As long as we’re talking about enjoying kids movies…The Lego Movie. This was a movie I really had no interest in seeing. I love kids movies—Disney movies, good Dreamworks movies, The Sandlot. But those movies are entertaining for adults. They have good stories, great punch lines, and catchy songs. Based on previews and other advertising, The Lego Movie seemed to be one of those films that really is only for kids, like Disney’s Planes or the Tinker Bell movies. Not funny if you don’t have the sense of humor of a five year old, nothing creative or original, just a generic film to keep your kid occupied for an hour and a half. But over the Fourth of July weekend, my brothers kept insisting that it was actually was entertaining for adults too, so we watched it. And it wasn’t the first time I had to eat my words. It was actually pretty good.
If you’re a completely serious, no-fun intellectual snob, then you aren’t going to like this movie. But if you appreciate a corny joke, a variety of characters, and a deep metaphorical theme form out of nowhere, then you will enjoy The Lego Movie.
The movie is about Emmet, a regular construction worker Lego. There’s nothing special about Emmet. He tries very hard to fit in, following all of the instructions and leading a normal life. Then his life gets turned upside down when a red object—the piece of resistance—gets stuck to his back. Now he’s supposed to be ‘the special’, the Lego who is supposed to save the world. Caught up with an edgy Lego chick named Wyldstyle, wise old Vitruvius, a unicorn/cat, Batman, and a 1980’s astronaut Lego, he must try to prevent President Business form destroying the world with the Kraggle.
The movie is well balanced with jokes aimed at nine year olds and jokes aimed at adults. It also has a song that will not leave your head for days, “Everything is Awesome.” But underneath the childishness of the film lies a deeper, and very important, message.
Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) speaks a prophecy about ‘the special’ at the beginning of the film, but at the end you find out that he made it up. Destiny has not chosen Emmet as the special, but rather, he must decide for himself that he is special and he can save the world. Like many kids movies, The Lego Movie is about finding what makes you special, being true to yourself, and succeeding with the help of your friends.
But the surprise ending is that the Legos aren’t actually alive doing their thing. Well, they are, but only through the imagination of a child. A boy is playing with the Legos, and that is what is creating the movie. And while the Legos are fighting against President business to prevent him from using the Kraggle to destroy the world, the fight is much more realistic for the boy. President Business is his dad, and the Kraggle is the super glue his dad uses to glue all of the Legos in place so that they are a display and no longer a toy. The climax of the movie comes when Emmet confronts President Business and the boy confronts his father, and both conflicts resolve with the idea that everyone can be special, because being special is being yourself.
Much like Rise of the Guardians, The Lego Movie is about discovering who you are. Jack Frost needed to find his center, and Emmet needed to find out what made him special. But on top of that, both films are about the importance of childhood. Legos are toys. They’re meant to be played with, not set up as a display with “do not touch” signs posted everywhere. Playing is important, and it isn’t just for kids. The boy needs to play and create and grow, but so does his dad. The imagination of a child is an incredible thing. It can create the elaborate and creative story of The Lego Movie. As we grow older, we can’t let this imagination die. We have to keep playing and creating and seeing the world through the eyes of a child.