Starring: Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Jackie Chan
Director: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan
Running Time: 101 mins
The Lego Ninjago Movie is an American film about a teenage ninja who fights his estranged father from taking over the city, yet must come to terms with the troubles of his relationship with his dad over the course of a great adventure.
In 2014, the world was taken aback with the release of The Lego Movie – one of the most groundbreaking animated movies of all time. Aiming to recapture its chaotic brand of self-aware humour, The Lego Ninjago Movie proves an enjoyable watch, but misses out on the stunning intelligence and originality of its predecessor.
Now, the major difference between this film and The Lego Movie is that it’s much more squarely aimed at younger kids. Of course, the original film is a kids’ movie, but there’s so much humour there for adults, as well as a groundbreaking and emotionally engrossing screenplay.
The Lego Ninjago Movie is a lot simpler, and while that doesn’t dilute its fun factor, it certainly makes it a less impressive watch. With a fairly one-note story that follows the relationship between estranged father and son, the film’s Star Wars parables fall a little flat, while it does little to really bring much emotional resonance to the table.
Also, there are a lot of big plot points and jokes that borrow heavily from The Lego Movie. From its use of live-action to breaking the fourth wall, this film often feels a little too desperate to revive the spirit of the original, without going out and finding its own voice.
The Lego Batman Movie, by comparison, had all the same brilliant humour as The Lego Movie, but it separated itself by use of a story that didn’t lean heavily on similar plot devices, as well as endless running jokes poking fun at superhero movies.
The Lego Ninjago Movie, however, doesn’t have much of a theme, nor any particularly brilliant running jokes. There are some great laughs in its early stages – when it’s at its most hyperactive – but they’re nothing on the level of other Lego films.
Saying that, however, I still really enjoyed this film’s boundless energy. Although it dissipates a little towards the finale as the pace slows down, the movie gets off to a chaotic start, blending the childlike wonder of playing with Lego with big-budget blockbuster action.
As a result, there’s no denying that The Lego Ninjago Movie is an enjoyable watch, though it is one that you can’t expect quite as much from. It’s a fairly simplistic film that’s squarely aimed at young kids, with not as much for adults to enjoy.
But with great energy, some good laughs and an entertaining, action-packed atmosphere, there’s still a lot of fun to be had here, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.3 overall.