Movie Structure Breakdown: The Lego Movie

Format: Movie

Released: 2014

Written and Directed By: Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Run Time: 93 minutes

Character: Emmet Brickowski

 

ACT ONE: DEALING WITH AN IMPERFECT SITUATION

A character in an Imperfect Situation faces Oppressive Opposition as he pursues an Initial Goal. But when there is a Disturbance to his routine, he faces a Dilemma regarding his situation, and must assume a New Role.

Emmet Brickowski is a lonely, friendless, unimportant, construction guy (the imperfect situation) covertly being manipulated by an oppressive government (oppressive opposition) who just wants to fit in, have everybody like him and always be happy (the initial goal). But when he stumbles upon a mysterious object under a construction site in pursuit of a strange girl (the disturbance), he is mistaken for “the Special” by the authorities and must choose between being executed (the dilemma) and pretending to be the Special (the new role).

The Imperfect Situation: Despite Emmet’s enthusiasm, none of the people he interacts with seem to know who he is. His only friend is a plant.

It’s clearly for medicinal purposes.

Initial Goal: Emmet follows a set of instructions delineating his goal to fit in, have everybody like him and always be happy.

Oppressive Opposition: Emmet is unwittingly a participant in Lord Business’ oppressive scheme to enslave the universe. This is finally brought to his attention when he is sentenced by Bad Cop to be melted to death despite his innocence.

Turning Point Catalyst – The Disturbance: Emmett loses his instructions, is smitten at the unexpected appearance of the stunning Wyldstyle and falls down a hole chasing after her. There he finds and touches the piece of resistance.

Turning Point One – The Dilemma: Start Time: 10 of 93 minutes (10.7%) – Emmet wakes up restrained and is interrogated by Good Cop and Bad Cop. He is revealed to have the mythical “piece of resistance” stuck to his back. When Wyldstyle shows up and saves him, he must choose between staying in Bricksburg at the mercy of the police, or becoming the Special and going on the run.

The New Role: If Emmet agrees to go on the run with Wyldstyle, he will become the Special.

Act Run Time: 18 of 93 minutes (19.3%)

ACT TWO: LEARNING THE RULES OF AN UNFAMILIAR SITUATION

The character Learns the Rules of an Unfamiliar Situation and faces Incidental Opposition in pursuit of a Transitional Goal. But when he receives a Reality Check, he makes a Commitment to his New Role.

Act Start Time: 18 of 93 minutes (19.3%)

Emmet tries to blend in in the Old West and learns about the prophecy (the unfamiliar situation) but is ridiculed by Wyldstyle and the locals (incidental opposition) as he attempts to rendezvous with Vitruvius (the transitional goal). But when Bad Cop tracks him down and the locals rat him out (the reality check), Emmet and the gang are forced to escape to another realm before Emmet can receive any training (the commitment).

The Unfamiliar Situation: Emmet has no idea what the Old West is. It’s a dangerous place, and Wyldstyle has to teach him how to behave. Emmet doesn’t know anything about Master Builders or the prophecy or anything in general, and must be brought up to speed.

Transitional Goal: Emmet and Wyldstyle attempt to rendezvous with Vitruvius.

Incidental Opposition: The duo arrives in the Old West where it is made clear Emmet’s ineptitude is likely to get him killed. Not to mention Wyldstyle thinks he’s a total spazoid. They go to a saloon where Emmet stands out and is subsequently threatened by the bar’s patrons.

Turning Point Catalyst – The Reality Check: Emmet’s mind is shown to be prodigiously empty. 

“You need to cut back on that plant, man.”

Bad Cop shows up, and Sheriff Not-A-Robot tells him where Emmet is hiding.

Turning Point Two – The Commitment: Start Time: 32 of 93 minutes (34.4%) – Bad Cop and his army of robots attack, and the gang is forced to escape, first in a stagecoach and then in the Batwing with Batman. Like it or not, Emmet is now committed to his New Role as the Special, which pits him against Lord Business in the Central Conflict.

Act Run Time: 19 of 93 minutes (20.4%)

ACT THREE: STUMBLING INTO THE CENTRAL CONFLICT

The character stumbles into the Central Conflict and faces Intentional Opposition in pursuit of a False Goal. But when there is a grave Turn of events, he has a Moment of Truth.

Act Start Time: 37 of 93 minutes (39.7%)

Emmet and the gang try to stop Lord Business’ sinister plan (the central conflict), but Emmet’s idiocy is realized by both the Master Builders and Octan (intentional opposition) when he tries to rally the Master Builders to attack Octan Tower (the false goal). But when Bad Cop tracks them to Cloud Cuckoo Land and captures all but a few of the Master Builders (the turn), the remaining Master Builders see the benefits of Emmet’s seemingly useless ideas and rally behind him to develop a new course of action (the moment of truth).

The Central Conflict: Emmet and the Master Builders battle Lord Business’ and his plan to Kragle the whole universe on Taco Tuesday.

False Goal: Emmet and his crew visit Cloud Cuckoo Land and attempt to assemble the Master Builders to attack Octan Tower.

“This place reeks of  plant.”

Intentional Opposition: It is now clear the bad guys are after them. Batman stands vehemently between Emmet and Wyldstyle. The Master Builders turn on Emmet upon hearing his motivational speech. Bad Cop and the forces of evil crash the party, capture all the Master Builders and level Cloud Cuckoo land.

Turning Point Catalyst – The Turn: Bad Cop follows Emmet’s crew using a tracking device on Emmet’s leg. Cloud Cuckoo land is destroyed. The submarine hastily constructed by Emmet’s gang falls apart and seemingly kills everyone aboard. Bad Cop tells Lord Business the only remnant of the Special is a double-decker couch.

