culture industry and The Lego Movie

       The topic I chose is culture industry, which is characterized by standardization, stylization, and information in mass culture products. In The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception, the author criticizes the deceptive nature and the current situation of culture industry through negative attitudes. Because of the increasing advancement and improvement of reproductive technology, mass culture has a phenomenon of industrialization, like other material products in societies, to reproduce on an enlarged scale.

Cultural nature, cultural influence, and the human understanding of culture are already different with the pre-industrialized society when the cultural production becomes an industry, which cultural products are reproduced on large scale like material products. Firstly, technological improvements promote the development of culture industry, so the enhancement of people’s living standard promotes the extensive demand for cultural products. People’s culture world seemingly become rich and colorful, but in numerous cultural products, most are reproduced according to the standard and project of the culture industry, which means these products have standard characteristics. For example, repeating pop songs with various melody, films with the same themes, and TV shows in the full screens. They need to consider whether this kind of cultural product could be approved by society, does it own vast potential for future development when people are doing cultural creations, so the art has an obvious purpose, planning, and standardization.

       The standardization of mass culture means the vanishing of personality, the culture of individual style and creativity becomes less and less. However, for the producers in the culture industry, they can reproduce whatever they want, given that such products rely on standard productive modes. They don’t need to consider any elements needed in reproduction, it can be reproduced as long as it reaches the standard mode. Like the article The culture industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception (2001) mentioned: “The machine is rotating on the spot. While it already determines consumption, it rejects anything untried as a risk. In film, any manuscript which is not reassuringly based on a best-seller is view with mistrust.”

              At the same time, monopolists in the culture industry sell cultural products to earn profits, so these products have commercial natural, and artistic products also become a commodity. The most startling thing is that now the culture industry seemingly has no longer hide the commercial characteristics of cultural products, in their eyes, culture is commodities, they totally discard the connotation of culture itself. Thus, now the movies are all commercial movies, the purpose of making a movie for producers is to earn box office. They adopt lots of special effects, fashion, funny, erotic plots, or violence to catch the eye of spectators.

       We watched The Lego Movie (2014) in the week 4, this movie describes that Vitruvius, a wizard, tries to prevent super glue “Kragle” falling into enemy hands, but he fails and his eyes are blind in both eyes hit by a laser. Thus, he warns Lord Business that there will be a person who will find Piece of Resistance to prevent Kragle.

The story mode is the most usual hero model of Hollywood style. As always, the protagonist Emmet is a mediocrity, and then get involved in a fight to save the world by chance. He gradually becomes a hero, and this progress cannot lack a heroine who urges Emmet to make efforts. The image presents a new appearance, which the world in the film are represented in a way of building blocks, including buildings, characters, and vehicles, and even water, bullet and explosion effects are all building blocks.

In the second part, spectators would find the concept of battle in the Lego world corresponds to the different attitude to toys between the father and the son. Therefore, the solution of final contradiction is the father’s understanding to his son. In other words, this story still goes back to Hollywood classic theme, which is family affection.

Meanwhile, there are lots of characters we knew or watched before, not only the protagonist Batman, but other members in the justice league appear in the film, such as Superman, Green Lantern, the Flash. Warner Bros, possessing the copyrights of Harry Potter and Hobbit, make Dumbledore and Gandalf as two of the roles appearing on the screen as well. From the other side, we could find that the heroine appears, the hero is chased, and then Lucy saves Emmet, they escape to a world of another dimension, they conspire to overthrow conspiracy, finally, they save the world. Does that look like The Matrix?

lego_wps_1920_1sheetActually, the theme of In the Lego Movie still uses the Hollywood routine that is opposed to totalitarian and advocates freedom. The examples and plots I wrote are all about culture industry, and this film completely reflects how to convert a commercial advertisement for Lego to a comedy action movie.


Adorno, T. W., & Bernstein, J. M. (2001). The culture industry selected essays on mass culture. London: Routledge.

T. (2016). LEGO Worlds: BIGGEST CITY IN THE WORLD! LEGO Worlds Gameplay & Exploration (LEGO Worlds). Retrieved October 02, 2016, from


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