Like all kid movies, the Lego Movie has been highly anticipated. Its stellar combination of CGI, stop-motion, and 3-D option make it a visual bonanza. But this Lego Movie isn’t putting out all the stops for the kids; it is really an experience for adults. The Lego Movie marks the next big animated feature to be released since Wreck It Ralph in 2012. Both movies received positive critical acclaim, although the Lego Movie was just officially released in theaters.
The most entertaining aspect of the new kid movies these days is the use double entendre. The most obvious example of kid movies being made for adults is in 1995, with Pixar’s Toy Story. Not only was Toy Story the world’s first computer graphic animated film, it was written in part by dark humor writer Joss Whedon. It would be unlikely that the creator of the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer could resist inserting a little adult humor. Luckily, it paid off. Some of the memorable adult moments in the film include the image of a Barbie doll with a fishing rod head, the Barbie is known as a “Hooker.”
In another scene, the toys reference The Exorcist when Woody turns his head 360 degrees. Children watching the film would not have enjoyed these moments as much as their adult counter-parts sitting in the theater. The ability to integrate adult humor seamlessly into a child-friendly story is necessary to succeed at the box office. In fact rule of thumb for screenwriting is to write a story that an 8-year-old can comprehend. Afterwards, adult content can be layered on. The creators of the Lego Movie have capitalized on kid movie making science.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) reviews all film content and provides it a rating. In the past, kid movies have been associated with a General Audience (GA) rating, which is the least restricted of all ratings. However these days, wildly successful animated films like Wreck It Ralph, Up, and Despicable Me (1 & 2), have receiver a Parental Guidance (PG) rating. Parental guidance is described by the MPAA is featuring intense or adult content and themes, though images of drug use is not included. The highest grossing animated film to date is Shrek 2, which is PG-rated and grossed over $441 million at the box office. When Mike Myers is involved in producing a kid movie, it is likely that he will also be making it for adults. In fact the PG rating forces parents or adult guardian to be present with a child for the movie, which forces a boost in ticket sales.
So far the Lego Movie has received majority positive reviews. However one critic has noted that the movie may be too intense for young children. He advises parents that children under the age of 9 should be prohibited from watching. The reason is that the Lego Movie features images of toys being tortured and cars shot to the point of explosion. While Toy Story featured similar violent content, perhaps the combination of CGI, stop-motion, and 3-D add to the movie’s intensity. Regardless of the Lego Movie’s kid aim, it is really destined to be an as entertaining for adults.
By Victoria Chuidian