The LEGO Movie called out for promoting communism and anti-capitalism


By Spencer Blohm

It seems like an unlikely, even odd choice to make a film based on actual toys. Granted, it’s been done before, but Transformers and G.I. Joe weren’t geared towards children. They were marketed at the audiences who first played with the toys when they originally came out in the 80s. LEGOs are something that are still popular today, so making a $60 million movie about them, geared towards children, was a risky move. Luckily for the folks at Warner Bros. and LEGO, it paid off in spades.

The movie aimed to draw in not just children, but also the older generation who also remembers playing with LEGOs as children. To help bring in older moviegoers they recruited an all-star cast for voice work including Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Alison Brie, Will Ferrell, Will Forte, Dave Franco, Morgan Freeman, Jonah Hill, Liam Neeson, Shaquille O’Neal, Nick Offerman, Cobie Smulder, and Channing Tatum – and that’s not all of them, either.

What they got was a massive hit, something most didn’t see coming. What was expected to be a cheesy flick finished its first weekend out by topping the box office and pulling in over $69 million domestically. Its second weekend, the notoriously competitive Presidents’ Day/Valentine’s Day, the film held steady in the top spot, pulling in just under $50 million. According to Forbes, the film continued to bring in big money throughout this past weekend as well, with a $31 million box office take.

In a twist not many expected, some critics have blasted the film for promoting, of all things, communism and anti-capitalism. In his review of the film, Vulture’s Bilge Ebiri compared the climax of the film with a proletarian revolution and drew comparisons between the plot and communist anti-exceptionalist beliefs. Fox News pundit Chris Payne said the film was anti-business and was designed to “embed these kind of anti-capitalist messages [in children] and get away with it.” Payne also pointed out that the movie’s villain, Mr. Business, had the same heavily shellacked hairdo as Mitt Romney.

That’s awfully heavy stuff for a kid’s movie, but many of these pundits are overlooking a major point, which is that this that this film isn’t anti-capitalism, it is capitalism. It’s essentially an hour and a half long commercial of LEGOs.

Moviegoers don’t seem to care, or even notice, the criticisms leveled at the film. If anything, the discussion has only resulted in making the film more popular, particularly with adults. Looking at the graph compiled by (above), tweets about the movie skyrocketed this weekend, peaking on Sunday, likely when people were discussing the fact that they saw it earlier that weekend. According to the social media analytics tool Topsy, the positive sentiment for the movie for the month is at 81 (meaning 81% of social media mentions of the film have been positive). For Lego, that is exactly the type of advertising money can never buy.

It comes as no surprise then that Warner Bros. and LEGO have already announced plans to make a sequel to be released in 2017. Given the first film’s success. I expect The LEGO Movie to follow that all too familiar Hollywood model of creating as many sequels as the public allows before becoming disinterested. Have any of you seen The EGO Movie? What were your thoughts about it and the supposed controversial messages in it?

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