I went to see The Lego Movie with my 7 year old son. I didn't have high expectations, but thought it would be an enjoyable if not cerebrally-engaging experience. I was wrong. It is a highly enjoyable, but surprisingly intelligent, film.
Living in a 1984-esque world, Emmet Brickowoski is a normal construction worker who follows all the rules. And the city he lives in is full of rules - what to say; what to eat and drink; what music to like; what to wear. Everything is built by following the instructions- and anything that doesn't follow the rules is destroyed. President Business oversees this dystopian place. The president is terrified of anything or anyone that's different or original or creative. So terrified that he has a nasty plan up his sleeve...
One day Emmet stumbles upon something that will save the world as well as change it forever, and he is thrown into an underground full of rule-breakers, creative thinkers and those who just don't fit in - the master builders. But he's not popular, at least at first. The problem is that he has never had one original idea. That soon changes though, and he turns out to be a real hero.
I love the references to Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and The Matrix- amongst many others.
On a more basic level, the movie tells kids that it's ok to not always follow the instructions when building with Lego. All kits seems to be so prescriptive these days - you make the car or spaceship or whatever, but then what? Break it apart and do the same again? When I was young we just had a load of bricks, no instructions, and made what we liked. One of the heroes in the film is a 1980's astronaut, which I liked, as most of the parents taking their kids to see this movie will have played with similar.
Of course, this is a film for kids, so there is lots of silly humour (including a few references to butts) and explosions and action. My son loved it, but in a very different way from how I did.
And as a marketing tool - genius.