Australian Council on Children and the Media

Lego Movie, The

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Not recommended under 5, parental guidance 5-8 (Violence)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Lego Movie, The
  • a review of Lego Movie, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 2 April 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes. The plot may be confusing or uninteresting for this age group
Children aged 5 to 8 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 8 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Lego Movie, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild animated violence and crude humour
Length 101 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Lego Movie is an animated movie featuring popular Lego figures, such as Batman, Superman, Gandalf and Superwoman.  The movie is based around an epic battle of good versus evil.  It begins with the evil Lord Business (voiced by Will Ferrell) intent on dominating the Lego universe with his plan to freeze all Lego pieces with his deadly ‘Kragle’ substance.  Master Builder Lord Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) knows that if he can find the ‘Piece of Resistance’ he will be able to stop the ‘Kragle’ from destroying the Lego world.  However after the ‘Piece of Resistance’ is lost from him he has a vision, that one day a yellow-faced man, ‘the Special’, will find it and defeat Lord Business. 

Meanwhile, in the current-day Lego world, an ordinary Lego man named Emmet (Chris Pratt) unsuspectingly stumbles upon the ‘Piece of Resistance’ one day at work.  The Master Builder Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) observes Emmet with the Piece of Resistance and assumes he is ‘the Special’ that Lord Vitruvius visioned – the one destined to save them.  Together Wyldstyle and Lord Vitruvius follow Emmet, believing in his ability to defeat the evil Lord Business and his followers led by Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) before they destroy all of the Lego lands. 

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Good versus evil; family relationships; some reference to torture

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is quite a lot of violence in this movie, all depicted through the use of Lego pieces.  Examples include;

  • A Lego man is kicked off a cliff and falls through a tunnel with spikes
  • A Lego piece is threatened with being melted in a machine
  • In a shoot out, pieces are shot and fall to the ground
  • Lego lands are destroyed and pieces are seen falling apart
  • References to torture machines where Lego men’s minds are read for building instructions
  • A Lego man’s parents are frozen by superglue in front of him
  • A Lego man is thrown against a glass window repeatedly
  • A Lego man has his faced rubbed out with nail polish remover
  • Emmet is stood on by the real life boy, but is not hurt
  • A Lego shark bites a Lego man
  • Lord Vitruvius is seen to die.  A Lego ghost that replaces him
  • The hero Emmet falls from a large Lego building, through a dark hole and is assumed to be missing. 

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, children of this age may be most concerned with seeing a variety of Lego pieces damaged or broken throughout the duration of the movie.  Children are likely to become attached to certain characters and find their demise or torture upsetting. 

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • There is a scene where human characters are depicted.  A boy is playing in the basement with his Lego and a dark shadow is seen at the top of the stairs.  The young boy looks at the shadow and seems to be frightened.  The shadow enters the basement and is identified as the boy’s father; however he speaks and looks like the evil Lord Business.  The scene ends with the father seeing the error of his ways and embracing the boy warmly.
  • Children sensitive to bullying may be worried by a scene where Emmet’s friends taunt him and he appears upset.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

The whole movie is a promotion for the Lego brand. The Lego shown throughout the movie includes older themed Lego and new Lego which is available for purchase.

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity in this movie, including:

  • There are multiple references to a ‘Pantless Man’ game show.  It shows a Lego piece without any pants on and an audience laughing at the man.

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

There is some coarse language that children may imitate, including:

  • bum; stupid; butt; dang

In a nutshell

The Lego Movie is an animated film based on, and promoting, the well known Lego construction toys. Some parents may have concerns about this very obvious promotion of a brand to their children.

Very young children, although they would recognise the toys, are likely to find the plot uninteresting or confusing. Younger children may be upset to see favourite characters in the film injured or destroyed, there is a tense scene involving a human boy and his demanding father and there is also reference to torture. The film is therefore not recommended for under fives, with parental guidance recommended for five to eight year olds.

The main message from this movie is that everyone is special if they just believe in themselves and their own special abilities. Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include loyalty and friendship

Parents of older children may wish to discuss why the father placed such importance on the Lego construction being perfect rather than playing with his son?  What lesson did the father (and Lord Business) learn in the end?

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