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Religion News Service Says 'The Lego Movie' Contains Scriptural Themes

Complete with a Man Upstairs and Master Builders, the film's "got religion" according to some secular and spiritual reviewers.

ROME -- Religion News Service said in its review of The Lego Movie that the film's "got religion," pointing to several characteristics of the film's plot it says have strongly religious overtones.

The film, which went into wide release Feb. 6 and 7 and has performed strongly at the box office, tells the story of a construction worker named Emmet (the name means "truth" in Hebrew) who unexpectedly discovers a "Piece of Resistance," which the article says is reminiscent to the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant. The film includes a "Man Upstairs" (God), "Master Builders" (prophets), and "the Special" (a savior).

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According to the review, Emmet "sacrifices himself for his friends, plunges through a tunnel into the Light, learns a unforeseeable truth about his world, and is resurrected to return to the quest," wrote RNS's Jeffrey Weiss, pointing out the parallels between that story and the story of Jesus Christ and Guru Nanak, the father of Sikhism.

At one point, Vitruvius, one of the Master Builders, tells Emmet, "All you need to be special is to believe" (faith).

The Religion News Service piece was picked by several mainstream and religious news media outlets.

This is not the first time religion-oriented media -- or the Vatican itself -- has weighed in on the merits of a particular film. Among the films praised in the past are Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, Jesus of Nazareth from Franco Zeffirelli, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, Victor Fleming's Joan of Arc and It's a Wonderful Life from Frank Capra. Most famously, the Vatican in 2010, on the 30th anniversary of the film's release, called John Landis' The Blues Brothers a "Catholic classic."

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James Cameron’s Avatar and The Da Vinci Code, based on the Dan Brown novel of the same name and directed by Ron Howard, and Ridley Scott’s Prometheus have drawn criticisms from the Holy See or religious newspapers.  

The Lego Movie, directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller with a voice cast that includes Elizabeth Banks and Will Arnett, will open in Italy next week.

Twitter: @EricJLyman