The LEGO Ninjago Movie Adds Heart to the Hoopla
When The LEGO Movie debuted its first in a film franchise in 2014, people were pleasantly surprised. “The movie is a wonderful surprise, cleverly written and executed brick by brick with a visual panache,” said the San Francisco Chronicle, echoing the views of the 96% of critics who cited the flick as Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. The next one, The LEGO Batman Movie, fared almost as well earlier this year. And now, The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017) could be third-time lucky.
Featuring the vocal talents of Jackie Chan, Olivia Munn, Justin Theroux, and Dave Franco, this kicky adventure follows an epic battle for Ninjago City island. Young Master Builder Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja, along with his Ninja warrior friends, join forces with Master Wu, as wise-cracking as he is wise, in order to defeat evil warlord Garmadon, The Worst Guy Ever (who just happens to be Lloyd’s absentee dad). Pitting mech-against-mech and father-against-son, the showdown will test this passionate but undisciplined team of modern-day ninjas. Will they learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash their inner power of Spinjitzu, or will the Ninjago City play into evil hands?
The LEGO Ninjago Movie is almost as fun and irreverent as the previous installments in this click-together build-a-world of corporate animation. Well, mostly animated… Chan shows up in a live-action bookend, playing the owner of an exotic antique store. There’s also a real cat portraying Meowthra, a gargantuan kaiju with paws of mass destruction – any kid (and former kid) will be able to relate to the feeling of panic when seeing a seemingly harmless house-pet making a beeline for a carefully-constructed city or doll house.
Like some of the best sci-fi, there’s a heart to the hoopla. Think Luke and Darth Vader in Star Wars, or even Batman and his dad in The LEGO Batman Movie. When Lloyd tells Lord Garmadon that he ruined his life, to which the evil warlord responds: “How could I ruin your life? I wasn’t even there.” This may open up some avenue of discussion for kids living in single-parent households. However, some of the sentiment feels forced; the movie is better when it’s chasing dragons and going full-out on the fight scenes.
All in all, The LEGO Ninjago Movie is entertaining and fast-paced.
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