Posted: Feb 10, 2014 12:00 PM
My 6-year-old has been counting down the days since we first saw The LEGO Movie preview back in August. As we settled into our seats on opening day, I worried that the film couldn't possibly live up to his expectations. Little did I know they would not only surpass his, but also my own as the movie seemed to address a solution for recent criticism the company has received.

Spoiler alert!

If you haven't seen the movie yet I'm warning you now that my article is rife with spoilers. So, I highly suggest you stop reading, go see the movie and then come back and continue reading, of course...

Without giving a complete scene-by-scene rundown, the movie follows Emmet, a LEGO construction worker who follows the rules of life by the book — literally. He follows the "instructions" of life to a tee. We soon learn poor Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt of Parks and Recreation), as sweet as he is, doesn't have a single original thought of his own and he's simply lost without his instructions. Oh, and the world as they know it is now depending on him as evil "Lord Business" (disguised as President Business in Emmet's town, Bricksburg) is set to destroy the city with his Kragle. See, President Business simply can't stand the disarray that in his mind ensues when the town (and outside realms) don't run by the book so he's decided to freeze the city, and all its inhabitants. Later, Lord Business' human identity is revealed as an over-obsessed father (played by Will Ferrell) who doesn't want his son Finn messing up his perfectly constructed by-the-book LEGO displays.

However, I think Lord Business is representative of the LEGO company itself. Perhaps it's the company's way of telling its audience of disapproving parents that believe LEGO sets, complete with step-by-step instruction books and specifically built pieces, discourage kids from using their own creativity, that they get the message and they, too, want kids to use their imaginations when playing with LEGOs. Does that mean the LEGO company is going to stop selling their themed-kits complete with instructions and return to simply selling bins of primary-colored blocks? I highly doubt it and am certain the store shelves will soon be filled with Middle Zealand and Cloud Cuckoo Land-themed sets. Beyond the message for parents, however, The LEGO Movie had some completely hilarious and heartfelt moments.

Obvious lessons

The point, of course, is to encourage kids to use their imaginations versus the instructions to create their own unique LEGO creations even if they seem a little strange.

Though hardly anyone believes in him, Emmet, under the pressure to save the world as he's thought to be the "special" one who can save them all with the "piece of resistance," starts coming up with completely outside of the box (or beyond the instruction booklet, rather) that seem a bit weird or even "dumb." But — lo and behold — they work! The point, of course, is to encourage kids to use their imaginations versus the instructions to create their own unique LEGO creations even if they seem a little strange.

Everything is awesome

All in all, I thought the movie was adorable and whether the movie is trying to convey a message to parents to allow their kids to play without worrying about things being "perfect" or it's addressing the concerns that parents have about LEGO toys, it packs in a lot of real content for parents while also presenting nonstop fun and entertainment for the kids. Oh, and I just can't get that catchy little theme song, "Everything is Awesome," out of my head.

More on LEGOS, creativity and more

Are blocks just for boys?
Expand imaginations with make-believe play
Ways to incorporate learning into play

Image credit: IMDB