By Cynthia Ayala
“Shunned by everyone for being the son of an evil warlord, a teenager seeks to defeat him with the help of his fellow ninjas.” —IMDB
I have loved every single LEGO movie that had come out, and while I admit that the first was so incredibly impressive, the films that have followed have not failed to impress me, and the LEGO Ninjago movie is no exception to that. These films do not try to be more than anything than they are, which is a comedic family friendly, fun, action-packed adventure. Moreover, that is precisely what the film achieves quite perfectly.
This latest installment brings to life to ninjas within the LEGO franchise. There are a villain and his son who, under the disguise of the Green Ninja, continues to save the city of Ninjago from his villainous father. However, what’s also fun is the fact that the film steps away from some of those tropes to establish a fun connection to the viewer. Dad is a villain, and everyone knows it, blaming him for everything his father has done to the town of Ninjago. Poor kid. Moreover, while that sours him, he still doesn’t let the unified hate of the city stop him from saving them. He does the right thing…most of the time. He vents his frustration out on his father, who has no idea he is the Green Ninja, while eagerly trying to get his father to see the good and end his tyranny. Of course, nothing goes as planned for these ninjas in training, especially when Lloyd lets his anger get the better of him and unwittingly lets loose the Ultimate Weapon on the city of Ninjago…which just so happens to be a cat lured by a laser pointer.
That is another thing that works so well with this film, the combination of real life with the LEGO world, highlighting the fact that this is indeed a world within a world. Here it is brought in by a laser pointer and a cat, which is just too funny. Moreover, as a cat lover, I loved that addition in the film. It is the joke of the film that reality and fantasy can combine to make something so fun and light, and it is a great trick that allows the film to relate to children and their imaginations, much like the writers here have done. They do not lose to the real world when they play with their imaginations and “toys, ” but they combine the two to bring something new to life. Personally, I love that idea of imagination without restrictions, and while that might not be the goal of the LEGO movies, it is a common thing to play with the toys as a child and to make the pet the monster that destroys the city, and that is something everyone can probably relate to.
This is an excellent family friendly film because the humor is sly and can connect to the older people in the audiences, and it is bright in the way that it portrays these ninjas-to-be. More importantly, they grow through the film, Lloyd especially, and for any animated feature to focus on character growth is great because let’s face it, many films out there are all about the special effects, not the story or the character development. This film takes itself seriously just like all the previous LEGO films and has fun with itself. It is an excellent fun film, so go out and catch it while you can. (★★★☆ | A)
— Film Credits —
Directed by Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher & Bob Logan
Screenplay by Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern & John Whittington
Story by Hilary Winston, Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Dan Hageman & Kevin Hageman
Based on Lego Ninjago by The Lego Group
Starring: Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Munn, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Peña, Zach Woods & Jackie Chan
Rating | Length | Genre: PG | 1h 41min | Animation, Action, Adventure
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures