‘Everything is awesome’: The LEGO movie and the affective politics of security

Joyce Goggin
Finance and Society, 2017, 3(2): 143-58


Scholarship on the finance-security nexus has typically been concerned with ‘first order’ phenomena, such as the interpenetration of the finance and security sectors. This article contributes to the debate by turning to an apparent epiphenomenon, namely The LEGO Movie, and using it to address some overlooked intersections between popular culture and the finance-security complex. The analysis first focuses on how finance and security are represented in the film, through the plot and the fictional company at the centre of the film’s conflict, to its LEGO minifigure characters and the playsets featured therein. The focus then shifts to how the LEGO Group’s business model informs the film in significant ways, from the plot’s motivation and structure, and the mise-en-scène, to how the film was produced. My argument throughout is that a seemingly innocent or insignificant film in fact participates in the financialization and securitization of daily life through its very style and status as a cultural product. Key here is how The LEGO Movie does this in ways that confound possible critique through the use of irony and cute aesthetics, as well as through its own supposed triviality.

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