The Lego Movie is one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen. No really, I actually choked up a bit in the end. But I handled it well and spared my daughter the embarrassment of having her father cry in a public space. It hits the nostalgic factor like “Wreck It Ralph” and the adult laced humor of “Cars”. But what it does uniquely, in this engineer’s humble opinion, is be the flag bearer of everything the STEM/STEAM/Maker/DIY movement is trying to accomplish. This doesn’t hit home until the last third of the movie, and more specifically the last few minutes.
In a nutshell everything we see in the Lego Movie is actually playing out in the imagination (or perhaps alternate reality, hmmm) of a young boy in his basement. We come to find out that the bad Lego guy, Lord Business, is the personification of his father who is masterfully played by Will Ferrell. It may be Ferrells most non-comedic role to date. The evil plot involving the Kragle is a manifestation of his fathers desire to build the Lego kits strictly to the instructions and to keep them that way. In short, Will Ferrell’s character, let’s call him Dad, owns most the Lego kits and displays them beautifully in the basement. His son, I believe named Finn, has a much larger imagination that Lord Business, errr, his dad. In the end, dad realizes that having fun, using your imagination, and not following the instructions is a much better way to do things.
It is the essence of of the Maker and STEAM Movements. Empower our imagination, stop being a slave to big business products that you can’t tinker with without fear of lawsuit, and start creating your own things. Whatever those things may be, you are the Master Builder and your only limits are your imagination. I can only hope that this plants the seed of change in my daughter’s mind and in the minds of all the children that see it. I hope that the notions of imagination, creativity, build it yourself, and original problem solving will begin to decimate the cold, boring world of knowledge for knowledge sake, rote memorization of fact, follow the instructions, don’t color outside the lines; and buy, buy, buy. The winds are shifting, we in the STEAM and Maker Movement just have to adjust our sails accordingly and deliver our kids to the shores of a brighter future. This movie, for me, does just that.