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This is a child-friendly guide; some of the discussion questions are for younger viewers. The Lego Movie is rated U, contains mild fantasy violence and very mild language. The film is available to buy on DVD, and to stream on Amazon Instant Video.
Emmett (Chris Pratt) couldn’t be happier. A construction worker in a seemingly utopian Lego world, he knows his place. He sings along to ‘Everything Is Awesome’, everybody’s favourite pop song; buys coffee from everybody’s favourite overpriced coffee shop; and watches ‘Where Are My Pants?’, everybody’s favourite sitcom.
But then, a chance encounter with freedom fighter Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) changes everything. She believes that Emmett is The Special, prophecied by the wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) to be ‘the greatest, most talented, most interesting, most important person of all time’. In the fight against Lord Business (Will Ferrell), a dictator with evil designs on the whole Lego universe, they will need all the allies they can get – including Wyldstyle’s arrogant boyfriend, Batman (Will Arnett).
If Emmett wants to live up to the prophecy, bring down Lord Business and win Wyldstyle’s heart, he’ll have to break with the instructions and get creative.
- Did you enjoy the film, and why or why not? Who was your favourite character, and which parts of the story did you like best?
- How did you feel about Emmett? Was he really happy about his life at the beginning, and how did he feel when Wyldstyle told him he was The Special? What important lessons had he learned by the end of the story?
- Why did Lord Business want to glue together all the bricks in the Lego world? What made him want to control everything? When might we feel scared of things in our lives which we can’t control, and what can we do when we feel this way?
- How did you feel about the live action scenes near the end of the film? How might these scenes change the way we think and feel about everything that’s come before? How did you feel about the relationship between Finn (Jadon Sand) and his dad, the Man Upstairs?
- How would you describe the world which Emmett lives in at the beginning of the story, and in what ways is it like our own world? What might be missing from our lives in this kind of world? Why do we need creativity and imagination?
- Do we need to have instructions and rules in life, and why or why not? What happens if we always do exactly what people tell us, without ever asking questions? What happens if there are no rules at all, for anybody?
- Emmett twice discovers that he’s part of a much bigger story that he didn’t know about – first when he meets Wyldstyle, and then when he falls through the portal into the real world. Do you think that our lives are part of a bigger story? Why is it important that we think about other people and the ‘big picture’, not just the things we want and need?
- Does it matter that Emmett isn’t really ‘the greatest, most talented, most interesting, most important person of all time’? What makes ordinary people special? What difference does it make when we believe that we have an important part to play in the world?
- In what ways does The Lego Movie parody and subvert story conventions? How does it riff on the journey of the archetypal hero? What references did you spot to other films and cultural icons, and what role did these play?
- How was the film’s central theme of creativity reflected in different aspects of the filmmaking, especially visual elements? In your view, did the film live up to its own standards regarding creativity and nonconformity?
[Emmett] starts out in a world where it’s really top down and all the creativity is outsourced. . . Nowadays, ever since recorded media, that’s the way a lot of people interface with art.’ – Director Phil Lord
- In what ways does The Lego Movie seem to be critiquing consumer culture? Do you think that we have a ‘consumer’ relationship with art and creativity, and what social trends might have made this the case? Why, and how, should a society value real creativity?
- Is The Lego Movie ridiculous or meaningful, or both? Is it sincere or ironic, or both? In what ways might the film embody principles of postmodernism or metamodernism? How do these concepts relate to our culture’s views on the nature of truth and reality?
- Does The Lego Movie carry an anti-business or anti-capitalist message – and does it undermine this message by essentially being an advert for a product? To what extent does art become morally compromised when it’s tied to commercial concerns? Can advertising ever be a genuine act of creativity, and why or why not?
- What ideas regarding human worth and purpose might our culture believe to be ‘made up, but also true’? Do these ‘made up truths’ provide sufficient spiritual resources to live by? Why, and under what circumstances, might we need ‘true truths’ – and does such a thing exist?
‘Life is meant to be symphonic, a community that balances improvisation and cooperation, under the guidance of a benevolent conductor.’ – Critic Jeffrey Overstreet
- What message does the film have about balancing ‘improvisation and cooperation’, and freedom with structure? How might these ideas relate to the human condition, and our search for meaning and wholeness? Is there a ‘benevolent conductor’, and what difference might this make?