Seen September 23rd
First there was the Lego Movie, and it showed everyone that you could create a piece of art using a licenced toy that was actually good. Then came Lego Batman, which showed you coulde play around in multiple established universes and still tell your own story. Then there was Ninjago… it was a movie.
Ninjago tells the story of Lloyd, a young boy whose father is the evil Garmadon. Lloyd is secretly one of a clan of Ninja and has to constantly fight his own father (Who’s also a deadbeat dad and doesn’t even remember his sons birthday) in order to save the town of Ninjago. One of the fights goes horribly wrong and Lloyd accidentally summons Meowthra (A giant cat) and must team up with his friends and Master Wu to find the ultimate weapon to save Ninjago.
Now that sounds badass, right? Well, it’s not. It’s actually quite standard for these kinds of movies, it feels like this film had no real effort into the script. There were a few good jokes like the name of a bridge or just the giant freaking cat that keeps going around, but the film feels like they rushed it…. almost like trying to make 2 high budget Lego animated movies within a year was a bad idea because they didn’t have the time to fix this script. Some characters just feel like their character trait is “Voiced by Kumail Nanjiani”, other than that they have nothing going for them. The entire film feels a little bit like the original Power Rangers movie except the original Power Rangers movie had a much funnier villain and a lot more heart to it. This might be because the film had 6 writers, 7 people handling the story and 3 directors… spoilers, that’s never a good thing. When you see that amount of people in those three roles, be prepared for a film to feel poorly prepared.
The animation is just sloppy at times. I’m not talking about the weird stop-motion trick that they’ve faked for the last few movies, I’m talking things like some of the skins on a few of the models moving about in a close-up shot, or several shots just being reused for no reason. Lips syncs are off at the beginning when their mouths are covered, but their masks move and you can tell that they clearly changed the lines later. It’s just not as crisp and clean as the original Lego movie was… again, partially because the original Lego movie took the time to get it right instead of pushing the film out quickly to take advantage of a surprise hit. Keep in mind, they were making this film while they were making the Lego Batman movie and guess what one clearly got more attention?
The live action sequences in this film are horribly tacked on, it’s basically just so they can show that they got Jackie Chan by putting his face on film within a minute but if you cut out those scenes, the movie is not in any way altered by it when it comes to the story. In The Lego Movie, the live action sequences were the heart of the film and really let the story expand and have a much bigger impact, along with creating some genuinely funny scenes… in this one, Jackie Chan catches 5 cups, something so funny they have to show the bloopers of it during the end credits.
For most of the time though the movie is passable, it’s not painful to sit through and I can at least laugh at a few jokes here and there but this is a movie that should’ve been better and could’ve been better because we’ve seen Lego actually tell good fun stories with their properties before but this just felt like they were half-assing it and a half-assed movie deserves a half-assed grade