The Lego Movie explores the ultimate dichotomy of life: those who only build Lego kits as directed on the construction guide and those who find such directions limiting.
Are you a construction guide follower or are you a free-form inventor of worlds. Are your creations detailed and precisely constructed using the provided pieces and harmonious color schemes of the kit? Or do you have a wild colorful style of hodge-podge pieces creating wondrous realms? And most importantly do your Legos talk and act and live in your created world? Or do they just stand stuck to the nob on the ground?
Which category you fall into says quite a bit about your personality. Whether by nature or nurture, I grew up as group two without kits and directions. I’m pretty sure my mom was more interested in our creative growth than in our direction following skills when it came to Legos. (If that translated in to other realms of life, you have only yourself to blame, Mom.)
Regardless of how you use them, Legos are a great toy for building a blend of creativity and spacial skills. And it is a tribute to the creative power of an engineering toy, that the movie is as entertaining as it is.
Emmett, the Lego every-man, voiced by Christ Pratt (Parks and Recreation), is mistaken for the “Special”, a master-builder who will save the world from the dastardly Lord Business. Problem is Emmett’s a drone, who has had his personality wiped clean by the banality of the over-processed pop culture around him. The last creative thought he had was for a double-decker couch to improve his TV consumption, a thought that is instantly pooh-poohed by the elitist master builders who are trying to get him to save the world. (It’s supposed to be a joke, but really I think a double-decker couch has a lot of potential.)
Eventually in a shocking bit of compromise (this is a kids’ movie) it is a blend of Emmett’s direction following skills and his friends free-wheeling design prowess that saves the day. Ultimately the Lego Movie comes down in favor of Legos as a toy over Legos as a build and leave alone project. This might be a strange conclusion to come to when you are a business that makes a fortune selling really expensive kits.
But it works. Not because the direction followers are proved wrong, that isn’t the point. The movie’s message is one of rediscovering the joy of creating. Without spoiling the ending that I thought worked really well, the take away is that Legos are supposed to be fun and interactive and creative.
Legos are for story telling. Whether it is one of the Lego franchised worlds (LoTR, Star Wars, Chimera, Batman, Spiderman, etc) or a world you create on your own, the point is to tell a story. Whether you retell Star Wars “faithfully” or come up with new episodes through your own Lego creation, the point is that there is a story. However you best tell the story depends on your personality and your inclination.
Perhaps you don’t think of putting Legos together as telling a story. Maybe you view the click and press of bricks into place as a purely mathematically pursuit. That’s fine; the story is still there in the quiet revelation of your interests and delights.
Everyone has a story to tell, and Lego wants to be your set designer.