The LEGO Movie

  • Review Date: February 7, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Hilarious toy tale plugs product but is nonstop fun.
  • Review Date: February 7, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

This is an entertaining film not an educational one, but kids will still learn about various LEGO characters, pieces, and instructions.

Positive messages

Though the message doesn't come until the end, the importance of play, creativity, and parent-child togetherness is a big takeaway. Also, that you can be extraordinary if you believe in yourself and take action. There are some deeper messages about how bland aspects of popular culture are, when everyone sees the same shows, listens to the same songs, and drinks the same expensive coffee. Teamwork is another positive theme.

Positive role models

Vitruvius guides and encourages Emmet and leads all of the Master Builders. Like many other reluctant heroes, Emmet is hesitant to believe he can do anything helpful until he believes in himself (but he's always really positive and upbeat). Wyldstyle learns to have confidence in Emmet and be herself, not just her persona as a tough girl.

Violence & scariness

Lots and lots of LEGO action and peril, including gunfire and explosions, but all are depicted with LEGO pieces. LEGO characters are "beheaded," erased with nail-polish remover, super-glued in place, kidnapped, captured, and "tortured" (their minds are probed for building instructions).

Sexy stuff

Emmet has a crush on Wyldstyle, who is dating Batman. Some intense gazes are followed by hand (claw?) holding.

Language

"Dang it," "darn," "rubbish," "what the heck," "stupid," are all said infrequently.

Consumerism

It's a movie about LEGO characters, many of which are merchandise tie-ins to movies, comics, and books, like Batman, Gandalf, Dumbledore, Superman, Green Lantern, Han Solo, Lando, and Wonder Woman. All of the new characters are also available in various LEGO kits and minifigures.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Just "overpriced coffee."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The LEGO Movie is an action-packed animated family-friendly adventure following original and existing LEGO characters. Featuring an all-star voice cast and some of the brand's most popular figures (Batman, Superman, Gandalf, Wonder Woman, etc.), the inventive movie should appeal to all ages, from young Duplo players to teens who consider themselves Master Builders. Although there's nothing overly objectionable (a few mild exclamations like "dang," "heck," "stupid," and "darn"), there's definitely a lot of action and peril, plus quite a bit of violence with the villain's security forces shooting at the good guys, and a character getting "beheaded" (since minifig heads pop off) or erased (with nail polish remover). Kids will love seeing some of their favorite minifigures come to life, but of course they'll probably ask for the tie-in LEGO kits after the movie.

Parents say

What's the story?

THE LEGO MOVIE opens with the legendary battle between evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) and noble Master Builder Lord Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman). Lord Business plans to dominate the entire LEGO universe with a deadly weapon called the Kragle, but Vitruvius has a vision that a yellow-faced someone, the Special, will defeat the villainous Lord Business with the missing "piece of resistance." Years later, completely ordinary construction worker Emmet (Chris Pratt) spies a suspicious figure (Wyldstyle, voiced by Elizabeth Banks) on the construction site and, while following her, ends up finding the legendary red piece of resistance. Wyldstyle believes Emmet to be the Special and takes him to Vitruvius, but they soon realize he's more of a nice-guy rule follower than a visionary Master Builder. As Business and his cronies, led by a ruthless Bad Cop (Liam Neeson), attempt to steal the piece of resistance, Emmet must discover whether he has what it takes to be the Special and save LEGO kind.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Movies based on toys aren’t ever this good, and it's a testament to the veteran animation filmmakers that The LEGO Movie is so smart, humorous, and visually fun to watch. The perfect cast of voice actors completely embodies their LEGO counterparts: Pratt's adorable earnestness is legendary to any Parks and Recreation fan; Banks is a go-to girl-power voice; Arnett sounds exactly like Michael Keaton's Batman; and Freeman, Neeson, and Ferrell are master voice actors. But it's not just your typical animated adventure; there are real messages and sophisticated criticisms of popular culture and consumerism (rather subversive -- or very, very smart -- for a movie tied to a multi-billion-dollar toy company).

Like Luke Skywalker or Harry Potter or Neo, Emmet embarks on the archetypal hero's journey -– complete with his own mystical guide (Vitruvius), intelligent and fierce love interest (Wyldstyle), and larger than life nemesis (Business). Along the way, Emmet bumps into a cadre of hilariously depicted minifigures, from superheroes to historical legends, like Shakespeare and Lincoln. The story contains various brilliant cameos, laugh-aloud one liners, and a live-action interlude that is surprisingly touching. Families with kids of all ages will love this reminder of the joy of playing and laughing together.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about movies based on toys. How does this one compare to the others, like Barbie or Transformers films? Does it make you want to get the LEGO characters portrayed in the movie?

