Sunday, September 24, 2017

Movie Review: The Lego Ninjago Movie

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Laughs, good message
Cons: Plot is disjointed
The Bottom Line:
Saving the city
Ninjas vs. evil dad
Plot could be stronger

Not Built to the Level of Previous Lego Movies

Since I’m not generally into Ninja movies or stories, I originally planned to skip The LegoNinjago Movie.   But then I started watching the previews and laughing.  Considering I enjoyed the previous Lego movies, I decided to give it a try.  I found it amusing, but not as good as I’d hoped.

We meet Lloyd (voiced by Dave Franco) on his sixteenth birthday.  For him, high school is rougher than for most teens.  You see, his dad is the evil Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux) who regularly tries to take over their city, Ninjago.  You can see how this would create some issues for Lloyd.  Even though he’s never met his dad, everyone resents him for who his father.  But what no one knows is that Lloyd and his few friends are the Ninjas who defend the city when Garmadon attacks.

Lloyd’s birthday is no different from any other day – Garmadon attacks.  But after this defeat, Garmadon vows to come back even stronger.  Meanwhile, Lloyd learns about the presence of The Ultimate Weapon from his trainer, Master Wu (Jackie Chan).  Will this defeat Garmadon once and for all?  Or will it create more problems for Ninjago?  And will Lloyd ever deal with his feelings for his father?

The story has some good potential, right?  Okay, so it’s nothing very original, but it could be fun.  Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work as well as it should.  I think it’s partially because the plot doesn’t quite feel connected.  Elements are introduced out of nowhere.  They wind up working, but it’s a bit jarring.

Of course, it might help if I were a fan of Ninja movies.  I can’t get into them, so the things they were spoofing often went over my head.

However, that isn’t to say I didn’t laugh.  While I will admit the best jokes are in the previews (and we get some things in the previews that are cut out of the film), there were still some great moments and lines in the film.  And I certainly did like the ultimate message of the film, as well.  That’s something all of the Lego movies have gotten right.

Likewise, the cast did a great job.  Jackie Chan is the only actor I’m super familiar with, but that just helped me get into the story here since I wasn’t listening for voices I know.  Speaking of Jackie Chan, he stars in a live action wrap around as a shopkeeper who tells the story to a boy.

The animation is in keeping with the rest of Lego movies.  It’s good, and it fits with a story about plastic bricks.  Heck, there are some fun gags featuring Legos, as is always the case.

There are definitely parts of The Lego Ninjago Movie that are fun, but overall it doesn’t hold together as well as I hoped it would.  If you want to watch it, I would definitely recommend it.  There’s just no reason to rush out and see it.

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