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When Vitruvius visits Emmett as a ghost as he is strapped to the battery, he is floating because he is attached to a string.

Ghost Vitruvius on a string
image from here.

Now, I assume this is because Finn is playing with him. But why is it being explicitly shown? Everything in the movie is being played out by Finn in the basement with his Father's Lego sets. So, for e.g., Superman is not really flying but being moved around by Finn.

So why is the Ghost of Vitruvius not floating on its own? Why does it need to be made explicit that Finn is the one who is moving him around using a string?

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Because it’s funny.

Only toward the end do we finally realize this is all happening within the mind of an imaginative boy who is playing a game. All the time before that, we are amused (laughing in my case) with the Legos that are used to mimic shapes that move around and interact. The artists making the movie intentionally never actually achieved effects that looked like real life.

A glow-in-the-dark, sheet-over-the-head, Morgan-Freeman-voicing-ghost-noises Vitruvius on a bobbing string is just plain funny. In my opinion, Finn is on the other end of the string.

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