  • The movie pokes fun at aspects of popular culture, like dumbed-down TV comedies, catchy pop songs, and overpriced coffee. What do you think the filmmakers are trying to say?

  • How can we all apply Vitruvius' lesson that everyone is special if we believe in our own talents and abilities?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 7, 2014
DVD release date:June 17, 2014
Cast:Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett
Directors:Christopher Miller, Phil Lord
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:mild action and rude humor

This review of The LEGO Movie was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous April 7, 2014
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

One of my favorites.

This is one of my favorite movies. It's so funny. Though, there's some scary scenes too. I actually almost cried when Emmett almost died. Overall cool movie!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much consumerism
Parent of a 2 year old Written byThrillhouse February 8, 2014
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

A PG-13 action movie masquerading as a kids' film

Common Sense Media gave this thing 1 out of 5 on violence?! It's why I saw this thing, and why I so regret it now. This is a good, entertaining movie for adults and older kids, but it's essentially your usual PG-13 summer action blockbuster done with kids' blocks, which means relentless death and destruction. Would you take little kids' to see the newest Transformers or Pirates of the Caribbean movie? Because The Lego Movie contains an even wider and wilder orgy of violence than those. I honestly bet that all 19 of those movies combined have less "action" screen time than The Lego Movie, which is essentially one action montage after another. Characters are CONSTANTLY punching, shooting, chopping, exploding, crushing, blasting, decapitating, impaling, freezing, and killing each other in this thing. How about several intense scenes of torture, where heroes are trapped in punishing devices, fearful for the unknown pain of what's coming next? To show that the villain of this movie is so evil, he takes the peaceful mommy and daddy of his own FRIEND, and murders them before the son's eyes (by gluing them stiff.) How about the protagonist (nobly) committing suicide in the finale of the film? Aren't these great lessons for your young one? And it's not just that these things happen in the movie either - it's that they're played, scored, shot, edited and "acted" as if it's a full-grown adult movie (dark music, agonizing tension, characters screaming or crying in pain and confusion.) Older viewers will get the satire, but not little kids. Our theater's under-6 crowd was not exploding with laughter or cheering throughout this film, as they were likely too busy silently deciphering the insanity before them. Oh wait, there's no blood, and they're just toy blocks, so whatevs. And don't worry, small children, the hero and parents eventually come back (but not the decapitated wizard, he is now a ghost forever.) I even thought it would be a neat treat for my kid to finally see Batman in action. But then the film makes him a weird, self-absorbed jerk. And the advertised appearances of DC superheroes, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc. are all the puniest of cameos, except for Batman, who is a death-metal-loving, girlfriend-betraying bully throughout the flick. A PG-13 might be a bit much, but this is easily the hardest and darkest PG movie I've ever seen.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 3 and 6 year old Written byJVidaver March 16, 2014
AGE
8
QUALITY
 
We took our 6 and 3 year old Lego loving boys to see this movie after friends said "you have to see this one!" I regret doing so. My 6 year old who typically seeks out action packed movies with fighting/battles was scared or sad throughout much of the film. Who knew that lego minifigures could be so menacing! ? The story can be hard to follow at times for little ones. The humor and references are clearly for the grown ups who did most of the laughing at this film. The ending softens the film a bit and salvaged the film for my 6 year old. However, If you have sensitive kids you may want to think twice about this one. There is a positive message but the violence overcomes it in my book.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of an infant, 2, 4, and 6 year old Written bysci-fi-mom February 17, 2014
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Great for adults and older kids, scary for 6 and unders

I took my 6-year old and 4-year old boys, both of whom are obsessed with Legos (mostly Lego City sets and their own creations). They are rough and tumble kids, but a bit sensitive to dark movies. We hadn't realized from the reviews that this one would be so scary. Within 10-15 minutes, the 4-year old was in my arms with his head buried in my chest. The 6-year old was similarly distressed but opted not to leave early when I offered. I guessed the twist and whispered it to them early, but they didn't relax until it actually happened. All in all, I thought the movie was great, but I wished I'd gone alone and waited a few years before showing it to the kids.

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