Playfully subversive and countercultural, the Lego Movie satirises surveillance culture and our modern-day neoliberal struggles, says Ben Walters.
The film’s exuberant, kid-friendly larks – Wild West! Robot pirates! Unicorn kittens! Batman! – are laced with satirical digs at surveillance culture, built-in obsolescence and police brutality, as well as inane positive thinking. Its opening sequences show a world in which a pliant, consumerist populace, mollified by overpriced coffee and dumb TV shows, is exploited by cynical leadership; political and corporate power are conflated in the villainous figure of “President Business”.
Our screens have been filled with images of urban collapse and apocalyptic destruction, dystopian wastelands and zombie hordes. But, like Washington and Westminster, Hollywood has been better at scaring us with the threat of calamity than inspiring hope for the new.