- 29 Dec - 04 Jan, 2019
The Lego Ninjago Movie
- 18 Nov - 24 Nov, 2017
Lego has always had a strong identity, even in its toy days. One was always limited to the scale of their imagination and playsets, but not much else. The same goes for Lego’s television and screen ventures. The Lego Movie and film franchises have a typical tempo and ambience to them; they are comically dense with gags and pop culture references that tickle any adult viewers’ brains, while giving off bright energy-filled visuals for the younger crowd.
The aspect has worked wonders in The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie. In comparison, The Lego Ninjago Movie has big shoes to fill. Even though having good enough features, it somewhat pales in comparison to the last two films.
The story starts in live action world inside an Asian antique shop. The owner (Jackie Chan) tells a young boy a story about another boy named, Lloyd. Cut to the CG world: Lloyd (Dave Franco) is a forlorn teen, who, apart from his mother (Olivia Munn) and his friends (Michael Peña, Kumail Nanjiani, Zach Woods, Fred Armisen and Abbi Jacobson), is ostracised by everyone in the city of Ninjago.
He is hated because of his father, who is no other than Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux) – the evil man who tries to destroy Ninjago almost every day.
Lord Garmadon’s attempts of taking over the city are never successful because of the elite Power Rangers-like group called the Secret Ninja Force, who have their own colour-coded fighting robots to fight Lord Garmadon. No one gets cookie points for guessing that Lloyd and his friends are the Secret Ninja Force. They are trained and mentored by Master Wu (voiced by Jackie Chan) who is also Lloyd’s uncle and Lord Garmadon’s brother.
Lloyd wants validation from his father, and Garmadon just wants to take over the city and defeat the Ninja Force. Soon, though, the Ninja Force is taken out by a giant house cat called force, To defeat the evil Meowthra, the Ninjas have to go on a perilous journey with Lord Garmadon at their heels.
Things are okay with Ninjago, and maybe we had too many Lego movies in a short span of time to actually appreciate the film. The content and the visual uniqueness of the Lego world also seems somewhat deflated. The jokes are still in abundance and animation looks dazzlingly realistic. What it lacks is the freshness. It is too familiar and predictable, which for the kids won’t make any difference, as it is still bright and blaring. At the end it’s a banal addition to the Lego world.
Written by Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern and John Whittington, and directed by Charlie Bean (with Fisher and Logan also co-directing), the team keeps up the momentum and manic, quirky humour till the end. Meowthra is hilarious as well as Lord Garmadon’s insistence that Lloyd be called Lah-lyod (he knows best; he had named him after all).
Coming to good things about The Lego Ninjago, Lord Garmadon is one who stands out. He has everything that I like and remember about Lego movies, beside pop culture references. As a character, he is unapologetically brash, delusional to everything but himself and his agenda (similar to Lego Batman). Jackie Chan as a voice actor, shines as well, but unfortunately, he is used as a gimmick. •
Things are okay with Ninjago, and maybe we had too many Lego movies in a short span of time to actually appreciate the film. The content and the visual uniqueness of the Lego world also seems somewhat deflated. The jokes are still in abundance and animation looks dazzlingly realistic. What it lacks is the freshness. It is too familiar and predictable, which for the kids won’t make any difference, as it is still bright and blaring.