The LEGO Ninjago Movie: Young Franchise Already Looking a Little Thin
Dave FrancoFred Armisen...
Action & AdventureAnimation
Charlie BeanPaul Fisher
In 1 Cinema
2014’s The Lego Movie was a hit; an indisputably heartfelt and an unanticipated effort from Warner Bros. that delivered on all fronts. Then came The LEGO Batman Movie, which, although a little less successful in terms of structure and general storytelling, it was humorous and lively. Now, there is The Lego Ninjago Movie, a film adaptation of the long-running animated TV series Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu about a group of teenagers who have a secret life as ninjas. However, although decent enough in terms of animation and voice-over performances, it’s an exhausting piece of storytelling that unfortunately, never quite lives up to = its predecessors.
The story is centered in and around the city of Ninjago; a place which is frequently attacked by the villainous war-lord Lord Garmadon (voiced by Theroux) who has spent most of his life periodically attacking the peaceful town. His attacks have become the norm for the residents of Ninjago who have now grown to rely on the protective forces of the Secret Ninja Force – a unit led by Garmadon’s abondened teenage son, Lloyd a.k.a Green Ninja (Franco) – who have successfully thwarted every single one of his attacks thus far.
The unit, formed of class-mates, Kai (Pena); Zane, a.k.a Water Ninja (Woods); Nya, a.k.a Fire Ninja (Jacobson); Jay, a.k.a Ice Ninja (Nanjiani) and Cole, a.k.a Earth Ninja (Armisen), are also guided by Lloyd’s uncle, Master Wu (Chan). Things take a turn when Lord Garmadon’s latest attack goes wrong which, as a result, manages to unleash the wrath of feline Meowthra. In order to stop this giant cat from causing further damage, a secret weapon must be acquired, forcing the team to go on a quest, whilst Lloyd finally gets the chance to bond with his estranged father.
Marking the second 2017 venture for the franchise, The LEGO Ninjago Movie is brought to life by an army of people – thirteen creative writers and three directors to be exact –‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ anyone? Struggling to maintain the freshness of the previous installments , the story doesn’t really have much going for it; jumping from idea to an idea, there is very little focus in its approach, wearying its super pumped, ninja-warrior coming-of-age theme, thin.
The film’s only saving grace comes in the form of Theroux who, as the comically-not-always-aware-of-his-own-destructive-tendencies villain, is an absolute delight to watch whilst the other characters, with maybe the exception of Lloyd who gets most of the screen time, are not particularly memorable.
Which, unfortunately, is probably the best way to describe this latest cash-grab; a forgettable and a disappointing addition to the franchise which, in itself, is now showing clear signs of strain.