Hot Take: More fun than The LEGO Batman Movie. Same vibe, though.
Sophomoric humor, goofy LEGO action and a silly soundtrack are the threads that tie the three LEGO movies together. The latest — The LEGO Ninjago Movie — blends elements of The Princess Bride (the opening featuring Jackie Chan as a wise shop owner telling the story of Lloyd and Ninjago to a random boy who comes into his shop) and Star Wars (Sort of a “What If?” version of the Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker saga without really being about Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker) and the previous LEGO films. Essentially, The LEGO Ninjago Movie has established that those behind these LEGO adventures are perfectly satisfied with re-producing the preceding work and not looking to re-invent the wheel. What happens in The LEGO Ninjago Movie, though, is that it kind of works and because the story features all original characters, it feels more original than The LEGO Batman Movie which not only rips off The LEGO Movie but also borrows heavily from the Batman franchise in its attempts to satirize the work.
Where The LEGO Ninjago Movie succeeds is in keeping it not too serious and weaving a tale that is fun. It’s not the most memorable film but it never feels like this film takes itself too seriously which keeps the action and dialogue light and breezy. It’s a tad bit juvenile but, then again, it’s a movie about a popular kid’s toy… why wouldn’t it be a tad bit juvenile. At least 1,o00 kids walked out of theaters since The LEGO Ninjago Movie was released stating it was the greatest movie ever. They’re probably the same kids that do that after every movie they say but still, it says something about the movie, right?
Featuring voiceover work from Jackie Chan (as Master Wu), Dave Franco (as Lloyd), Justin Theroux (as Lloyd’s father, Lord Garmadon), Olivia Munn (Lloyd’s mom) Michael Pena, Kumail Nanjiani, Abbi Jacobson, Fred Armisen and Zach Woods (the other ninjas who fight Lord Garmadon with Lloyd) and cameos by Robin Roberts and Michael Strahan as themselves, The LEGO Ninjago Movie’s most memorable character has no voice at all — Meowthra! Meowthra is The Ultimate Weapon and it is unleashed on the city of Ninjago by Lloyd by aiming a laser pointer at the city which attracts the real life cat known as Meowthra. The visual blend of LEGOs and a cat destroying LEGO buildings and eating LEGO people works for some pretty solid laughs and because of the film’s frenetic pace, never seems to overstay it’s welcome.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie is an easy one to decipher when it comes to whether or not you will enjoy your experience. If you’re completely bought into the first two films, this one is not much of a downgrade from the original and pretty much on par with The LEGO Batman Movie which released earlier this year. If you set your expectations to “kid’s stuff”, you’ll enhance your moviegoing experience even more. If you expect anything more than that from seeing The LEGO Ninjago Movie, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
My personal feeling is every movie should have a cat. So far, Meowthra might be the movie cat of the year.
- The LEGO Action Continues to Be Top Notch
Even if you’re not a fan of the film, you have to be impressed by the visual work.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Too Soon?
Being released this close to The LEGO Batman Movie isn’t helpful. These LEGO films need some distance between themselves to remain fresh.
- Writing By Committee Never Translates Well
The film has 8 writers credited and it’s evident in the finished product.