August 9, 2014/ Jim Parker
Warner Brothers deserves a big hit with their first feature-length LEGO movie (PG, 1h 40m). Whether or not you have LEGO-aged children or grandchildren, this movie has plenty of humor and political satire to satisfy adults. The protagonist is Emmet, voiced by Chris Pratt.
Emmet trying to explain his invention to his new friends, who are not impressed.
Emmet is a young lonely construction worker trying to find happiness by conforming to the rules, which he recounts in a hilarious opening scene as he prepares for work: “listen to popular music”, “always root for the local sports team”, “obey all traffic signs and regulations”, and “drink overpriced coffee.” He lives in a utopian LEGO world led by the popular but tyrannical President Business, voiced by Will Ferrell. Once Emmet gets to the construction site, thousands of workers just like him work to the rhythm of a song called “Everything is Awesome!” Their job is to build things exactly according to instructions and to “take everything weird and destroy it.”
We soon understand that everything is NOT awesome in LEGO-land. Through a chance encounter, Emmet joins a rebel group trying to foil a plot to destroy the LEGO universe. It turns out that President Business is actually the evil Lord Business, and he’s tired of people constantly changing and innovating in his LEGO universe.
One of the rebel characters, Wildstyle, voiced by Elizabeth Banks, explains to Emmet,”before President Business, all the people of the universe were free to travel and mingle and build whatever they wanted. But President Business was confused by all the chaos, so he erected walls between the worlds and he became obsessed with order and perfection. He stole a mysterious super-secret weapon called the Kragle and he hired Bad-Cop to hunt down and arrest all the Master Builders who were always changing everything. Those of us who remained went into hiding, and built tunnels to survive. And we searched for the Piece of Resistance, the only thing that can stop the Kragle.”
President Business plots to create an orderly world without change.
What is Kragle? Kragle is another name for Krazy Glue, which Lord Business plans to disperse through thousands of robots called “micro-managers”. I won’t spoil the discovery of what the “Piece of Resistance” is. The movie is available for rent or streaming through sources like Amazon.com.
Why is The LEGO Movie being reviewed on the Cruzbike website? The entire history of recumbent bicycles in general, and Cruzbike in particular have strong parallels to the LEGO Movie plot. The UCI (Union Cyclist Internationale), from 1934 to the present day, and all other cycling sanctioning bodies that have adopted the UCI’s exclusionary bicycle standards, represent Lord Business and his fear of chaos/change, and disruptive innovation. The UCI banished the superior geometry of the recumbent and Kragled the standard bicycle in 1934, defining the standard DF geometry that we have today.
The Master Builders of the LEGO universe represent the recumbent builders, past and present. The movie also stands to illustrate that even among Master Builders, there is resistance to change. Emmet’s ideas are at first mocked and rejected by the rebel Master Builders. A similar thing happened when Cruzbike arrived on the recumbent scene and was first met with mockery and derision from so-called recumbent bicycle experts. It’s taken years to build enough racing and customer experience to refute all but the most obstinate critics. Now we at Cruzbike need to be mindful that we don’t become like Lord Business, ourselves. When customers take our carefully designed bicycles, and add something frankly weird-looking (at least to us), we need to remember where we came from. Our roots are in innovation. That is the DNA of the Cruzbike universe.
Wildstyle and Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) teach Emmet the secret of being a Master Builder.
For those of us deeply involved in road-racing, we also see similarities to the Emmet early in the movie, before he understands that conformity will not bring him true happiness. We personally know and ride with cyclists that are clearly uncomfortable on their DF bike with saddle sores, numb-hands, sore neck, etc., but would prefer to ride a bike that conforms to societal norms even if it means physical pain and slower speed. Running with the crowd, listening to the popular music, riding the popular bike, and drinking the overpriced coffee is not the key to happiness; at least not for Master Builders and Cruzbike riders.
This is a movie the whole family can enjoy… and learn from. What is the Piece of Resistance that can overcome the Kragle in the cycling world? We believe it is a recumbent bicycle that combines the best of both types of bikes… a recumbent that climbs fast, with a short chain and compact drivetrain like a DF, but with all the comfort and speed on the flats as other recumbents. Will it work for you? Believe… and it will. To quote Vitruvius, “I know that sounds like a cat poster, but it’s true.”