Friday, 21 March 2014

Everything Is Awesome

Been thinking about Emmett from the Lego Movie.

Spoilers, duh.







I had been a bit disappointed by Emmett's sudden transformation into a Master Builder late in the movie. It's not entirely out of place; he has just returned from a voyage outside space and time and met his maker, so in terms of plot, it's understandable that he would return changed. I still felt a little bit let down, though, as there was no real payoff for the hero's journey. Yes, the prophecy was a lie, the Special was a myth, there was no in-universe reason for Emmett to be anything other than a generic workman (aside from being literally touched by god), but still, in a narrative sense, you want the resolution to come from something that's been with you the whole time.

So much was made of Emmett's lack of imagination, his adherence to rules, that it felt like there should have been some payoff from all of that. Instead he sprouts this heretofore unobserved charisma and just talks the bad guy out of being bad, in a scene that's almost more of a deus ex machina than the scene where Emmett ascents to the heavens. It's a microcosm of the interplay between the gods - or rather it is that interplay, acted out through these two players. As above, so below. But it felt, to me, like there should be more of Emmett in there.

Today I realised: Everyone in the movie is wrong.

All of Emmett's friends talk about how he doesn't like anything, he doesn't have a specific quirk or identifiable feature. This guy likes footlong hot dogs. "I love footlong hot dogs," says Emmett. That girl likes takeout; "I love takeout," says Emmett. He's just parroting other people's tastes back to them in an effort to fit in.

Except he isn't! He's not lying, he's not trying to fill the void inside himself with things he doesn't really like. It's not that he doesn't like anything. He genuinely does love everything. He's the point-of-view for the theme song, Everything Is Awesome!!!. It's his anthem.

That's why he's able to talk Lord Business down. He's not dissembling, not trying even the smallest amount of subterfuge. He's being completely honest. He really does love the entire world, including Lord Business.

Well, that's what I think, anyway.