The Gospel According to Lego
The Lego Movie, the original one that is, may have been the best Christian movie ever made. I know it doesn’t have a 4-point Gospel message, (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and I’m not saying there is a covert plot by the authors either. But Christian filmmakers could learn a lot by examining the message of this movie and how it applies to a Christian worldview.
As Christians, we’re supposed to go against the flow of culture and the world, because the world system is corrupt and influenced by the evil ruler of this world. Too many Christians are happy to go along and get along with the culture. We may have good intentions to try to be positive people and to fit in with our neighbors, but it usually doesn’t work out for the Gospel or us. In the beginning, Emmet reads from a book titled How to Fit In, Have Everybody Like You and Always Be Happy. Emmet follows the instructions to the letter and it really has the opposite effect. The more Emmet does to fit in, the more he doesn’t fit in because he loses all uniqueness. The Bible says we are here to be salt and if you lose your saltiness how can you be made salty again? We’re not to be like everyone else.
In The Lego Movie, the characters all enjoy popular culture to an extreme. We see that people are happy to be subdued into not paying attention to reality because they’re too busy watching mindless TV shows like, Honey Where’s My Pants? They miss the message that anyone who resists will be put to sleep. Emmet catches it but is quickly distracted again, happy to pay $35 for a cup of coffee but spending his days watching TV alone with his plant.
All these things are done in humor but we laugh because we know there’s a lot of truth to it. Some of this is obviously lost on a children’s audience, but the adults know and even the kids have an idea what’s really being said.
During the midst of Emmet’s struggle to fit in and be happy, he stumbles upon something that will make him special and have others like him. At first, he doesn’t want to be different, but he really wants to be special after he learns that nobody even knows who he is because he tries so hard to fit in. It’s kind of a paradox, because we all want to fit in, and at the same time we all want to be special.
One of the messages of the film is that it’s pointless to chase popular culture and that’s a lesson many Christian filmmakers should also convey in an entertaining and relevant way. Another message is about opening one’s mind. No, Emmet doesn’t need to open his mind to new popular ideas. it’s completely blank except for his one idea about a double-decker couch. Pop culture has sucked all the ideas out of his mind. His one idea saves everyone at one point in the movie because of its uniqueness. It’s not surprising that everyone thinks his idea is literally the worst ever though. Emmet, in Matrix like Neo fashion can see everything in the end, because he lets go of his old ways, and because he must save his friends. Christians need to let go of chasing culture and embrace who God made us to be, for ourselves and the sake of others.
On the contrary, The Lego Batman movie seems to have the opposite message. I won’t spoil too much but be forewarned there is a little spoiler here. The movie tries to squeeze in everything popular in culture, not as a joke or as a point to show that it’s ridiculous, but just in the hopes to hit every kind of demographic. The main message is basically that no man is an island, which is good, but it gets overshadowed by a worldly message of, we just all need to work together and embrace and accept each other. Now, my ten-year-old enjoyed The Lego Batman Movie, and at times it was funny but the story was weak. As I always say, story is king. You can have a message if the story carries it, and not the other way around.