When it was first announced that LEGO was making a movie, most of us shrugged it off as a thinly veiled 90-minute commercial. Then the trailers started coming out, showcasing a star-studded cast and some seriously wicked sharp dialogue. But the LEGO movie has a secret. A dystopian secret.
Main character Emmett lives in LEGO City and just wants to fit in. But is it merely a desire for societal acceptance or something more sinister? Hidden in plain sight in both the trailers and TV spots are a handful of disturbingly Big Brother-esque propaganda ads. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
Let’s ease into it with this innocuous advertisement for cars. ‘One Car. Some Variety’. Just a silly bit of poking fun at modern day car manufacturers. But see that symbol in the bottom right corner? Remember it.
Next up, just simple billboard reminding folks if they’re feeling blue, just try smiling. A misguided attempt to cheer up a depressed populace or something more?
Okay now we’re getting into the meat of it. Most of these billboards and advertisements are seen during the ‘Everything Is Awesome‘ commercial. Our first hint something is amiss? This giant sign urging citizens to ‘Integrate!’
Quickly followed by a partially obscured piece of propaganda – complete with stylized Cold War era art – stating simply ‘President: Because I Said So’.
To solidify the uneasy feeling of living in a totalitarian society, this billboard proclaims ‘Conform! It’s The Norm!’ and if you’ll notice the upper right corner, there’s that symbol again. Who is Octan?
Whoever they are – let’s go with mega-corporation – they’ve got their hands in every pie. Banners strung up around town remind citizens there is ‘No Chewing Gum’ and ‘No Playing In The Street’ and most confounding ‘No Marching Bands’.
The President also has banners up, his face always watching. Always judging you. ‘Don’t Touch My Stuff’ he proclaims. ‘Don’t Stay Up All Nite.’ Why Mr. President? Is it because revolutionaries only meet under cover of darkness?
Suddenly the reminders to ‘Smile!’ – brought to you by Octan – take on terrifying undertones. What happens to those who don’t smile? Do we even want to know? I guess we’ll all find out one way or another when ‘The LEGO Movie’ hits theaters February 7th.
All screenshots courtesy of Warner Bros. ‘The LEGO Movie’ trailers and television clips.