Release Date: September 22, 2017
Director: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan
Writer: Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern, John Whittington, Hilary Winston, Kevin Hageman, Dan Hageman
Cast: Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Abbi Jacobson, Zach Woods, David Burrows, Alex Kauffman, Justin Theroux, Ali Wong, Garret Elkins, Todd Hansen, Todd Hansen, Doug Nicholas, Charlyne Yi, Vanara Taing, Olivia Munn, Laura Kightlinger, Randall Park, Retta, Chris Hardwick
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 101 minutes
Production Company: LEGO System A/S, Lin Pictures, Lord Miller, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, Warner Animation Group, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros.
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Country: Denmark, USA
When The LEGO Movie was gearing up for release back in 2014, I was beyond excited. Not only did the film meet my expectations, it exceeded them. Fast forward to 2017 with The LEGO Batman Movie, I was thrilled to see this film too, but it was not as exciting as the first. That doesn’t make sense seeing that I loved the first film, and absolutely adore Batman, but everything turned out positive with me loving that film as well. So, with Warner Bros. being two for two, it appeared they go out with a bang with their third film, The LEGO Ninjago Movie. The studio had a great track record, the trailers looked decent, and I love ninja’s, so what could go wrong? I believe it had to do with the creative team involved because with this third film in the LEGO universe fell flat hard. What made the first two films great was the amount of passion put in the dialogue that catered to adults. Now, it just panders to children with no effort as a mediocre attempt for nothing more than to grab your hard-earned cash.
Things started out great in the beginning showing so much promise for a bright film. The jokes landed, I was having an enjoyable time, and the overall tone was familiar with what came before. What makes those movies great is the acknowledgement of the over the top silliness grounded in sarcasm that almost everyone can relate to. Life is hard enough as it is, so, when you see cartoonish lego figures joking on screen the same way you would with your friends, it is eye opening. You’re easily able to relate to what’s on screen and are on board for the ride. This notion was completely absent in The LEGO Ninjago Movie. The jokes were there, sprinkled out, but didn’t hold the same weight as before. The jokes made me chuckle instead of laughing out loud like I was used to. Then again, they just weren’t as funny as before.
My next issue is with the characters and animation. There’s a total of six different ninja’s to save the day when the city of Ninjago was under attack, and we only get to know one of the ninja’s named Llyod (Dave Franco). The other’s names are forgettable and you only know them by robot, ice, earth, fire, and water ninja’s. Llyod is sixteen years old, with the rest of the ninja’s being recruited from high school too. There’s no backstory as to why or where they received their training either. One ninja never learned how to throw or catch. But is somehow a ninja recruited to be a savior. How is this possible? It doesn’t add up. Now you could say that such details don’t matter because this is a LEGO movie aimed for children, and in most cases you’d be right. Though this film is following two other LEGO films that actually paid attention to such detail, providing answers to any questions that could pop up, I didn’t care about Lloyd, and the relationship with his father. Once the plot got all mushy, it eliminated the threat that was previously set earlier on in the film. Then, this animation is a straight trash at times. Instead of flowing smoothly when some LEGO figures were just walking (not flying around in action), the imagery was choppy. It is just a huge step down from what came before.
The audience could’ve at least received a decent plot/story too, but that’s probably asking for too much. It just wasn’t there. Just random events to fill in space, that’s barely funny, and it treats you like you’re on punishment. Though the film is trash bucket bad. There are moments to where you’ll still laugh, and it was nice to hear the voice of Jackie Chan, but this is not a film that is a must see in my humble opinion. Lord and Miller from the first film, and McKay from the 2nd have years of experience with comedy and characters to craft a film that’s hard not to love. The LEGO Ninjago movies is ran by a bunch of rookies that should’ve done their homework before yelling action.