Favorite Fictional Characters, #154: Lord Business
I've argued before that I believe we're in the midst of a golden age of children's movies. Walking into The Lego Movie, I didn't think I was in for one of them. Boy, was I wrong. What a fun ride, self-referential without being self-reverential, nostalgic and yet kinetic. There's actual character development, and the real-world implications at the end aren't lost on any parent.
There are a number of excellent voice performances in this movie, but it benefits from what is perhaps the best use of Will Ferrell I've seen. His President/Lord Business is a feral, ambitious creature, fiercely pursuing his fanatical desire to bring order to chaos. Ferrell brings depth to what could have been a one-dimensional villain, granting his trademark bemused frustration to the exasperated would-be tyrant. There's something we can all relate to in that attitude, that stunned disbelief that everyone doesn't want what we want, and that our plans are met with opposition. This, of course, provides the grist for Ferrell's turn as the hobbyist father at the end, seeking escape from the stresses of his life in his neatly-ordered basement empire. Of course, his plans there are opposed as well, his order threatened by the chaos of his own making, the chaos only children can bring when Legos are involved. There are sweeping conclusions we can take from that, about the creativity of chaos and the entropy of order, but basically it's about the joy of watching our children be happy even when it ruins our plans. Or something like that.
I still like Lord Business, though. I like his swagger, I like his vision, I like his gall. He's a wonderful antagonist in a wonderful little movie.