Turning Point Three – The Moment of Truth: Start Time: 52 of 93 minutes (55.9%) – Emmet’s couch stays together, and everyone uses it to survive. Metal Beard shows up in his pirate ship and rescues them, hailing Emmet’s ideas as surprisingly useful. Emmett gives a better speech and gets everyone to devise a cohesive plan.

Emmet decides he is indeed a unique individual who can make a valid contribution. He and the Master Builders devise a plan to bring the fight to Lord Business.

Act Run Time: 18 of 93 minutes (19.3%)

ACT FOUR: IMPLEMENTING A DOOMED PLAN

The character implements a Doomed Plan and faces Self-Inflicted Opposition in pursuit of a Penultimate Goal. But when an unthinkable Lowpoint occurs, he pulls himself together and discovers a Newfound Resolve.

Act Start Time: 55 of 93 minutes (59.1%)

Emmet and the gang implement a plan to sneak into Octan Tower (the doomed plan), but walk right into Lord Business’s clutches (self-inflicted opposition) while trying to put the piece of resistance on the Kragle (the penultimate goal). But when a mortally wounded Vitruvius admits to Emmet he made up the prophecy (the lowpoint), Emmet sacrifices himself to free the others and Wyldstyle concocts a plan to enlist the aid of the citizens of the universe (the newfound resolve).

The Doomed Plan: Emmet and the gang’s plan to sneak into Octan tower fails, Vitruvius is killed, and everyone is captured.

Penultimate Goal: Emmet and the Master Builders attempt to sneak into Octan Tower and put the piece of resistance on the Kragle.

Self-Inflicted Opposition: Emmet and the gang willingly go into Octan tower, walking into Lord Business’ trap.

Turning Point Catalyst – The Lowpoint: Vitruvius is mortally wounded. Before dying, he confesses to Emmett he made up the prophecy of the Special. Lord Business sets the timer to kill all the Master Builders and Emmett. Emmet is sad because he isn’t special after all. Lord Business takes his tower ship to Bricksburg and begins releasing the Kragle.

Turning Point Four – The Newfound Resolve: Start Time: 71 of 93 minutes (76.3%) – Ghost Vitruvius shows up and tells Emmett he can still be the Special if he just believes in himself.

“I’ve seen the face of God. He complimented my portrayal in “Bruce Almighty”.”

Emmett manages to rock the battery he is attached to free and rolls it into the abyss of infinite nothingness. Emmet’s decision to stop Lord Business at all costs gives Wyldstyle an idea to save the universe.

Act Run Time: 19 of 93 minutes (20.4%)

ACT FIVE: TRYING A LONGSHOT

The character tries a Longshot and faces Ultimate Opposition while trying to accomplish the Ultimate Goal. But just when it seems All is Lost, he makes a Final Push against the forces of antagonism and either succeeds or fails.

Act Start Time: 74 of 93 minutes (79.5%)

Wyldstyle hijacks a TV program to convince the citizens of Bricksburg to fight back against President Business (the longshot) and faces an attack by his minions (ultimate opposition) while Emmet gets a new piece of resistance from a human child to put on the Kragle (the ultimate goal). But when the citizens and Master Builders are overrun by Lord Business’ micromanagers (all is lost), Emmett returns to Bricksburg with the vision of a Master Builder, fights his way through the city and faces off with Lord Business (the final push).

The Longshot: Wyldstyle’s uses the TV to get the citizens to fight back against Lord Business with their creativity. Meanwhile, Emmet tries to enlist the aid of a human child to get the piece of resistance back.

Ultimate Goal: Emmet’s motley crew wants to Defeat Lord Business and his minions, put the piece on the Kragle, and save the universe.

Ultimate Opposition: Lord Business releases his micromanagers and the Kragle upon the unsuspecting citizens of Bricksburg. Emmet is detained by The Man Upstairs who is revealed to be behind all this Kragle business. Emmet must face off with Lord Business directly and appeal to his sense of decency.

Turning Point Catalyst – All is Lost: Wyldstyle and the citizens of Bricksburg are overrun by the micromanagers. Emmet is apprehended by the Man Upstairs who calls him an unimportant construction guy.

Turning Point Five – The Final Push: Start Time: 84 of 93 minutes (90.3%) – With the help of the human child and a cat poster, Emmett returns to Bricksburg and sees the world with the vision of a Master Builder.

“KEANU!”

He builds a robot suit and fights his way through the city with the help of Princess Unikitty. He faces off with Lord Business but ends up getting his foot Kragled. The man upstairs and his son have a heart to heart, which is mirrored by Emmett and President Business. Emmet/the child convince Lord Business/The Man Upstairs to put the cap on the Kragle and end the conflict.

Act Run Time: 17 of 93 minutes (18.2%)

ACT SIX: LIVING IN A NEW SITUATION

Having accomplished (or failed to have accomplished) the Ultimate Goal, the character is shown living in a New Situation.

Act Start Time: 91 of 93 minutes (97.8%)

Emmet is liked and respected. He even gets to hold hands with Wyldstyle. President Business is now on the side of good.

The New Situation: In an uncharacteristic act of humility, Batman tells Wyldstyle Emmet is the hero she deserves. Emmet and Wyldstyle finally hold hands. President Business distributes the antidote for the Kragle, and the people are set free. The human and his childling play with Legos together. But now that Finn’s sister is also allowed to play, a new threat arises… for the sequel.

Act Run Time: 2 of 93 minutes (2.2%)

To learn more about six act structure, purchase your copy of “Actions and Goals: The Story Structure Secret” today!

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