Emmet Brickowski is just a regular guy. In fact, he’s so regular, that coworkers and neighbors struggle to piece together any distinguishing features to describe him: “Yeah, he’s kind of your average, normal, kind of guy. But you know, he’s not…he’s not like normal like us. No, he…he’s not that special.” (Barry, The Lego Movie)
“You know, he’s just sort of a…little bit of a…blank slate, I guess” (Larry the Barrista, The Lego Movie)
“We all have something that makes us something, and Emmet is…nothing.” (Randy, The Lego Movie)
But all that changes when Emmet stumbles across the “piece of resistance to the Kragle” (the top to a tube of Krazy Glue in which the z,y, and u have rubbed off). He is subsequently arrested under the tyrannous regime of President Business and is about to be melted when he is rescued by a mysterious girl named “Wyldstyle”. Emmet – utterly clueless to everything that is happening – is questioned by Wyldstyle:
Wyldstyle: “You found the Piece of Resistance and the prophecy states that you are the most important, most talented, most interesting and most extraordinary person in the universe. That’s you, right?” Emmet Brickowoski: “Uh…yes. That’s me.”
Emmet’s response hits home. Don’t we all have a deep-down desire to be something truly special, to be someone that everyone else admires? Perhaps, maybe we’d even be willing to stretch the truth and pretend for just a little bit (especially to impress a girl)?
Emmet can’t be someone he is not, however, and it soon becomes pretty obvious to everyone that Emmet is not the “Special” hero they were expecting.
Nevertheless, there comes a turning point midway through the movie. As the “good guys” are being chased by the “bad guys”, they quickly decide to build a submarine to escape. Emmitt looks around, frantically watching the others stacking Lego pieces together. Hopelessness mounts – he has never improvised beyond a set of instructions and is unsure of how to help. That is when the “prophet,” (Vetruvius), steps forward and speaks:
“Emmet, don't worry about what the others are doing. You must embrace what is special about you.” (Vitruvius, The Lego Movie)
“Don’t worry about what the others are doing" sounds very similar to the last recorded words Jesus spoke to Peter in the gospel of John. For context, this occurs right after the resurrected Jesus appears to Peter and the disciples as they are fishing, telling them to cast their nets to the side of the boat. When they haul in a miraculously large catch, they realize it is Jesus, and there is a beautiful scene of Peter literally jumping into the water to join his Lord on the shore. The rest of the disciples pull the boat up and they all enjoy a fantastic breakfast of fish prepared by Jesus (side thought: how was Jesus’s cooking? Did it put Emeril Lagasse to shame or was it humbly without much flavor?). The gospel account then records Jesus asking Peter three times if he loved him, before commanding him to follow. Peter turns back to look at one of the other disciples (presumably John):
When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” (John 21:21-22 NIV)
It’s a wonderful, almost sarcastic, response with significant implications – “don’t worry about the plans I have for him, focus your attention on the plans I have for you.”
In a similar way, a light bulb goes off in Emmet’s head when he hears Vitruvius’s words. He jumps into action and proceeds to build…a double decker couch.
His contribution is not valued highly by his peers:
“That's literally the dumbest thing I ever heard.” (Lucy, The Lego Movie).
“That idea is just the worst.” (Vitruvius, The Lego Movie).
“So it’s like a bunk bed couch? Is that what it’s like? That’s weird. If you’re sitting in the top middle, how are you gonna get down without climbing over someone? If you’re sitting on the bottom, and you’re watching TV, are you gonna have to watch through a bunch of dangling legs? Who’s gonna want to sit on the bottom? It is literally the most useless idea I have ever heard.” (President Business, The Lego Movie).
And yet… it soon becomes the most valuable construction of all. The submarine falls apart, having been hastily thrown together with mismatched pieces as the good guys refused to work together in unison. It is the double decker couch alone that survives and allows them to float to safety, hidden from the bad guys under the couch cushions.
Why do we all have this longing to be special, to be loved and adored and appreciated for who we truly are? Perhaps because we were created to be in an intimate relationship with One who dolls out such measures in an infinite fashion. Furthermore, I believe God has created each of us with a uniquely special gifted purpose:
“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever.”(1 Peter 4:10-11)
Others may scoff at our gifts and we may be tricked into feeling “not special” or “unimportant”, but we don't really need to worry about them, do we? We just need to concentrate on God's special plans for us.
I doubt any of us would decide to remove random gears from our car and find good use for them by themselves. In the same manner, we are designed to work with others in unison in order to bring glory to God. That might sound like a presumptuous move on God’s part – and for a human it would be – but what object in the Universe is more worthy of glory than the perfect creator of the Universe? There simply is no other direction in which glory should point. He is worthy of it.
I know I'm a bit behind on the times here saying this, but I think The Lego Movie is flat out hilarious. It also passes www.pluggedin.com movie reviews with flying colors and has a great overarching positive message that you can relay to your children. If you’ve got little ones and you haven’t seen this one yet, it’s definitely worth checking out!
- Nicolas C. Day
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