So this past weekend I set out to take two of my children to a movie, something which I have not yet done due primarily to their age and disposition to not sit still for more than five minutes. I had seen trailers for the Lego movie and it seemed pretty harmless and I had also kept a watchful eye on the tomatometer to see what the critics were saying. Everything seemed to point to a movie that would be good fun for me and the two little people.
And it was fun, it was more than fun, it was moving.
I have been racking my brain as to why this movie connected with me on such a deep level. I have been haunted in a way by it’s story, rethinking every aspect to what the movie meant to communicate and what it actually communicated. I have found that there is a theological significance to this film that is deep at the heart of what it means to be a father, and what it means to be a son or child.
I am going to spoil this movie like year old milk so if you haven’t seen it yet… to quote Hunter S. Thompson “Buy the ticket, take the ride.”
First the way the movie was made is just interesting to look at. The visuals are great and the melding of stop motion with computer animation gives the film a real strobe light feel at times but that seems to really add to it’s over all ascetic in a positive way. The reason this connected with me is because I remember playing with Lego’s. And I don’t just mean recreation-ally, I mean religiously. As in, I played with them all the time. Being a big star trek fan I built the bridge of the enterprise and would even draw little pictures that I would change out on the view screen like a slide projector. Then I had built a small ship that would serve as the space battle scenes. I remember spending hours doing this and creating adventures for my little characters.
This is pretty much the essence of this film. Play. Or really the importance of it. Also creativity seems to be central. The fact that we have been giving a faculty to create points to our creator and it does in the Lego movie as well. And before I get to much further I need to say that there is a way in which we should view all things and three categories that I have found helpful to lump them into. We all need to view the world, and everything in it through the lens of the Holy Spirit. And this leads us to either Reject/Redeem/Receive whatever culture throws at us. Reject means, no good, not from God (think Miley Cyrus tongue flapping sexual confusion). Redeem means good that needs some digging and it may be from God (even if it was unintentional by it’s co-creators). And finally Receive. Both good, and from God and obviously so. (think a Sermon from Pastor Corky or an album from Quiet Science.) The Lego movie falls somewhere between Redeem and Receive and we will say Redeem just to be safe.
There are so many aspects of this film that point to a creator. And despite what Fox News will try to tell you, this is not an anti business movie. There are many messages to this movie, but the first is that son’s need to have fathers worth emulating.
My favorite and what is probably the most moving scene is when you realize that Emmett is the boy and Lord Business is the Father. A towering father that takes play too seriously. The Father in this story is not God, but he is god like to his son. The impact of this moment can not be under stated. Recently I heard of a man who had just committed suicide. He left behind a wife and baby boy of who is just one year old. For the rest of that boy’s life he will be thinking that “I wasn’t good enough for Dad to live for.”
There is also an element of control that the movie addresses that I think is very important. The father in the story has a basement full of lego sets that he has no doubt spent a fortune on and a lot of time. He keeps it more like a museum than for play. His son however has an active imagination that has Batman fighting along side with some kind of pirate/steampunk/robot/with sharks and cannons for arms guys. This represents choice and free will. In fact throughout the movie everyone in “legoland” follows the instructions to the letter including Emmett. The resistance are made up of “master builders” but they are random. Emmett on the other hand follows the rules and that turns out to be to his advantage.
God gave us the law, it can be oppressive or we can find maximum freedom under His authority.
I am not under any impression that the makers of this movie had a covenant heart or mind set while making it. But stories that deal with Father/Son relationships in this manner point to our Heavenly Father and it is impossible to not see the connection if you are paying attention. Even if the little ones next to you are finding new ways to spill their popcorn all over you.