On this episode of Finding Christ in Cinema, something is rotten in Bricksburg as we look for Christian themes in The LEGO Movie. What makes the Special so “special”? Is The Man Upstairs causing Emmet to stumble? All that and more in 3…2…1!
The LEGO Movie is Like a Little Child
Until Emmet’s sacrificial jump into the portal, THE LEGO MOVIE has taken place within the LEGO World. Everything is composed of LEGOs, everything moves and grooves with LEGOs, and “everything is awesome.” Emmet is charged with being the Special, and he alongside all the other renegade Master Builders of the LEGO World are on a mission to stop President Business from using the Kragle to freeze everybody.
Once Emmet falls through the portal, however, things drastically change. While he believes he is having another vision, Emmet is actually alive and well within the real world – our real world. He then sees a little child playing, and calls it “adorable.” The child then picks up Emmet, not knowing that the latter is fully aware of what’s happening, and proceeds to play. The fun stops when the Man Upstairs comes down and scolds the child for having such at his expense. The Man Upstairs is actually the child’s father, who is using the LEGO sets for his own enjoyment.
After pleading with his father, the boy – named Finn – sullenly starts putting everything back and helping his father restore order to that which was already established. But as the father starts to actually notice everything Finn has done, he can’t help but ask what was going on, and he comes to a startling revelation.
In Finn’s story, his father is the bad guy, and this unsettling truth shakes the father to the core, so much so that he has to ask Finn an earth-moving question: “If the construction guy said something to President Business, what would he say?” Finn via Emmet responds thusly: You don’t have to be the bad guy. You are the most talented, most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe. You are capable of amazing things because you are the Special. And so am I, and so is everyone. The prophecy is made up, but it’s also true. It’s about all of us, and right now, it’s about you, and you still can change everything.”
The father is then cut to the heart, and he knows it. From here, he understands that he has been pushing his son away from something that is extremely good, beautifully true, and absolutely awesome: his own love. After scolding his son for having fun, he is taken aback by his own words and realizes how selfish he has been. As the scene resolves, he then decides to share his LEGOs with his son and love him all the more.
This reminds me of a scene in which Jesus rebuked the disciples for holding back the children:
Now people were bringing little children to him for him to touch, but the disciples scolded those who brought them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” After he took the children in his arms, he placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16 NET)
The children were running to Jesus – as all children are wont to run to anyone as gentle, kind, and loving as Jesus – but the disciples did not think this would be a good idea. They may have thought the children would have been a distraction or a disruption for Jesus and were most likely acting only out of a misguided concern for their master. But Jesus saw their misguidance and therefore called them out on their actions. After he made his point, Jesus then embraced the children – just as he would have in the first place. The Man Upstairs was just as stern as the disciples as described in this passage, and Jesus would have rebuked him just as quickly.
We then have to ask what it is about children that make them so unique to receiving the kingdom of God? Maybe it’s that they aren’t callous and hardened like adults suffering from tunnel vision. Maybe it’s becuase grown-ups think they don’t need God’s help to get back home to Him. Maybe it’s that children are more open to and trusting in what God is offering through Jesus. Maybe it’s because children know they need God and aren’t afraid to accept His hand.
The LEGO Movie and the “Special” Being Chosen
In The LEGO Movie, life in Bricksburg exists in complacent conformity. Everyone is programmed (essentially brainwashed) into thinking, acting, and believing just like everyone else around them. President Business has graciously provided Bricksburg citizens with “instructions” for all of them to follow. These instructions are the lines drawn by President Business to keep everyone in line, and if anyone acts out of line, they are to be reported to the authorities.
But this is a broken system, and through its brokenness shines the need for something different…something “special.” The Special, as we soon find out, is prophesied to save the world and rescue it from the evil clutches of President Business. The mark of the Special? Finding the Piece of Resistance, having all kinds of power and skill, and performing his duties granted with these abilities and attributes. The only problem is that no one knows who the real Special is.
The thing about the Prophecy, though, is not that people choose to fulfill it, but that it chooses people to fulfill itself – just as Jesus has chosen us:
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. (Ephesians 1:4 NLT)
Collectively, we as human beings are “special” in that God has called us to a better standard of living – a way of life on Earth that reflects the way of life in heaven. And it’s with this Piece of Resistance – Jesus himself – that we are able to best reflect God’s love into the creation and reflect creation’s love back to God.
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Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes, including links to articles discussed, by clicking here.
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