Media Studies Colloquium presents talk on Lego movie franchise

Saachi Subramaniam

A New York University cinema studies professor and author gave a discussion on the Lego movies, the world of big business, and progressiveness surrounding the franchise Thursday afternoon on campus.

Radio-television-film students and faculty listened to Dana Polan’s talk about the development, creation and transformation of franchise movies and the effect technology has had on film. 

Polan also discussed cartoon box office hits, the evolution of the Toy Story movies and why remakes of movies often do not do well. Polan spoke about gender stereotypes by comparing “The Lego Movie” to “The Matrix” because women characters were sidekicks rather than the heroes.
“They will include just enough feminism or just enough diversity to claim progressivism even as they ultimately defer to masculine ideologies around the prowess of action heroism,” Polan said. 

According to the website for the University’s radio-television-film program, the talk was the last installment of the department’s Media Studies Colloquium, a platform that connects students of all levels to a wide array of speakers. The guest talks provide insight into the potential future work of a radio-television-film student, as well as exposure into the world of film studies, according to the website.

Polan said filmmakers depict characters in the Lego movies as having a “kinetic energy” — they have a constantly adapting reaction to the world around them. He compared the franchise to “21 Jump Street” because the characters in the movie are also figuring out the new world they have been placed in.
Mathematics freshman Jordan Conklin said she was happy that the University brought Polan in for the Media Studies Colloquium series because she enjoys films such as “The Lego Movie.” 

“My professor told us about this event after watching a bunch of pretentious artsy film movies in class, and then she started talking about ‘The Lego Movie,’” Conklin said. “I really wanted to know what (my professor) had to say about it, so I saw it and it was fun to watch, so now I’m here.”

Mary Beltrán, associate chair of media studies, ended the talk with an opportunity for students to ask Polan questions about his expertise in film. 

“I thank Dana Polan for (this discussion) on such a provocative topic and giving us a lot to think about with the work of (‘The Lego Movie’),” Beltrán said.