One of the rich elements of "The Lego Movie" is its sense of place. For a fictional land, it has plenty of echoes of the real world.
With a populace kept numb by plastic pop music, contrived reality TV and fast-food giveaways -- and a general sense that business interests trump nearly everything else -- the world dear Emmet and his friends occupy in the Phil Lord-Chris Miller picture has more than a little in common with modern-day America.
And given that it's run by a quasi-dictator and puts an emphasis on conformity, there are also overtones of a totalitarian states.
According to its star, both analogues are true.
"I was struck by the place Chris and Phil created," Chris Pratt, who voices Emmet, told The Times. "It's somewhere that seems happy but it's totalitarian. I think of it as something between America and North Korea."
Pratt said he didn't extensively consider the political angles when he was voicing the character but understood how some have come to read that meaning into it.
(A Fox Business pundit had questioned whether it was sending "anti-business" messages to children, something that might seem like a peculiar concern in consumerist America, especially given the involvement of numerous licensed characters and one of the world's largest entertainment conglomerates, but no matter.)
Pratt was, however, struck by what the film had to say about Hollywood -- particularly given its filmmakers, the men behind "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" and "21 Jump Street," and their desire to find originality within the system. (They also fought several battles to include more sophisticated material here.)
In one scene, "The Lego Movie" explores the tension between workers capable of more unconventional approaches and taskmasters bent on extracting cookie-cutter material.
"To me, that's Chris and Phil telling us their own dilemma -- Hollywood wanting them to do a certain thing and them not wanting to do it," said Pratt, growing enthusiastic. "It's amazing if you think about it — they're saying all that within the Hollywood system."