LEGO Ninjago: The Movie

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When the original LEGO movie was first announced, many were skeptical as to whether or not the plastic block-building toy could translate well enough into a full-length motion picture film. Thankfully, the LEGO movie ended up being a huge success, mainly due to its characters, its humor, its heart, and that damn "Everything is Awesome" song. LEGO Ninjago attempts to work within the same formula and while rather entertaining, it can often feel like it's treading familiar ground and not feel terribly original. 

The core narrative of The LEGO Ninjago movie is one of family. mainly between Lloyd and his father, evil Lord Garmadon. While both are aware of each other's presence, Lord Garmadon is blind to the fact that Lloyd is also his arch-nemesis, the Green Ninja. Along with his elemental based companions; Ice, Fire, Electricity, Earth, and Water, the team of Ninja's, on the regular, continue to stop Lord Garmadon from taking over Ninjago City. 

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What is also rather humorous is that the entire town is aware of Lloyd's parentage and consistently lets him know by insulting him, talking behind his back, moving to another seat on the bus, or writing #1 songs on the radio about how Lloyd sucks. While Lloyd attempts to convey that he doesn't care about not having a relationship with his father, much of the film is based upon the fact that he does care, very much in fact. 

While I won't reveal the cause of how or why, Lord Garmadon eventually discovers that Lloyd and the Green Ninja are one and the same and embarks on a quest with the team of Ninja's to uncover a secret weapon dubbed The Ultimate Ultimate weapon. This then turns the film into a coming of age story for the relationship between Lloyd and his father and also where the film can go on a bit too much with the father-son bonding. While yes, this is meant to be the focus of Lloyd's journey, it piles on the jokes a bit too much and too often. 

The team of Ninja's that accompany Lloyd can be often hilarious and lead to some of the film's best material, however; as this is Lloyd's story, they fall a bit too much into the background during the middle portion of the film until Lloyd discovers his true purpose on the team. My favorite of the group by far was the Ice Ninja, Zane, as with being a robot, who constantly states he is just a regular teenage boy, has some of the best lines throughout the movie. 

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The voice talent behind the film is pretty decent with several names popping up during the credits that I knew, with only a small handful of those I did not. Dave Franco voices Lloyd and is rather great here and a good choice for the lead. His fellow Ninja team features the talents of Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Abbi Jacobson, and Zach Woods, who all fit really well together. The team is lead by their master, voiced by Jackie Chan, who also has another role early in the film. 

Lord Garmadon is voiced by Justin Theroux who is a bit of a mixed bag as while there are a lot of moments where he truly shines, and he really does, he comes across as another type of LEGO Batman voice and even has dialogue written in the very same manner. While the character is entertaining and funny, there are so many moments here that feel like leftover dialogue for the LEGO caped crusader. 

LEGO Ninjago is a good addition to the series of LEGO films but one that is far too similar to what has come before it. It has the typical LEGO movie humor, the same overall beats you've seen before just dressed up in the trappings of another LEGO brand. The film is visually fun, 3D was good to decent, and the musical choices make this a entertaining movie, and one of the best Power Ranger movies ever made. 

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DIRECTED BY: Charlie Bean / Paul Fisher / Bob Logan

PRODUCED BY: Warner / Lin pictures / vertigo ent. / animal logic / lord miller productions / lego