Everything is not quite awesome: The Lego Movie

emmetYesterday, I took the kids to the Lego movie.  My Facebook feed has been filled with praise of the movie from all sorts of friends.  It is of course cool to see a childhood fantasy land of little bricks come to life on the big screen. And no doubt, it is a feel good movie with a nice mix of humor, action, and even a love story for those looking for such a thing in their kid’s movie.

But after I watched the whole movie, I was a little surprised at the love this movie had received from so many of my Christian friends. 

I had heard from many that besides the full on nostalgia this movie delivered that it also took aim at the overregulation that progressive politicians usually favor.  I was told that it was a plea for freedom, a please against regulation, a plea to let master builders build.  And no doubt, having heard all of that, I certainly saw some of that especially early on in the film.

However, by the end of the movie, I couldn’t help but think the point was something else.  The move begins and end with talk of the big guy upstairs.  And by the end of the movie, the big guy from upstairs (who happens to look like Ron Burgundy) has an epiphany of sorts.  He decides that he has been wrong to want everything in his world just the way he ordered it originally.  He concludes that he should just be happy with whatever humanity does with his creation.  He removes the glue that makes everything so uniform.   Now everybody can just do whatever they want.  Even girls, so long kept away from expressing their own creativity, can go to work creating the world the way they like.

Add to that the fact that Emmet, the movie’s main hero, learns at the climax of the story arch that believing you are special because of some prophetic word  spoken by some sage yields nothing.  After all, such words are just myths made up by well meaning old people.  Instead, you are special if you just believe you are special.  Believe in yourself and all is well.

Sorry friends that ate up this movie but I saw the same themes I see in about every kid’s movie I go to lately.  Here they are:

  • Authority is bad.  It makes everything boringly the same and holds people down.
  • Anything word that comes to you from outside of you is just a myth.  Even if the myth tellers are well-meaning, it is better to be free of the myth.
  • You are special regardless of what choices you make.  Just believe in yourself and all will be well.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently.  Do whatever you want.

Sorry friends, everything is not quite awesome.

Tags: , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Monday, February 17th, 2014 at 10:21 am and is filed under Movie Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Everything is not quite awesome: The Lego Movie”

  1. Kevin Ott Says:

    You make some excellent points here that I hadn’t considered or noticed while watching the film. I think the heart of the film though is portraying a father who has his priorities off because he has let his personal hobby become more important to him than his relationship with his son. This definitely bothers the son, and the entire Lego plot leading up to the live action portion seems to be the son trying to process his emotions/thoughts of feeling overlooked/ignored by his dad. I think many of the elements in the Lego story are guided by a close parody of certain action movies (Matrix, Batman, etc) which informs the feel of the story and might contribute to some of the points you mentioned. However, the anti-authority theme is definitely visible to me now that you’ve pointed it out. Even with the storyline of the son feeling ignored by his dad, the dad clearly has a passion for his vast Lego building project and has posted signs everywhere saying to “not touch.” Yet the son doesn’t respect his dad’s wishes clearly posted, and he dismantles the dad’s hard work. I would say to the filmmakers, “Yeah the dad should get his priorities straight and invest more quality time with his son and have deeper communication, but shouldn’t the son also respect his dad’s clearly expressed wishes? Shouldn’t it be a two-way street of respect?” But you’re right, the film depicts the son as doing no wrong, which is another common theme in Hollywood: youth is pure and perfect and can do no wrong. It’s almost always the adults (the authority figures) who are at fault. So yeah you make a very interesting point, and these things wouldn’t have occurred to me if I hadn’t read your review, so thank you!

  2. Matt Thompson Says:

    Excellent post. I hadn’t thought of the father in the movie as a God figure. The God of the Bible doesn’t require total control over His creation and has called us to live creatively in the world according to our callings. He would never glue us into a frozen state of being, but called us to live and be fruitful. Also, his name in the movie is President Business, a pretty clear reference to crony capitalism and the all powerful federal government. I would say the movie is more of a political than a religious statement. But your thoughts here are unique. Thought provoking movie.

  3. Sara Says:

    I, too, have been shocked that more Christians aren’t raising flags about this movie. The whole new age bit at the beginning had me wondering if we should stay. Emmett fulfills a prophecy and the old man confirms that Emmett has seen a vision, tells him about clearing his mind so he can visualize the man upstairs and reach his full potential. Whoa! And the idea that there are many worlds existing in the same realm but something is keeping us from reaching them. Wow. I enjoyed the humor and cleverness of the film but am shocked that no Christians have given a new age warning about this movie!

  4. William Peck Says:

    Sorry, Phil, I think you’re taking this wrong. This was a fine movie with a family friendly message. This movie unwittingly falls into the category of “pre-evangelism”. If you looked at this movie as a “springboard” for talking about spiritual matters, then it’s perfect ! I’m actually surprised that Will Farrell allowed himself to be part of “something bigger” – something that in my not so humble opinion is actually fits into the Christian / American / even Jewish landscape.

    it talks about the “man upstairs” – so there you go, that’s certainly an open door. And it turns out that the man upstairs was literally that, but it was Dad – a flawed man (open door # 2).

    I disagree with Kevin about the son – he does NOT play the “know it all youth who shames the doofus parents”. Rather, he was scared of his dad, for the very reason that he know what he did was wrong (open door # 3).

    Plus the whole thing was about creation, and the mis-use of the original intention !!! (ahem, this is not open door # 3, this is an opening big enough for a Mack truck !!!).

    And the entire thing was in the context of a FAMILY – mom, dad, brother, sister !!!!

    Geez, I really think you all should lighten up.

Leave a Reply