Though it has been out since September 22, I have only just seen the LEGO Ninjago Movie. Shameful, I know, for a self-proclaimed LEGO fan to wait almost a month to see the latest LEGO Movie. But, we all know how life and work tend to get in the way of the fun stuff. I am sure many of you have already seen and read reviews of the film, but I thought I would throw in my two cents anyway.
I have been eagerly waiting for this movie. Much like with the LEGO Batman Movie, this film had phenomenal trailers. That is not always a good thing. There are times when a really good trailer builds up too much hype for a not so good movie. The Ninjago Movie Trailers had set my hopes and expectations pretty high. Not to mention that I really enjoyed the LEGO Movie and the LEGO Batman Movie. All in all, I would say that the Ninjago Movie did not disappoint me, but it didn’t blow me away either.
Much like the trailers suggest, the central story in this movie is that of Lloyd Garmadon coming to grips with the fact that his father is a megalomaniac bent on conquering Ninjago City, and who abandoned Lloyd as an infant. Another theme Lloyd has to contend with is social acceptance, since he is a pariah on account of his father’s repeated attempts to take over the city.
I won’t tell you how it all plays out, in case you have not seen it yet. But, what I will say is that the story comes off a little shallow. What you see is really what you get. It is not a bad story, but it is a very thin one. There is nothing outside of what the trailers suggest. I would have liked to see a more intricate story in which the themes of family and acceptance played out a little more in the background.
Lloyd’s fellow ninjas also get zero character development. This could have been a choice under the assumption that people seeing this movie would be familiar with the Ninjago TV series. But, I have never watched that show, having heard that it is geared towards a much younger audience and is generally not that appealing to adults.
One thing that really stood out for me was that the world of Ninjago was significantly less brick-built than in previous LEGO Movies. Much of the film takes place in a jungle that doesn’t have a LEGO plant in sight. It was visually appealing, and I don’t think it bothers me that much that it wasn’t LEGO pieces (I do, after all, take Minifigure photos in real world surroundings regularly for my Minifigure Monday posts). But, it is a significant step away from the LEGO Movie and the LEGO Batman Movie.
Overall, I liked the movie. I found myself chuckling more than once during the film, even though many of the funny points were seen in the trailers. I was also happy that there was not nearly as much blatant product placement in this movie as in its predecessors. Sure, pretty much every Ninjago Movie set appeared in the film (except for an obvious version of the Ninjago City set), but there wasn’t a whole bunch of other needless stuff. One thing that really bothered me about the LEGO Batman Movie was all of the non-Batman stuff in it. It pushed LEGO Dimensions way too hard. I really appreciated that the Ninjago Movie stuck to the Ninjago world and characters.
So far, it seems as though the LEGO Ninjago Movie will not reach the success of the previous LEGO film installments, but I liked it. The story was thin, but it was entertaining, and I left the movie feeling good about it. I will probably even buy it when it comes out on Blu-ray. A little more substance would have made this movie great, but I will go ahead and count it as another LEGO movie success
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on the LEGO Ninjago Movie in the comments below.
Until next time,