The LEGO Movie series has been churning them out for the past couple years and, honestly, I’m still enjoying them enormously. We may see how I feel about that in a few years but for now they are some of the most charming and fun animated movies to have come along in years.
The LEGO movies work best by creating comedy from the set-up (that these are LEGO pieces) and from subverting the expectations of their genre, while still being fond of the core of that genre. The focus here is on the Ninjago series, and our plot features Lloyd Garmadon (Franco), the son of the Dark Lord Garmadon (Theroux). Every few days Garmadon seems to turn up to destroy the city of Ninjago for no real reason, and most of the city hates his son as a result, even though Lloyd wants nothing to do with his father. Secretly though, Lloyd is part of a ninja defence team who pilot armoured mechs, ala Power Rangers, to defeat Garmadon each time. They are led by their ancient master Wu (Chan) As the main plot starts, they must locate a powerful ultimate weapon to defeat Garmadon once and for all.
Overall, I would say that The LEGO Ninjago Movie is definitely entertaining, but it’s not quite as good as the first LEGO Movie or the LEGO Batman one. It has some great set pieces, like the real-life cat that attacks the city because of a laser pointer, and the pay off at the end is rather heartwarming, but the plot is not quite as original as the previous two films. The fight scenes still dazzle me, when everything is in motion and the Lego pieces are flying. A stellar voice cast also helps keep the energy going, with great comedic performances from all involved.
The Ninjago movies are a blessed relief in a drought of children’s movies – something that you can watch with your kids without wanting to tear your own eyes out after an hour. It’s fast, frenetic and funny, and plays on enough levels to keep the whole family invested.