What it's about:
The battle for Ninjago City calls to action young Master Builder Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja, along with his friends, who are all secret ninja warriors. Led by Master Wu, as wise as he is wisecracking, they must defeat evil warlord Garmadon, The Worst Guy Ever, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad. Pitting mech against mech and father against son, the epic showdown will test this fierce but undisciplined team of modern-day ninjas, who must learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash their inner power of Spinjitzu.
What we thought:
When I was offered the chance to preview the Lego Ninjago movie I jumped at it, because of two things: my love for the TV show and my admiration for the Lego Movie and its follow-ups. The combination of these two kickass worlds is the stuff of dreams for (a little bit of) a geek like me and after seeing the finished product I have to say that I was not disappointed.
The three directors, Charlie Bean; Paul Fisher and Bob Logan manage to pull together a star-filled cast that have great chemistry that bounces off the screen at you. The script is definitely aimed at a younger audience than previous Lego films but as always it still works on multiple levels. Not everyone feels the way about the movie that I do though, it hasn’t reached the box office heights of its predecessors and some critics haven’t been that impressed when comparing it to The Lego Movie or the Lego Batman Movie. Some say the formula isn’t clicking like it used to and that the script is too thin despite solid voice performances. That this piece of the Lego set of movies doesn’t quite fit.
Having watched both those films I have to disagree in that regard. I think it’s one of the most fun experiences you’ll have in a cinema this year. It was written to make you laugh out loud at a million different things. There are explosions, heartbreak and even a cute cat.
Being an avid watcher of the TV show I think it does its source material right in terms of tone and overall feel. James Franco as Lloyd is a hero that can carry a film; Kumail Nanjiani is hilarious as Jay and Abbi Jacobson (who is amazing on Broad City) plays a perfectly self-sufficient Nya.
I did however feel that the movie was too long and could maybe do with another, more stringent edit. There are lots of moments where I felt it could have been tighter. I also felt that the script sometimes went off course a little. Meaning that it took the story a while to get going, I understand that we needed context and foreshadowing but perhaps we could have done with less, especially since this is geared towards a younger audience that might struggle to sit still and hopefully know the show. I think to call it thin is an unfair critique because it never claimed to be an exposition of the human condition but an animated film geared towards people who have watched the show.
If you’re looking for an animated film that changes your outlook on life like Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out did for me, than I don’t think this light-hearted film with the hint of a deeper message is the one for you. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and it doesn’t expect you to either. It doesn’t even take itself as seriously as the TV takes itself. It’s mostly silly and has a laugh waiting for you every few moments.
I know a lot of people will be forced to and go and watch this film by their children, but they shouldn’t be surprised if they end up enjoying it. It’s a good fun night out for the whole family, well worth the cost of admission.