Alright guys, I’m going to try really hard to not ruin The Lego Movie for you, but I can’t promise anything so consider this a *Spoiler Warning*.
This past week, the Mysterious Mr. C and I decided to take a break from our normal Sunday routine and catch a matinee showing of the Lego Movie. We were in a silly mood and thought it looked like a fun way to spend a couple of hours. And boy, was it a good time! Granted, the film won’t win any Oscars, but for me, it was also surprisingly profound.
The way the movie starts out, the film seems like a basic tale of mistaken identity and good versus evil. Essentially, Emmet, an ordinary LEGO minifig, thought to be a MasterBuilder, is recruited by a bunch of rebels to try to stop Lord Business, a maniacal LEGO tyrant, from gluing the universe together. But a surprise twist near the end of the film turns it into a broader social commentary that is more childlike wonder and imagination versus the rigidity of adulthood.
I know, I know, it may seem like a stretch – they’re just LEGOs – but bear with me here.
As someone who has always been a bit particular – with a place for everything and everything in its place – I saw a lot of myself in Lord Business. We’re both control freaks, and while I’m not trying to take over the world, I understand his panic when things get a bit messy. But as the movie went on, I increasingly found myself wondering, “Why can’t Batman hang out with a 1980s spaceman? Or a metallic robot-like pirate?” (Trust me, it will make sense when you see it). Chaos can spawn great creativity, and for me, the film was a good reminder to be a little more open to the disorder in my own life, because you never know what inspiration it will provide.
Ironically, the movie primarily makes this point using minifigs and pre-packaged LEGO sets. When I was little, I remember having a giant red container of loose LEGO pieces and being limited only by my imagination. Sure, there were additional packs that I could get that were specific colors or sizes, but the cars, space stations, and villages were more novelty pieces. Now, it seems like the focus is more on the sets, with people having to visit LEGO stores or mix their different kits together to create their own buckets.
While the audience was mixed, the adults in the theater seemed to be the ones enjoying it most. I’m not sure if they were having similar revelations as me, or just waxing nostalgic, because there is plenty of that in the film too (the cinematography is also extremely clever). As LEGO favorites such as the flowers and ghosts made appearances on the screen, you could hear the chuckles and whispered reminisces as people remembered playing with those pieces themselves. And that’s one of the best things about the movie, it’s a cultural touchstone that takes us all back to a happier, simpler, more imaginative time.