(Written by William)
As you probably know already, The LEGO Ninjago Movie is getting released tomorrow, September 22nd. Last week, I had an opportunity to watch a local pre-screening of the film, so I decided to write up my thoughts on it, without any spoilers. Once you watch the movie yourself, you can come back here to share your own review and we can discuss in more detail. 🙂
If you’d ask, “Is this movie worth my money?” I’d say that you probably won’t be blown away, but you will feel relatively satisfied afterward. I wouldn’t call it as great as The LEGO Movie or The LEGO Batman Movie, but overall it offered an enjoyable experience. The biggest drawback of the film is that I don’t feel it appeals to as many people as the previous two LEGO movies. I will try to explain this further below, without spoiling the story.
➡ IT’S NINJAGO… SORT OF…
First off, if you’re not a Ninjago fan, you probably won’t really understand who the characters are, and why you should care about them. This is not a movie with in-depth character backgrounds for all the ninjas. As you might tell from the trailers, you’ll primarily see Lloyd and Lord Garmadon’s story. The rest of the characters are just extras with not much info about them.
Next, this is not the Ninjago TV show turned into a movie. So, if you really love something about the TV show, and you have become attached to the characters and stories, chances are you’ll not be satisfied with the film. This leaves us with the biggest question about The LEGO Ninjago Movie; who is it exactly meant for?
On one hand, you have newcomers who will be dragged along by hardcore Ninjago fans. Then, you have the hardcore fans that will have trouble relating to all the changes from the TV show. Chances are that these two situations don’t make the best movie-going experience. This means that all there is left are those fans who saw The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie, and just want to watch another LEGO film. This is still a good sized audience, but it is a diminishing fan base.
➡ IT’S BUILT ALONG SIMILAR LINES…
If you liked The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie, you will most likely enjoy The LEGO Ninjago Movie as well. However, if you start thinking more critically, you will notice that the story is very similar to the previous two films, which can get a little boring and predictable.
Focusing on family relationships and friendships worked for The LEGO Movie, because LEGO is a family-oriented and family friendly company. The same angle was pushed in The LEGO Batman Movie, which at times felt somewhat pasted together. As for The LEGO Ninjago Movie, you can tell even from the trailers that it’s about mending another broken family. However, the movie doesn’t really tackle the topic deeply, so it makes the experience rather shallow.
The LEGO Movie was original and fresh in its presentation, plus it tied the childhoods of the past and present together, by showing the relationship of a father and son which mirrored the conflict within the LEGO world. The LEGO Batman Movie did something similar, by using the nostalgia of the Batman lore to show we can connect with more than just LEGO. Additionally, the story expresses that we don’t have to be blood related to be part of a family or care for one another. The LEGO Ninjago Movie doesn’t have the rich, deep and long history of either the LEGO experience or the Batman story to support the otherwise simple message.
➡ TAKING OFF THE CRITICAL HAT…
Having said all of that, do you really go to see a LEGO movie for deep feelings and insights? Chances are, you just want to hear some funny LEGO humor, immerse yourself in a light but engaging story, and see a few great LEGO models you wouldn’t mind buying or building. If that’s your reason for purchasing a ticket to The LEGO Ninjago Movie, you will have some fun!
It’s what I call a popcorn movie; light and fluffy and won’t leave you full. You’ll feel uplifted when you come out of the theater and recall all the best moments. And I assure you, there are a many good moments worth recalling.
➡ FINAL THROUGHTS & RECOMMENDATIONS…
The LEGO Ninjago Movie is undoubtedly fun, but I don’t think it will win the kind of awards The LEGO Movie did. But it’s not trying to be the next big thing or break new records. Most of us buy LEGO sets because we like the experience of happiness just from building. Sure, not everything is a LEGO Modular Building or Ultimate Collector’s Series set, but not everything should be. This is that type of movie; a fun little jaunt back into the LEGO universe. You are in for a whimsical treat!
What do you think? Are you planning to watch The LEGO Ninjago Movie? And how did you like the previous two films? And if you have seen all three movies already, which one is your favorite so far? Feel free to share your thoughts and own review in the comment section below! 😉
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