I recently watched “The Lego Batman Movie” and a theme for Batman’s character was based on a Michael Jackson song “Man in the Mirror,” which was cute and nostalgic for the parents of their kids watching the movie. I wanted to see the movie because “The Lego Movie” was so “awesome” and needed to escape reality for a couple hours.
One of the trailers before the Lego Batman movie was for “Despicable Me 3,” which seemed to be drab, until the villain was revealed to be a living piece of ’80’s nostalgia and was introduced to MJ’s iconic hit, “Bad” (the album also includes “Man in the Mirror”). Is this coincidence? Is this a conspiracy? Who knows, but let’s just imagine what might have happened…
The writers for each movie, perhaps they are close buddies and huge Michael Jackson fans. Perhaps they grew up listening to his songs and wanting to be as bad as the King of Pop, but were too nerdy, had no dance skills, or lived in a podunk town where Michael Jackson’s music was too “urban.”
Years pass, they are now succcessful Hollywood screenwriters and they meet up to talk about random stuff. They are brunching in a hot restaurant, where it’s more about being seen than about the quality of the food. Lots of talking, not much eating (what a waste of food).
They talk about their respective scripts in progress, both animation movies with male protagonists who have dark, not-totally-good-guy pasts/personalities. They need to liven up the moodiness so it can be appealing to children and appease the parents of the children with positive stories about superheroes.
They talk about music, they talk about MJ, they talk about the album of the decade. They talk about the songs, the lyrics. Hey, why not make my uber-moody-introspective character live out the lyrics to “Man in the Mirror?” Why hasn’t anyone done that yet? I’ll do that!
“Wow, what if I could incorporate the song “Bad,” into one of my characters? Since you’re doing the protagonist in Batman, I can do the antagonist with Balthazar Bratt!” and we totally won’t be copying each other!”
“Yeah, what a great idea! We can both use Michael Jackson songs in our movies and totally introduce him to a new generation of kids who have never heard his awesome music. Perhaps they’ll ignore the part of his life that was embroiled in child abuse allegations and just focus on the music.”
Yeah, it’s been so long (at least in today’s sense of history having a very short shelf life) that I think many people have forgotten about the scandal and remember the music. I love both those songs (and many others), yet the taint of these great memories made it somewhat bittersweet to see them incorporated into two major feature films, especially animated films aimed at children. Did any studio executive not think about this?
Well, the fact that nobody has really made a fuss about the “Lego Batman” movie means that the rest of the world didn’t think about it or didn’t care.
I’ll be watching this sequel when it comes out, mostly for the ’80’s music, which also includes Phil Collins…