A child watching The Lego Movie might see it simply as an entertaining and creative movie with funny jokes, recognizable characters, and a pretty catchy theme song. However, someone who is older watching The Lego Movie might be able to dig deeper and find some more complex ideas and concepts beneath the innocent, colorful, and entertaining surface of the film.
One concept that is shown in The Lego Movie is the concept of hegemony. In our textbook, John Storey says, “the concept is used to suggest society in which, despite oppression and exploitation, there is a high degree of consensus, a large measure of social stability; a society in which subordinate groups and classes appear to actively support and subscribe to values, ideals, objectives, cultural and political meanings, which mind them to, and ‘incorporate’ them into, the prevailing structures of power” (Storey, 83). This idea is especially clear in The Lego Movie. In the film, it is evident that the people of the Lego World are completely succumbed to a uniform existence because of President Bussiness’ power. However it is clear through the actions of all the people in Emmett’s town that they willingly submit and obey his orders blindly.
Storey also goes on to explain the idea of bricolage and how youth cultures have the tendencies to create their own purposes for the commodities that they are provided. This idea is shown in The Lego Movie through the characters that are considered to be “master builders.” Storey describes bricolage as a process during which “products are combined or transformed in ways not intended by their producers’ commodes are re-articulated to produce ‘oppositional’ meanings” (Storey, 85). The master builders in The Lego Movie do exactly this when they build several different vehicles and devices out of the blocks and pieces already existing in the Lego world in order to save everyone from their ultimate destruction.
One more idea that is presented by Storey is how sometimes, continued authority can not be secured only by moral and intellectual leadership and the processes of hegemony are replaced by a different power. This is what Storey calls the ‘repressive state apparatus’ (A.K.A: the army, police, etc.) (Storey, 85). An example of this in The Lego Movie is President Business’ use of the Good/Bad Cop character to do much of the dirty work for him while trying to catch Emmett and continue with his diabolical plan to create order in the Lego world.
Storey, J. (2012). Cultural theory and popular culture: An introduction (7th ed.). Harlow (England): Pearson.