The Lego Ninjago Movie Review
Rating of this movie: 5/10. C+
The Lego Ninjago Movie is a spin-off of 2014’s The Lego Movie. It is the third movie based off of the plastic building bricks and the second spin-off after The Lego Batman Movie.
In general, this movie does not live up to its predecessors. The Lego Movie was a super fun, very creative, and a surprisingly touching movie. The Lego Batman Movie was a super fun, very funny, kind of touching movie. When it comes to The Lego Ninjago Movie it was a kind of fun, moderately funny, and not that touching of a movie.
One of the things I loved about The Lego Movie was that everything was made of bricks. The ground, the people, the buildings, the water, even the clouds! The Lego characters moved like actual Legos. It was a really creative movie. In The Lego Batman Movie, this style was mostly the same. Water and clouds were now actual water and clouds instead of brick built versions, and the characters moved a little less like real Legos, however it was still believable with the animation. However, with The Lego Ninjago Movie, the ground (except for the ground in the city) is not made of plastic bricks. It was real (animated) dirt. It just seemed less creative to me that everything was not made of Lego. The characters also moved in more animated ways, which is fine, but some of the “realistic” Lego properties were lost.
The story itself was okay. The past Lego Movies dealt with Emmet (the main character) trying to prove he’s more than just an average construction worker and Batman trying to get over his fear of being part of a family and opening up to a new one. The Lego Ninjago Movie dealt with Lloyd Garmadon trying to reunite with his father, who just happens to be a destructive overlord bent on taking over the land of Ninjago. Lloyd also just happens to be the leader of a secretive team of ninja that protect Ninjago from threats. The threats being: Garmadon. This story sounds good and the jokes about how terrible a father Garmadon is were humorous, but due to the main story, the other characters (Kai, Jay, Cole, Zane, and Nya) are sidelined.
The original building sets this movie is based off of (along with the animated TV show) always give the ninja equal spotlight. But, the movie really only focuses on Lloyd, leaving the other ninja as sidekicks to his adventure. Even Master Wu (played by the amazing Jackie Chan) doesn’t have a huge role in the movie (not to say he doesn’t have any role, because he does).
One of the things I really liked was an aspect they took from The Lego Movie. In the movie, Lloyd uses the Ultimate Weapon, which is a long, silver, non-Lego object. Just like The Lego Movie’s Kragle, Pole-ish Remover of Na-il, and Q-Típ, this Ultimate Weapon turns out to be a common household item. In this case, a laser pointer which summons the evil, adorable villain.
However, this movie does have a good cast. Even though the ninjas didn’t have as big of a part as they should have, their voices were undoubtedly good. Kumail Nanjiani as Jay was pretty funny. His lines usually made me laugh. Example: (talking to Lloyd about his father) “I mean, my mom is weird and collects seashells. Your dad levels cities and attacks innocent people. So… they’ve all got their quirks, ya know?” Jackie Chan was amazing as Master Wu. His voice just worked perfectly for this role. Justin Theroux as Lord Garmadon was hilarious. I haven’t seen any other pieces of Theroux’s work, so Garmadon was my first view of him. His portrayal as the worst father ever really worked. His obliviousness to Lloyd’s feelings were funny, and his backstory revealed later kind of worked.
Garmadon: Lloyd! And his friends I don’t the names of!
Jay: Hi! I’m Jay!
Garmadon: It wasn’t a question.
Overall, this movie was okay. It was not my favorite Lego movie (that still remains to be The Lego Movie) but, it does manage to give me a few laughs and some enjoyment. If you missed it in theaters, don’t be too sad, but I would recommend renting it just to see it once. The first two Lego movies were great, and even though this one wasn’t as great, I still have high hopes for The Lego Movie 2 (2019).
I really liked the character Meowthra, the giant cat that terrorizes Ninjago. Using a live-action cat was hilarious. It really made it look like the family pet just wandered into the Lego sets some kid would be playing with. The use of the laser pointer to summon it was also a really nice touch.
Another part I actually liked was live-action Jackie Chan at the beginning. This movie did something the other movies didn’t. In The Lego Movie, we find that Emmet’s entire world is on a table. The Lego Batman Movie takes place in this same universe. However, The Lego Ninjago Movie is actually a story told by Jackie Chan’s character, Mr. Liu (an old man running a trinkets shop) to a small boy struggling with what appears to be bullying. This would explain the movie’s lack of Lego ground and choice for realistic dirt and water. However, I thought it didn’t work as well as the first two Lego movies. This also explains Meowthra being a villain, since Mr. Liu was shown to despise his cat (after it scratches his hand).
The ending credits did something I didn’t think a Lego movie would do (at least not for a long time). They did an end credits scene. It was more of a mid-credits scene, but it actually kind of worked. It was a montage of bloopers from Jackie Chan’s opening scene. In the scene, the small boy accidently sends five cups flying through the air and Chan catches them all. Chan actually does catch them, it isn’t faked. But, the blooper reel shows that even though it was very impressive, it did take a few takes.