Monday, 21 September 2015

The Lego Movie (4 Stars)

This is a confusing film. What I mean is that the film's target audience is confusing. On the surface it seems to be made for young children, but the film's underlying messages are so deep that they can only be understood by adults, or at least by intelligent teenagers 14 and upwards.

Emmet is a construction worker who lives his life according to the instructions given to him. He sleeps when he's told to, he wakes up at the correct time every day, he works according to the rules, he watches the recommended television shows, he even listens to the same music as everyone else. The turning point in his life comes when he falls down a hole in a construction site and finds a previously unknown Lego block, the piece of resistance, which attaches itself to his back and can't be removed. This identifies Emmet as a prophesied master builder who will save the world.

The message early in the film is obvious, to adults at least. Emmet lives in a society where everyone is assigned a role and does what is expected from him. I almost called this a Fascist society, but it's also the principle by which Communist countries are run. It's any country with a strong ideology which refuses to let anyone think differently, and it even applies to our western countries which use subtle persuasion to tell us what to think. Emmet doesn't question what he's told. He accepts the world that is presented to him, and he accepts its ideologies unquestioningly. He only progresses from being generic to becoming special when he opens his mind and begins to think for himself, without the instructions.

As the film continues we see much wider visions. It isn't just a matter of the ideologies of the world about him, he has to question the reality of the world that is presented to him. The world around him seems to be real, but he's living inside the Matrix. Without being aware of what's happening in the real world he can't battle the enemy forces in his own universe. The Lego Movie borrows so heavily from "The Matrix" that it's possible to figure out who represents who in the two films.

However, the film goes one step further, exploring a path uncharted in "The Matrix", apart from hints in "The Matrix: Revolutions". We see destiny. We see the hand of God guiding the universe, even controlling the success or failure of Emmet in his attempt to change the universe. Emmet saves the world because God wants him to. But the question that's left open in the Lego Movie is whether God only decides to save the universe because Emmet is so determined to do it. Is there a symbiosis between God and His creatures? Can God change his mind, influenced by the creatures that He has created?

But it doesn't end there. What is the nature and the morality of God Himself? Let's assume for a moment that the Bible's Old Testament is true in its portrayal of God. We see that God created the universe, then He created man in His own image, and then He gave laws telling man how to conduct himself. God defined what was right and wrong in the commandments He gave to Moses. Effectively He defined good and evil. Good is what God wants, evil is what God doesn't want. If we are true believers we follow God's instructions because they're awesome. We do what we're told and we go to Heaven. If we don't obey we go to Hell. It's as simple as that.

Today it's become common for people to reject the biblical concepts of good and evil because they don't believe the stories are true. But let's carry on assuming that the stories really are true. Should those who believe that God exists automatically accept everything that God says? To take just one example, the Bible says that homosexuality is wrong, that it is evil. It's the responsibility of believers to stand up to God and tell Him that He made a mistake. He should think it over and put things right in a Third Testament.

As the Lego Movie shows us, the first person to challenge God's authority is a male, the Devil. The film ends on a cliffhanger as a female enters who challenges both God and the Devil.

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