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Engage exists to provide perspective on culture through the eyes of a Biblical worldview, showing how that worldview intersects with culture and engages it.

We are a team of 20-somethings brought together by a common faith in Jesus Christ and employment in our parent organization American Family Association.

Review: The Lego Movie

06/30/2015
Canada Burns
Graphic Designer

The Lego Movie begins long ago, in a world were everything is made of Lego bricks.

One fateful day, the evil Lord Business stole the “Kragle”, the most powerful weapon in the universe. On that very same day, the guru Vitruvious pronounced a prophecy that one day a “special one” would discover an object called the “Piece of Resistance” and defeat Lord Business and save the world.

Eight and a half years later, Emmet, a generic construction worker, stumbles upon this “Piece of Resistance” and is promptly captured by Lord Business who assumes that Emmet is the “special one” the prophecy refers to. 

But before Lord Business (who now goes by “President Business”) can get his hands on the “Piece of Resistance”, Emmet is rescued by a pupil of Vitruvious’, a strong willed young woman who calls herself “Wyldstyle”. She tells Emmet that he is the one destined to stop Lord Business’s plans for world domination and that the prophecy states he is “the most important, most talented, most interesting and most extraordinary person in the universe.”

Only one problem: Emmet is not important, talented, interesting, or extraordinary. He’s not even a “Master Builder” like Wyldstyle and Vitruvious, people who can create just about anything out of anything. 

Could the prophecy have been wrong? Do they have the wrong guy? And what does Batman have to do with any of this?

APPLICATION

Let me be honest with you: I love Legos! I have been building with Legos for as long as I can remember, so I am very familiar with the Lego building experience.

When building with Legos, I’ve observed that there are two kinds of people (or kids in most cases). The first group is the creatives. They go absolutely nuts, sticking satellite dishes on racecars and building their rocket ships with lime green and other outlandish colors. Creativity practically drips from their hands as they scan the plethora of Legos before them, their brains buzzing with the potential at their fingertips. 

The second group is the structured and organized builders. They are the ones who ask, “Where are the instructions?” They gather up all the yellow and black bricks, because they are building a school bus and they meticulously assemble their creation based on how a school bus should look. Everything must be perfect, well designed, with no frills or crazy, out-of-the-box stuff. 

The essential theme of the Lego movie is that both these lines of thought are ok, but they are perfected when used together. 

Lord Business wants a perfect world. No frills. No weird stuff. Everyone should follow the instructions. But this thinking by itself leaves a sturdy, yet dry world that eventually pushes Lord Business into taking absolute totalitarian control in order to achieve his goals. 

Master builders, on the other hand, want to do their own thing. They use crazy colors and out of the box designs to create some pretty amazing stuff. But teamwork can be lacking when everyone has their own ideas. This is evident when they build a submarine together (each Master Builder doing their own thing) and then it promptly falls apart.

Emmet comes along and, at first, does not appear to be very special. But he soon realizes he is specially equipped to bridge these two viewpoints. He may not have a lot of ideas, but he knows how to follow the instructions and if they combined the Master Builder's creativity with teamwork and organization, they could build even greater things and defeat Lord Business. This theme of teamwork is woven throughout the film and even sneaks it’s way into the film’s iconic song (“Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team! ...everything is better when we stick together…”).

Another strong theme in The Lego Movie is that everyone is special. “The only thing anyone needs to be special is to believe that you can be,” says Vitruvious to Emmet. On first watching the Lego Movie I thought that this statement was what Lord Business would call “a bunch of hippy dippy bologna”, but upon my most recent re-watching, it occurred to me how true this statement is. I’ll elaborate on this in the conclusion.

The theme of choosing to “believe” despite what you may initially think is strong throughout. Emmet must choose to believe he can make a difference, not for himself, but because others depend on it. He is willing to sacrifice himself in order to help others, a theme that Christ Himself is the benchmark for.

CONTENT

If this film were live action it would be extremely violent. But in a world where everything is made of Lego, the craziest explosion and most terrible carnage is no different than what we did when we were kids and smashed our own creations for the sake of our made-up stories.

It turns out that the Kragle is actually a tube of Krazy Glue. Lord Business’s plans are to "Kragle" the world into submission, essentially freezing everyone and everything in place. 

Bad Cop/Good Cop, Lord Business’s main henchman, has a split personality represented by his two faces that change when he spins his head. In an effort to make Bad Cop fully submit to his evil will, Lord Business erases Good Cop’s face with a Q-Tip and nail polish. Another character has his head knocked off and “dies”. He later shows up as a ghostly Lego person suspended by a string.

Vitruvious puts Emmet in a “trance” and he, Emmet, and Wyldstyle enter Emmet's mind. There is talk of the “man upstairs”. This is later revealed to be not quite what you would expect and makes for a twist that may make you wish you were 10 years old again.

Being a “kid” movie their are a few uses of “dang” “darn” “gosh” and so on, as well as a few butt jokes thrown in. As a running gag, a character repeatedly appears in his underwear.

CONCLUSION

Remember those two groups of kids I mentioned? I was always in the first category and I had a lot of friends who were of the later. A lot of times, as I struggled to be more structured in my designs, they struggled to be more out of the box. When presented with a challenge to our building styles, we were both apt to say, “I can’t. I don’t know how.” The thing that makes Legos great is that the only limit is your imagination and the bricks in front of you. To say “I can’t” is really saying “I don’t think I can”, but if you bite the bullet and believe that you can make something, you will be more likely to try it and expand your creative horizons. In other words: never say you can’t until you have tried. 

How does this principle apply to the Christian walk? Well of course just believing you can do something doesn’t mean you can do it. If I believe I can fly, I will be very disappointed when I jump off my house. But in the context of believing that amazing things can happen when you have faith, more specifically faith in God, this concept holds more water.

When we feel God is calling us to something and we often say “I don’t think I can.” If we are more honest with ourselves, would we acknowledge that we are actually saying, “I don’t think God can?” Even Jesus said that the first step was to believe and that He will do the rest (Acts 16:31). Despite what we think we can’t do, if we depend on God, He can do great things through us. 

The Lego movie is an extremely fun roller coaster of an adventure story that will leave kids and grownups laughing and the Lego nerds pinching themselves, unable to comprehend the level of awesome that has reached critical mass in their brains. I’m not even ashamed to say that I saw this twice in the theater and then immediately went to Toys-r-us where I bought more Legos. And yes I am an adult.

 

 

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