact same thing, as instructed to by countless manuals and billboards.  Everyone lives the exact same life according to the published word of Octan – the ONLY company existing in this world that makes every single product in use by everyone.  There is no concept of an individual in the world of Lego.  Hell, every Tuesday is “Taco Tuesday” where every citizen gets a free Taco – provided by The State of course.  Even the media in this world is not unlike the old Soviet newspaper, Pravda, in that it only preaches the same party anthem over and over:

Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you’re part of a team
Everything is awesome
When you’re living our dream

lego-3OUR dream.  You don’t know live for your dreams or what you want – you serve to function the betterment of your fellow brothers in the socialist dreamland of Bricksburg.  You don’t serve yourself – you serve the state.  At his job in construction Emmet and the others are told “Tear down everything that looks different and build new.”  This is not the place for creativity.  The Stalin to this Communist wonderland is found in Lord Business (Will Ferrell) aka President Business.  Not unlike the scientists at the end of Atlas Shrugged, Lord Business has found himself a weapon in “The Kragle” that will once and for all make everything stay the same – where everyone serves their one and only purpose.

The Special

lego-4Emmett realizes that not everything is awesome when he happens to stumble upon a fiercely independent girl, WyldStyle (Elizabeth Banks).   By accident Emmett finds a relic, something that does not belong in this Lego world, that sticks to his back.  It is this strange item, this piece de resistance, that makes him THE SPECIAL – the most unique person in the world.  After escaping from the police across the different city-states of Lego Land, WyldStyle takes Emmett to meet Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) who is something like the John Galt in the Ayn Rand Lego fantasy land.  There they formulate a plan to use THE SPECIAL to put an end to the socialist plans of Lord Business and allow creative expression to flow once again. lego 5

In this world there are people known as Master Builders.   These are the creative ones, the ones capable of producing great things that can be of a benefit to everyone.  Lord Business has captured most of them and enslaved them in his thought tank where they have no free will – every thought of theirs is to create a new object for The State.   In Atlas Shrugged, John Galt gathered all the great thinkers and producers of the world in a utopia called Atlantis.  In The Lego Movie, these Master Builders have congregated in their own utopia called “Cloud Cuckoo Land” where free expression reigns supreme.  In Cloud Cuckoo Land people are allowed to be themselves and make what they want, without having to follow the codified instructions of what society wants or The State demands.

Be Yourself.  Be Creative.

LEGOThe Lego Movie delivers a very strong message that “You are a unique person,” and that it is important to be creative – to be you.  This is a message that’s delivered in so many different ways in so many different kid-oriented movies but with The Lego Movie it works so well.   It also has a double person of providing a theme for parents that it is important to let your child be who they want to be instead of who you want them to be.  Ayn Rand allusions aside, this message is expertly delivered.  When I first saw trailers for The Lego Movie I stated the fact that Legos are a tool to boost the power of imagination and didn’t like the fact that this film seemed to be stating it’s own purpose instead of allowing these toys to foster creativity.  I was WRONG!  The Lego Movie does the complete opposite of that – it says, in no uncertain terms, that a Lego Kit DOES come with instructions and there’s the set projects you can do – but Legos (and life in general) is SO much better when you toss out those instructions and do what you want. Conformity can make a society that looks serene and efficient – but that means nothing if people aren’t allowed to be people.  

The Lego Movie asks you to be you – and what better message to get behind than the power of an independent spirit.

About The Author
Matthew Coats
Matthew Coats
Formerly known under the pseudonym of Alex Jowski. Site owner, movie aficionado, and film school grad. Matthew Coats presents reviews, some written, some as vlogs, and some as weekly shows, for a variety of different movies and television shows. After years of struggling to get his own projects off the ground amidst the normal routine of living, Matthew Coats decided to create a site in order to share and promote movie reviews, video games and much much more from talented and original people all across the internet.
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