THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE

PrintE-mail Written by J.D. Gillam

LEGO is fast becoming an entertainment juggernaut. Not satisfied with being a mainstay in the living rooms and bedrooms of children and adults alike across the globe, they have successfully branched out in other media, mostly console games and the cinema.

Having already achieved great success with both The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie, the suits in Denmark have a mould that they know works and they don’t appear to be considering changing it anytime soon. This, as it turns out, is a good thing.

Like Disney and Pixar before them, LEGO is aware that the way to guarantee continued success is to cater to all age groups, something that they already do so well with their toy lines.

Moving the Ninjago title from television to the big screen is a riskier move than their two previous big-screen outings as the risk of alienating those unfamiliar with the characters is very real. Fortunately, that template has been used again to great effect here.

We join the Ninjago team, led by Lloyd (Franco) - who appears to be just your common teenager struggling with life and bullies - as they successfully repel yet another attack on Ninjago City by the big bad Garmadon (Theroux, in particular, scenery-chewing form). The nice twist here is that Lloyd knows that Garmadon is his father, although he keeps referring to him as L-loyd to his son’s annoyance.

Sent back to his lair with his four arms between his legs, Garmadon returns with a stronger robot under his control and a better plan to win the day and conquer the brick city. In a last-minute attempt to stop him, Lloyd breaks out what Master Wu (Chan) has warned him to never use, the Ultimate Weapon!

The problem is, this turns out to be nothing more than a standard laser pointer, which gains the attention of Meowra - think Godzilla, but in the shape of a cute house cat - who proceeds to wreak havoc on the buildings and mini figures running around.

In an attempt to stop Meowra from destroying everything that has been built, Lloyd and his team are forced to work with Garmadon in order to find the McGuffin that will save them all, only to find by the end of the film that the power to defeat Meowra was inside them all along.

This is all bookended by Jackie Chan as a shop owner teaching a kid in his store about the importance of believing in yourself. Similar to the tale in The LEGO movie with Will Ferrell, it’s interesting that although this whole premise of the toy world existing in tandem with real life is blown apart by the human characters being quite integral (and cats, in this instance), you’re still sucked into the experience unrolling on the screen.

There’s nothing quite as annoyingly addictive as Everything Is Awesome on the soundtrack, although Heroes and Dance of Doom come mighty close!

So, yes, you’ve probably seen this all before and, in some places, the storylines have been done better. But it’s not all about that in the end. The fact is that the LEGO movies are universally accessible and manage to cleverly complete a balancing act that gives a lot for the kids to enjoy whilst entertaining the adults with knowing winks that make you smile, rather than wince from embarrassment.

The thing is, you forget that you are watching plastic bricks on screen and settle in nicely to enjoy the spectacle. As a result, in perhaps in one of the most unsurprising reviews of the year, The LEGO Ninjago Movie is exactly what you expect - bloody good fun.

Go see it if you’ve got kids. Go see it if you haven’t!

THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE / CERT: U / DIRECTOR: CHARLIE BEAN, PAUL FISHER / SCREENPLAY: BOB LOGAN, PAUL FISHER / STARRING: JACKIE CHAN, DAVE FRANCO, JUSTIN THEROUX, FRED ARMISEN / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 13TH

Expected Rating: 7 out of 10
Actual Rating:


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