Three days at Legoland taught me that when given a choice to build ANYTHING, boys usually build guns. Every night, boys big and little would storm the castle (literally, there’s a castle in the middle of the lobby) armed to the hilt with their self-made Lego weaponry. While psychologists and sociologists may analyze this observation in many ways, my takeaway is this: where’s the imagination? In a room with an endless supply of interlocking bricks, most boys build the same item?
Of course, this one item permeates our culture from movies to news, so we can hardly blame kids for picking up on that. But this article isn’t an outcry against the item they built, rather that maybe, just maybe, our movies aren’t the harbinger of imagination that they could be. One of cinema’s greatest accomplishments is its ability to unlock our brains by providing the opportunity to shift perspective, to learn, to grow, to feel a spectrum of emotions, to relate, to empathize and most importantly, to imagine. Family films are great at entertaining and delivering positive messages, but maybe it’s been overlooking one key element to childhood: encouraging kids to make up their own worlds.
I may not have drawn this conclusion if I hadn’t seen, ironically, The Lego Movie. The Lego Movie is a feat in family filmmaking on many fronts, but particularly how it encourages kids to trust their own minds, creativity and abilities. The Lego Movie actually unleashes the viewer’s imagination and ignites the desire to go play, unencumbered by rules and expectations and even the very instruction books that Lego provides in every kit. I’m rooting that every family will see The Lego Movie in the hope that next time I visit Legoland, I’ll see new imaginative creations like a plurgiggy or a snarmelish – anything but a colorful interlocking brick gun.
Here are three other films to see with your family this weekend:
Vampire Academy. Teen girls love vampires, and this film looks to be a girl-power version of HBO’s True Blood; PG-13 sexier and more violent than parents may anticipate.
The Monuments Men. For some teens, art history is a huge yawn. George Clooney, Matt Damon and Bill Murray prove art is not only important, it’s manly!
What do your kids think about these films? Have them tell the world by writing a review at KidsPickFlicks.com, where all kids are movie critics.