This is a really difficult review for me to write. First let me say that I actually enjoyed the Lego Movie. My kids thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s imaginative, high-energy, and exciting. I was also very impressed that the movie was created with actual Legos using stop-still animation. (UPDATE: I now know that it was computer animated. Good job animators! Fooled me!) And contrary to the title of this review, maybe surprising to you…maybe somewhat hypocritical on my part…I will probably own this movie and my children will watch it till it wears out. BUT not before I explain to them what I’m about to explain to you.
Despite being such a fun movie, everything is NOT indeed awesome. Everything was great until the movie took a very existential and philosophical twist at the end, making it the most anti-Christian film I’ve seen in a long time. Almost as blatantly anti-Christian as the Golden Compass, and I’m surprised there hasn’t been a wide-spread out-cry against it.
SO BEWARE. SPOILERS AHEAD!
All throughout the movie there are references to the “man upstairs.” This is not only a figurative reference to God, but it is a direct reference to the god of the Lego people, because “the man upstairs” is the one who builds them, is the one who created everything, who everyone is looking for, and who everyone is expecting to rescue them. Okay. So that’s not so bad.
The movie centers around a set of rebels who value creative thinking outside the set of “instructions” that Legos would normally follow. The institution of society considers this deviant behavior and emphasizes the importance of always following the instructions. Okay. I’m all for out-of-the-box thinking and creativity in a dormant society. Not so bad.
Then it is revealed that the “man up stairs” is really the bad-guy and it is the rebellious son who has introduced chaos and disorder to society by believing the “instruction book” is a bad thing.
Do you see it now? If not, let me just lay it all out for you. You see, the “man upstairs” represents God and the “instruction book” represents the Bible. This rebellious son who introduces chaos, disorder, and a disregard for the “instruction book” to a society built in perfection by “the man upstairs,” of course represents Satan.
God’s creation in the book of Genesis is perfect. God gave us the Bible in order to lead us back into a state of holiness and sinlessness so that we can obtain that perfect existence with him in Heaven. But Satan is the one who introduced chaos and disorder…sin…into God’s perfectness. Satan is the one who tells everyone that the Bible is constricting, is damaging to society, and that people are better off living life however they want rather than sticking to the “instruction book.”
The Lego Movie calls the “man upstairs” the bad-guy. He is forcing everyone to follow the “instruction book,” forcing everyone into a state of utopic conformity, and wants to squash creativity. He wants perfect order. He’s not who everyone thought he would be, not who they were expecting, and not who they had been searching for their entire lives. The rebellious son is the hero. The “instruction book” is merely a suggestion. And society is better off accepting the chaos and disorder that comes from ignoring the “instruction book.”
And the movie ends with the “man upstairs” returning. He sees what the rebellious son has done to his world and begins to fix it by forcing his perfection upon the world in a kind of Armageddon. There is nothing the rebellious son can do about it. He’s been defeated. The “man upstairs” wins. That is, until the rebellious son tells the “man upstairs”…You don’t have to be the bad guy. Then the “man upstairs” recognizes value in chaos and rebellion.
This is the slam against Christianity. This is why Christians should be upset and feel attacked. If they had left out that existential ending and the Lego Armageddon, and just made it about the Lego people. Or if they had used some other terminology (or left it out all together) other than the “man upstairs,” which is an obvious reference to God, then there would be no problem. But they went too far.
The Lego Movie presents the message that God is the bad guy, the Bible is merely a suggestion, and it’s okay to let the rebellious son take your life on a path of chaos and rebellion. By telling the “man upstairs” he doesn’t “have to be the bad guy,” the movie is telling Christians to stop being the bad guys. Stop being so dogmatic about the “instruction book.” Stop trying to make people conform to holiness. It’s okay for people to do what they want or to do things that are against the Bible. There’s value in it. It’s good for society. It’s a better way of living than to be slaves to the instructions. Give it a try. Throw out those instructions and live a little. And if you do that, everything is awesome.
And God can just go back upstairs and leave the world in the hands of the rebellious son. Or even better yet, maybe God will admit he was wrong and begin to value the things he previously defined as sin. Maybe Christians will admit they’ve been wrong and begin to find value in living outside the standards of the Bible. Maybe they will join in.
Of course as a Christian, I find this quite offensive. What is presented as the relationship between God and his creation is in reality a caricature of the truth. God is intimately involved with the world he loves. He’s trying to rescue it and restore it to something beautiful. He values creativity, that’s why he created creativity. And his instructions for Holy living are not meant to keep us restricted and controlled, but are meant to bring us a better life with true freedom from contamination.
What is presented as a creative, caring, and broken-hearted “rebellious son” is in reality a complete lie concerning the nature of Satan. Satan doesn’t try to better society by bringing a little creativity, he tries to destroy society with uncontrolled chaos. He doesn’t care about the world, he only wants to pervert what God loves. And ignoring the Bible to do things his way never brings happiness and freedom, it only brings misery and enslavement. (Imagine Sid from Toy Story in this role and perhaps you’d have a better comparison.)
So parents, be warned. Watch the Lego Movie with caution. And be sure to explain to your children how God is different than the “man upstairs.” Don’t let this sneaky attack on Christian beliefs have any traction in the lives of your children. Let it be a learning opportunity about the true nature of God and the sneakiness of Satan.
And if you’re one of those who think this movie got it right, I’m so sorry. You’ve been lied to. I think you owe it to yourself to stop taking everyone else’s word for it and go do some unbiased research for yourself. Get out of the mold you’ve been put in and find the truth for yourself. Now THAT would be awesome. That would be a message from the Lego Movie I could get behind.