The LEGO® Movie

As you can imagine, I was very excited when The LEGO® Movie came out. Since I play with LEGO® bricks all the time, and I know they can be used in very interesting ways, I was curious what they would do. I’ve seen it twice, and I think there is a very important message there that I’d like to talk about. It is about creativity.

In the movie, the master builders (and there really are master builders in real life, although none of them are Batman, as far as I know) keep asking Emmett to build something. But all he knows how to do is follow the rules, follow the directions, do what’s been done. He feels inadequate because he doesn’t feel creative. The creative people, however, can’t figure out how to work together. They can each make things individually, but they can’t collaborate. Batman only builds in black, and some very dark shades of grey. Princess Uni-Kitty needs everything to be rainbow. When they build a submarine together, it leaks. It takes someone like Emmett, who follows directions, to give the builders enough structure to work together.

The most creative people are often the most structured in some ways. They need to nurture their creativity. If they play music they need to practice every day to have the structure in place so deeply they don’t have to think about it any more. Artists draw or paint regularly. Wood workers work wood. (How much wood would a wood worker work if a wood worker could work wood? Something every day, I’d say.) There need to be some rules, some structure, to make it all work.

Emmett learns he can be more creative. So does the dad in the movie. It feels like a very big humanizing step for the dad to be able to play with his son rather than keeping all his LEGO® buildings permanently fixed in place. And, the son used a lot of the structure his dad built in order to play in it. The world wouldn’t have been as appealing to play in if it hadn’t been so meticulously rendered and so completely filled in. It took both, structure and creativity, following directions and making things up, to turn the basement world of LEGO® into such a great playground.

I think the benefit of creativity is something that came across pretty well in the movie. But I didn’t want the benefit of structure to be lost. Go practice! Learn the rules. Then learn which ones you can break. Play well!

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