I never thought I would say this, but I LOVE the LEGO Movie. The movie had a clever script that poked fun at the pop culture and hinted at the social tensions between collectivism and individualism, rebellion and conformity, creativity and monotony, making the film both cerebral and entertaining.
Emmet is your average engineer in badge and uniform, one of thousands constructing the city for Lord Business, the movie’s villain. Emmet personifies collectivism, conformity and repetition. Despite of his unremarkable existence, Emmet, among others living in conformity, was brainwashed to believe everything is “awesome”, even paying $37 for a cup of coffee (can you relate?).
One day after work, by chance, Emmet ran into Wyldstyle, a girl with a stylish haircut wearing a hip-hop hoodie, mousing around the construction site. Before Emmet can approach to her, she quickly disappeared. It was then that Emmet discovered the “Piece of Resistance”, a piece of red LEGO block that doesn’t quite “fit the mould”.
The accidental discovery of the “Piece of Resistance” eventually led to Emmet’s arrest. Through the comical “good-cop/bad-cop” interrogation the audience is made aware that, behind the utopian façade, the city that Emmet lives in is a Police State controlled by the ruthless Lord Business. When Emmet is about to be fatally tortured, Wyldstyle came to the rescue, then a spectacular chase ensued. Wyldstyle is a rebellious, non-conformist gal, who probably has tattoos all over her body (if the movie was rated ‘R’). Through catchy dialogues during the chase the audience learned that Wyldstyle believes Emmet is the prophesied hero that will take down Lord Business, take back the Kragle (a tube of Crazy Glue), and restore the creative order.
After they successfully escaped, Wyldstyle took Emmet to see Vitruvius, a Moses-like prophet who “affirmed” Emmet as the prophesied hero, and then together they went to see other Master Builders in an auditorium that resembled the Jedi Council. This when Batman appeared as the macho boyfriend of Wyldstyle. Soon after and other super heroes and pop icons appeared.
Soon the police caught up with the Emmet and the Master Builders, and a battle began with Lord Business clearly having the upper hand. The struggles eventually led to a showdown between the Lord Business and Emmet, when the movie took a surprising turn. The confrontation resulted in Emmet’s near-death experience, where he was teleported to “heaven”, which is really a basement. It was here the movie goes from animation to real actors. Emmet, lying on the floor unable to move, saw a boy (a human actor) playing with pieces of LEGO, and thought that the boy must be the “all-creative” supreme being Vitruvius talked about. Then the boy’s father (Will Ferrell) step into the basement and saw his son de-constructing the magnificent, realistic-looking LEGO city that he was building. The father became visibly upset, but held back his fury and began putting the pieces back together one by one…, but this time with the Crazy Glue.
At this point, the audience suddenly realizes that Emmet’s adventure is an allegory of the creative tension between the father and the son. The father built up this magnificent city but is now afraid to make changes. The son wants changes so he can create new things from his own imagination. The tug-a-war had a happy ending. The dad later saw beauty in the boy’s creations and decided to take down the city and allow the son to make new things. This self-less act in “heaven” lead to victory in the LEGO land, where creativity retakes the land.
As the movie credit rolls, my eyes were moist. I was moved by the story and amazed by how a G-rated movie can evoke such a profound spiritual response.
In the end, Emmet, an average guy, overcame conformity and became a hero that he never thought he could be. That just puts a big smile on my face; because in so many ways, I am Emmet.
(The above article is solely the expressed opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the position of his current and past employers)