One of the most popular and highest rated films of 2014, The Lego Movie, has entertained billions of viewers in the past year. Although it has already proven itself to be a favorite of adults, The Lego Movie’s targeted audience is children who will identify with the imaginative and fun characters that take the form of their favorite building toys. Such a strong platform that provides excellent age appropriate entertainment to the world’s most impressionable generation gives The Lego Movie a prime opportunity to communicate to children in an unusually powerful way. For decades, researchers have explored the way entertainment media influences children’s view of their world. It will not be too long until concerned moviewatchers and parents begin to wonder exactly what message The Lego Movie communicates to the children it is so intentionally geared towards. The Lego Movie’s script is fairly clear as to its desire to teach children the value of their own individuality and creativity. But the script is not the only factor that contributes to how children are likely to find meaning in entertainment such as The Lego Movie. The text of the film denounces big business that dominates influential industries and exploits consumer culture, but The Lego Movie in itself might be the largest example of product placement advertising in film history. The film’s protagonists urge the audience to be creative, thoughtful individuals who are not fooled by consumerism’s “one size fits all” facade, but the implication of the brand’s usage is that in order to be a creative individual, every child should buy Lego products. In the following pages, I will explore evidence from various sources to discover exactly what message is truly being portrayed from this beloved film and what children really learn through engaging The Lego Movie as a piece of popular entertainment. Taking all things into consideration, I shall argue that context wins over text in children’s entertainment such as The Lego Movie. Although The Lego Movie displays a message of individualism and creativity, when the marketing advantages and subtle ironies found within its script are examined through the ways by which children find meaning in entertainment media, the film is seen to communicate a message that encourages consumer culture more than it does individuality and creativity. The subtle implications of the film can be potentially unhealthy to children’s view of popular entertainment, themselves, and their role in their world. Nevertheless, popular films like The Lego Movie can still be a helpful tool for parents to use in teaching children how to correctly address consumer culture and its influence on their thinking.
The Lego Movie, Children's Films, Children's Entertainment, Product Placement, Child Development, Lego, Children in Media, Marketing, Creative Learning
Treece, Jordan, "The Double-Sided Message of The Lego Movie: The Effects of Popular Entertainment on Children in Consumer Culture" (2015). English Seminar Capstone Research Papers. 28.
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