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Spoilers for The LEGO Movie below.

In The LEGO Movie we eventually learn that

all of the LEGO world is just a man's basement toy collection. However, the minifigures are sentient and capable of limited movement within the real world.

Within the LEGO World, are all the minifigures' actions manipulated by humans, or do they control themselves to any degree?

As an extension, are their personalities and emotions their own, or are they simply mandated by their controllers?

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    Maybe they do in the movie, but in real life I dominate and abuse my minifigs as I see fit. It's not a democracy. – Major Stackings Jul 10 '16 at 3:56
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The story of the Lego Movie is told as a story within a story. Emmet, the archetypal everyman hero is literally a randomly chosen minifigure that the child (Finn) manipulates in the overarching story that takes place within his imagination.

The events of the film are shown, at the end of the film to be set-pieces that the boy has made from Lego and is peopling from his own imagination. There's no indication that they're really moving, nor have any personal agency.

Miller: They both were there from the beginning. You know, we wanted to do a real classic hero’s journey but then turn it on its head. Where we wanted to have a chosen one who was chosen at random and doesn’t actually have any skills whatsoever. So we thought that was something interesting about everyone. And we also wanted to do this other aspect of the story, which was really intrinsic to our original concept of the movie. And so we knew the storylines had to talk to each other. It all had to be one and the same thematically. And each one definitely informed the other.

Lord: I don’t think we knew how it was gonna work. I don’t think we were like “Yeah, we’re gonna figure out some way where these all belong together.”

Miller: And it didn’t work for like well over a year of developing it, it just didn’t come together. And then…

Lord: There was a lot of pressure to drop the more meta story because, you know, the other story was working well. But then you don’t really need that. We just sort of thought it was such a nice, special thing and it seems like people are more or less, I don’t wanna say surprised, but they’re sort of feel like in the end that’s the thing that has to happen. And I’m glad that we persevered, finally. Because sometimes you don’t know where else the movie could go. And you’re hoping that it has one more move, you know?

/Film Interview: Phil Lord and Chris Miller Discuss ‘The Lego Movie’ Spoilers

Obviously it wouldn't be much of a fantasy film if Emmett wasn't just a little bit magical, but only enough to make the movie a treat for all rather than a straight-up moral play.

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    "There's no indication that they're really moving, nor have any personal agency." what about when Emmett manages to fall off the table and wiggle around for a bit? – RedCaio Jul 10 '16 at 3:11
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    @redcaio - Hence "a little bit magical" – Valorum Jul 10 '16 at 8:05
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    This answer is awesome! – Accio_Answer Jul 10 '16 at 11:25
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    @Accio_Answer - Everything is awesome!!!!. – Valorum Jul 10 '16 at 11:33
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The end of The Lego Movie 2 heavily implies they do have control:

at the end of the movie, Rex and Emmet have a fight under a dryer which (based on the camera anyways) it appears impossible for a kid to have reached if he was playing with the pieces.

  • Good point. Actually, I imagined the hesitant and awkward movements as a sign that the kid was trying to move Emmet with a stick or other polearm device. – Robert Columbia Apr 7 at 2:39

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