Movies: The LEGO Ninjago Movie

Voices By: Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Fred Armisen
Directed By: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan
Written By: Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern, John Whittington (screenplay); 7 other people, except a few are the same people (story)
Warner Bros., 2017
PG; 101 minutes
4.25 stars (out of 5)


So on the LEGO movie spectrum, I liked this one almost as much as The LEGO Movie and quite a bit more than The LEGO Batman Movie.

Dave Franco voices Lloyd Garmadon, son of the world's greatest villain. Lloyd has just turned 16, and he's hated by pretty much everyone simply because his dad is the worst. Of course, Lloyd is secretly one of the Ninjas that defend the city every time Garmadon (Justin Theroux) attacks. It's a sweet gig but Lloyd is naturally conflicted. He longs to have a father-son relationship, but how is that possible when his dad (a) left when he was a baby, and (b) is an evil tyrant?

During a particularly vicious battle between the Ninjas and Garmadon's army, Lloyd takes the nigh unforgivable step of using The Ultimate Weapon. It only makes things worse and hands Garmadon a victory. So Lloyd must go in search of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon to make things right again.

The story is simplistic and predictable, but there's enough humor to keep things going. Jackie Chan is a natural as the voice of Master Wu, who also happens to be Lloyd's uncle and Garmadon's brother. A live-action frame story featuring Chan as the proprietor of a cluttered shop is also very cute, if stereotypical.

I do feel like there could have been more in-depth introductions to the other Ninjas. I've never watched the television show, so maybe that's something I'm already supposed to be familiar with. And I get that this is a kids' movie and character development isn't necessarily a focus. But it just seems to me that they could have done a wee bit more there. (This may be a bi-product of writing by committee.)

But overall, a cute movie, and my kids really enjoyed it, which was kind of the point. The fact that I liked it as much as I did is a bonus.

No comments: