A Good But Ultimately Unremarkable Lego Movie
When The Lego Movie hit theatres in 2014, it was one of the surprise hits of the year. Boasting a unique charm woven through its smartly written script and a great sense of humour, the film had a frenetic energy that was hard not to love. The second film in the franchise, The Lego Batman Movie, never hit the same lofty heights The Lego Movie achieved, but still managed to maintain the same humour and charm that made the original so enjoyable. The third Lego movie, The Lego Ninjago Movie, suffers from a lack of originality and the cookie cutter plot only reinforces the feeling that this is a movie franchise that’s suffering from a serious case of fatigue.
The story follows a group of ninjas, led by social outcast Lloyd (Dave Franco), as they battle the evil warlord Garmadon (Justin Theroux) in the city of Ninjago. As the story progresses, a larger evil threatens the city and the ninjas are forced to go on a journey to unlock their true potential. Whilst the story itself follows the generic hero’s journey plot, Lego Ninjago makes excellent use of its colourful, dynamic landscapes whilst doing so making it a visually appealing flick. The trouble with Ninjago is that it all feels so familiar and a lot of the humour is tailored toward children rather than the mixture of jokes for age groups in the previous films making it a little disappointing.
Despite the average plot line and disappointing lack of originality, the choreography and action is really nicely shot throughout. The plot is full of action too which does a pretty good job of hiding its weaknesses but when the story slows down, these same weaknesses are exposed and its here that Ninjago fails to deliver.
Kids will love this film though and ultimately that’s the age group Lego Ninjago is aimed at. The decision to reboot the franchise rather than stick to the same characters and plot that worked so well in the TV show is certainly an odd choice given the age group this is trying to entice. In terms of originality, there isn’t much here that hasn’t been done smarter or with better execution in the previous Lego films or in the Ninjago TV series but as a throwaway family feature, Lego Ninjago is an enjoyable, but largely forgettable, experience.