The Lego Ninjango Movie review

My opinion right after watching the movie

My opinion right after watching the film is that it’s…….. decent. I mean, I didn’t laugh once throughout the film (which is an issue as a huge comedy), but the film has its heartwearming points. I didn’t really find any issues with the pacing or the story, despite it being everything that I expected. Decent is better than most of the other stuff this year, but the formula within this franchise is stale, and nothing really stood out.

Production

In September of 2013, it was announced that Warner Brothers was working on a Lego movie based in Ninjangos. The Hageman brothers (who co-wrote The Lego Movie) came back to write the movie. The actors who played the father and son in the movie recorded their lines together in the studio, since the production wanted a more realistic feeling and dynamic between a father and son. Apparently the actors would get emotional from time to time recording the dialogue and script.

Story

Like the others, this film starts with a live action sequence of a child talking to Jackie Chan, with the latter telling him the story of Ninjango. This story is about a lego ninjango named Lloyd (Dave Franco) dealing with the fact that his father Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux) is not only evil, but a deadbeat. Since everyone knows who his father is, he is snubbed by damn near everyone his age. Everyone makes fun of this fact, and it’s supposed to be funny, but it’s one of the several examples of the film just missing the mark with the humour. He is a part of a ninja group who often fights against Garmadon to save the city, and this happens once again, saving a bunch of children from falling over a bus.

Lloyd tries to get his father to acknowledge that he had a son that was left behind, but nothing comes to form with it. It’s like this moment is supposed to be both humorous and heartfelt, but I felt neither.

Ultimately, this all happens on Lloyd’s 16th birthday, and his friends talk to him about being vulnerable in front of the father who does not recognize him. Their Master Wu (Jackie Chan) appears to tell them that they did not use Garmadon, and that they only use machines to fight. They need to use their elemental powers, and Lloyd is told that he is green, which means that he is going to lead the pack, and fights with his heart.

Another battle between Garmadon and the Ninjango ninjas, before a cat ends up showing up and interrupting things after Lloyd ends up pressing a laser to attract it. Garmadon uses this to his advantage to capture all of the other ninjas. Lloyd finally reveals himself, and calls him father, which shocks everyone. He then tells Garmadon that he wishes that he wasn’t his father, before running off. Garmadon is somewhat shocked at the revelation, and then goes to his ex  Koko (Olivia Munn) to question why their son hates him. He reveals to her that their son is the green ninja, which angers her, since her son is potentially in danger. She tells him that she wanted their son to not hate him, but there is now clear reason for him to do so.

The other Ninjas are mad at him for using their secret weapon, and now the cat is ruining things, as well as putting them in danger. They all de-friend him until Master gets them back together to finish the task, but Lloyd has to deal with the fact that the others will have to re-learn how to trust him again. Ultimately, they have to find another ultimate weapon to defeat the cat.

In the woods, Master Woo and Garmadon (who are brothers) start to fight, before the former traps the latter in a cage, only for him to fall over the bridge himself.  Since the other ninjas are so sure about needing a ninja master to go with them to the ultimate’s destination, so they decide to take Garmadon. The other ninjas start to like him more than they like Lloyd, which makes him feel like crap. So some Snake Army manage to capture the father and son (who were separated from the other ninjas) to be thrown in a volcano. Luckily for them, the other ninjas come in time to save them, and to become real ninjas (which is a running “joke” through the entire film.

The father and son start to bond together as they escape their predicament, and to fight off some of the Snake Army. I have to say that this moment is a nice one, and doesn’t really come off as contrived. All of them end up going to the Garmadon childhood home, and we get some backstory about how him and Lloyd’s mother got together, which is another nice sequence, since we learned that Koko was a lot tougher than appeared, as she was “Lady Iron Dragon”. Ultimately, she left that world to raise her son better, but he didn’t change.

He offers Lloyd to be his general of some sort, and the latter objects, since his father could be a hero, but is choosing otherwise. He locks them in the palace, so he can take over the city. All of the ninjas soon realize that inner peace is unleashing their powers of some sort, and that’s how they will win.

Garmadon tries to control the city, but the cat just eats him. Lloyd and the other ninjas arrive, for the former to calm the cat down enough to let his father go. Ultimately, he is speaking somberly to the cat and his father (who ends up shedding a fire tear). Everything ended up being happily ever after.

Honestly, I can’t even really find anything…… BAD about the story of the film. It has pretty good pacing, it has all of the emotional moments a story like this needs, and the story is generally told well. My main issue is that the weak humour in every single scene is really distracting, and slows things down.

Characters

Not much to say about any of the characters. Lloyd is just your generic teenager who has father issues, the other ninjas are just kind of there without offering much. Garmadon is the typical father who struggles with being a good father, only to change at the very end. Everyone is just extremely generic with their roles, without adding anything new or unique to it. I just do not give a crap. I think the extreme focus on the humour, and following the checkbook with emulating other movies really make them suffer.

Animation

The animation is on par with the other Lego films. Very detailed in how they use all of the legos, from the character designs, to the settings, and to other effects. I wished that the settings were a bit more intricate and detailed in comparison to the others, but it still holds up on its own. It’s what you would expect, but nothing else.

Music

I barely noticed the musical score in the film. There were some moments where they would incorporate some pop-culture songs in the film that were very out-of-place, so I didn’t like that. So it is either out-of-place, or just extremely forgettable.

Reception at Release

When the film was released on September 22nd, 2017, it made $58.6 million in North America, and $62.9 million in other territories, adding up to a worldwide amount of $121.5 million. This was seen as a massive disappointment, especially compared to the other Lego Movie movies (and The Lego Batman Movie already under-performed compared to The Lego Movie). It seems like the general public already got tired of The Lego Movie franchise, and the novelty has already worn off.

In regards to its reception, the reviews were mixed from the audience and critics.

Score

Story: 7/10

Characters: 5.5/10

Animation: 7/10

Music: 5/10

24.5/40 = 61%

3 thoughts on “The Lego Ninjango Movie review

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