The Lego franchise has exploded in recent years much like an angry kid putting his foot through the Ghostbusters Fire Station after finding that a single brick is missing. The evidence is everywhere, from countless video games including the hugely-popular Lego Dimensions to the very reason behind this review.
Following on from 2014’s The Lego Movie and this year’s The Lego Batman Movie, the latest piece in the quickly-assembling cinematic franchise sees young Lloyd (Dave Franco) and his friends, a secret ninja fighting force, who, along with the help of wiseman Master Wu (Jackie Chan), battle Justin Theroux’s evil Garmadon who’s hellbent on destroying Ninjago City. But when they’re sent on a quest to find a sacred power that will help defeat him, father-son melodrama ensues between our star hero and the formidable villain.
To say the Lego movies’ action sequences are as visually-indecipherable as those of the Trans-Formers movies is an understatement – you literally can’t tell the brick from the bricks. Relying on CGI for 80% of their films seems like a missed opportunity given the charm of the likes of Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit, and even some of the internet’s far more impressive Lego stop-motion renditions of classic movie scenes and trailers, but the effects here are only a part – or piece – of the problem.
There’s something to enjoy here. If anything, the films are a celebration of the joy both kids and adults alike have when building make belief Lego-landscapes. There are no rules and the sky’s the limit. But a movie about Lego should have more basis in a joke about how Hollywood has finally run out of ideas than it should in reality. Like the previous two entries, Ninjago is no exception – it’s nothing more than a ninety-minute commercial, as the vast majority of this franchise’s revenue is no doubt made through its merchandise (Lego based on a movie based on Lego – how more corporate can it get?).
The kids will love it and will likely make mental Christmas lists while watching, so do tread carefully when taking them. And don’t forget to exercise the same caution when walking around your house bare-footed on Christmas Day…
For more reviews and visits to film locations worldwide check out my blog Curious Rookie