Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Lego Ninjago

Lego Ninjago
Voices of:  Justin Theroux, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Munn, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Peña, Zach Woods and Jackie Chan

Rated: PG for some mild action and rude humor.
Reviewed by: Matt  
Release date: September 22, 2017 Released by: Warner Brothers

The third installment into the LEGO movie franchise (and the second film of this year), the LEGO Ninjago Movie looks to keep up the track record that the previous films had left.  The story follows the green ninja, better known as Lloyd (Dave Franco), as he and the other ninjas protect the city of Ninjago from the evil Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux).  The only problem for Lloyd is that Lord Garmadon also happens to be his father and everyone, outside of his fellow ninja, hates him when he isn't running around as the masked green ninja.  However, when an ultimate weapon is unleashed on the city, it is up to the ninjas and their master (Jackie Chan) to go and find a weapon that can destroy it.

Coming into this film I had very high expectations.  The previous LEGO films were all very well done so I expected much of the same for this one.  However, upon watching it I felt as if this film had an identity crisis.  Most of the time it just felt like this film was trying too hard to be like its predecessors (in this case the original LEGO Movie as this film and the LEGO Batman Movie started production around the same time).  Yet at the same time you could see the film trying to be it's own thing especially when it came to the father-son dynamic for Lloyd and Garmadon.  However, I couldn't get over the feeling that the film was just trying too hard to be another LEGO Movie plus ninjas.  The jokes felt more forced than the other films and while the LEGO Batman Movie relied a lot on nostalgia, this film doesn't really have that going for it.

But that's not to say I didn't enjoy the film.  While the film certainly tried too hard when it came to it's comedy (which was a major focus of the film as it was throwing jokes at you every second) the film did look and feel consistent with the previous films.  I haven't yet gotten over the novelty of these animated LEGO characters and worlds acting like a world made of LEGOs would in real life.  It's an attention to detail that I really appreciate and helps them stand out from other animated films being released.  Also, as mentioned before, the father-son dynamic between Lloyd and Garmadon was really the standout of this film.  As for the comedy itself, while I didn't particularly enjoy it the kids in the film were laughing from pretty much start to finish so perhaps it wasn't aimed for me.

In the end, the LEGO Ninjago Movie is a tone consistent, yet weaker installment into this franchise.  Adults may find it harder to sit through than previous installments but for kids, this film is right up their alley.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Gerry Matt Claudette Jennifer Audralee Nina  Avg. 
Lego Ninjago        C+         C+               C+ 

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