Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Lego Movie: Go or No Go?

As subscribers to Lego Club Magazine AND Lego Club Junior, my boys have been breathlessly filling me in on various details of The Lego Movie for months now. I have to say, those details did not fill me with confidence. The bad guy is Lord "Business"? Only the unenlightened worry about "following the directions"? The world's only hope is "The Special" who will be "the brightest, most talented, most interesting person in the universe"? 

Oh brother, right? Just what I need. A movie to tell my kid that he is the special-est person in the universe (or he MIGHT be anyway), business is evil, and following instructions is for chumps.

But I was so intrigued by the clever use of well-known characters in the trailer, and I'm such a fan of stop motion animation (this isn't true stop motion, but the cgi is very true to the feel of traditional Lego stop motion), and my older boys were so very willing to be blackmailed by the chance to go see it . . . that we just had to go.

And . . . 

I really enjoyed it. 

None of the issues I was concerned about was problematic at all. Lord Business is a bad guy but not in a "corporations are evil" kind of way. Our hero is special mostly because he isn't, reminiscent of Bilbo of The Hobbit the book (but not so much Bilbo of The Hobbit the movie, sigh). Direction following is treated in a very balanced way. As in real life, in the movie there is a time to follow the instructions and a time to be creative.

The things I thought I would enjoy, I really did enjoy. The cameos by well-known characters from literature, history, sports, and pop-culture are awesome. My favorite was "Nineteen Eighty Something Spaceguy." Brilliant. 

The animation was both my favorite and my least favorite part of the movie. The jerky movements and limited joints are used to great advantage. Scenes of fire and water and bubbles are all managed in really creative and visually interesting ways. I loved the kid-type sound effects that sneak in here and there, hinting at the ending that's to come. But, the whole thing was very bright and frantic and noisome. I wish they could have toned it down just a bit.

I don't want to spoil the ending for you, but suffice to say, it ends up having a very sweet family message. It has humor that appeals to both kids and adults, but without being secretly bawdy. I was really pleasantly surprised by the innocence of the whole thing. The language is cute, and the romance is limited to some very endearing hand holding.



It's not going to change your life but it's a fun, clever movie with a nice message. And my kids really REALLY liked it.

Update: people have asked me if it's appropriate for younger kids. I'd say it depends. I would let my 2 and 4 year olds see it, but only because their older siblings would like it. I don't think there's anything overly scary or inappropriate, but the whole thing would be a bit over their heads.

It feels like an action movie. There are intense action scenes, torture, and the death of a character we like, but it's all in Lego! So there's no blood or guts, and it's all handled in a lighthearted comedic way. There's also a Lego guys photocopying their butts scene. I hated it when the minions did it, but it totally cracked me up to see the little backs of Lego guy legs coming out of the machine. There's a running gag about a TV show called Where Are My Pants? in which, you guessed it, the main character isn't wearing pants. But -- he's a Lego. I thought it was all in good fun.

My only caution for younger kids is that the plot is pretty complicated and seems aimed at older kids, teenagers, and adults. I don't think my little kids would have much of an idea of what's going on. But I do think they'd be mesmerized by just watching the Legos.

Updated update: I've now seen this movie four times (I think?), and I've liked it more each time. It's just a well-written, clever movie. And I'm not sure what I was talking about up there about it being "frantic and noisome" (who talks like that?). We saw it again this weekend after Bobby and Gus' Lego Movie themed birthday party, and I though the Lego stop-motion-looking effects were just brilliant. The fire, the Lego waves, it's all just perfect. Even the ending credits are astounding. I highly recommend this movie.

To see the party details or download free printables to throw your own, click here.


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7 comments:

  1. This is really helpful Kendra!

    I think we'll have to see it now that I know "nineteen eighty something space guy" is in it--I'd say a good half of our minifigures are of the nineteen eighty something space man variety from my husbands treasure trove of legos which he so wisely hung on to for all these years :)

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  2. My oldest is five, and really wants to see it after seeing a poster. Is it more of a 7 and up movie?

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    1. Ah yes, good question. I think it's rated PG because of the "violence" which isn't bloody, obviously, but is intense in it's own way. A character we like dies, another is tortured, but it's all handled in a light hearted, comedic way. I think it's intended for older kids, teens, and adults, but I plan to let my little kids see it, since they're all Lego nuts.

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    2. Lego mania hit our house this year with fervor! I appreciate your reviews.

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  3. We took our 3.5 year old (and 22 month old, but she fell asleep). He loved it, and he is still talking about it. He wants to see it again. Some of it went over his head, but he really liked what he processed. Definitely fine for little kids!

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    1. Awesome. Thank you. I hate "wasting" a movie ticket since they are so expensive here.

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  4. Just wanted to let you know that we FINALLY got around to seeing this movie (yay red box coupon!) and we picked it pretty much only on your recommendation. And I loved it! All the big kids loved it (4, 6, 12) and even my husband liked it. His favorite was "Nineteen Eighty-Something Spaceman" too :) I love kids' movies that throw in enough cleverness, discrete humor, and real plot to keep the parents' interest. You're right that it's way more flashy than movies we typically let the kids watch but it was definitely a good movie for the 6+ crowd especially.

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