On Friday night, with our obligatory $5 bag of popcorn in hand, we settled into the back row of the theater, which my seven-year-old thinks are the very best seats.
We were there — along with the rest of the packed theater — to see the LEGO Movie.
Prior to going, I had watched the trailer and had heard from my son how very awesome the movie was going to be. I was excited to be there with him on opening night and had an open mind about the movie, which I’ll admit would not be one I would see if it weren’t for the gentle prodding of my son for weeks leading up to the release.
Over the years, my beloved son has helped me to stretch out of my comfort zone with his love for video games and all things “shooting.” A couple of weeks ago, while visiting Dave and Buster’s, I even joined him for a few rounds of a zombie shooting game, which previously I would have not allowed.
(We started with a “no shooting games” rule, which was later adapted to “no shooting humans” so a game that involves shooting ghost-like skeletons or animated robots is now on the approved list.)
Remaining conscious of the impact of violence, even animated violence, while at the same time respecting our son and his interest in being part of pop culture is a fine line – one that we are walking with great care.
And so there we were, on opening night, at the LEGO Movie and when the theater darkened and the no cell phones reminders came on, the excitement was palpable.
Everything was great. The movie was hilarious and the children’s laughter in the theater was a balm to the soul. And then about 15 minutes in, the “bad guy” entered and things got a little, shall we say, intense.
I am a Highly Sensitive Person and I realize that I experience on screen violence in a way that is more intense than the average person, but still the basic story line of the movie is Armageddon in LEGO land.
It was animated. It was LEGOs. But still, I couldn’t help but wonder why the movie had to be so violent.
Are we not yet making the connection between the diet of increasingly violent images that we are feeding our children and our distraught over the increase of violent actions taken by teenagers and young adults?
* * *
So what was my son’s take on the violence in the movie?
The next morning, I initiated a conversation about it to see how he had been affected by the hundreds of explosions and all the shooting throughout the movie.
“I was a little surprised by how violent the movie was. There was a lot of ‘blowing up’ that happened. What did you think of that?”
“Seriously, mama? It’s LEGOs. If you blow them up you just put them back together again. No big deal.”
The truth — as it often does — probably lies somewhere in the middle of “no big deal” and “way too violent” and each family will have to make a decision that is right for them, but I do think this is a conversation worth having.
Your turn. Did you see the LEGO movie this weekend? What do you think?