The Lego Ninjago Movie

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The Lego Ninjago Movie
"How the film avoids animation overload is with a script that apes cynical teenspeak and a voice cast that is ensemble perfection."

Let's be silly. No, let's celebrate silliness. With Lego?

This is the most outrageous product placement in the history of marketing. It works for one simple reason - the graphics are uncompromisingly plastic and the screenplays are clever and/or funny-ha-ha.

Copy picture

That's two reasons. Actually three.

The third in the franchise, with a weird Ninjago logo that is not quite kung and barely fu but somewhere in that awesome kick-splat-pow direction, courtesy of Jackie Chan who appears as himself in the opening sequence, breaks another rule of the celluloid thumb which is that multiple writers tend to make a mess of things and multiple directors keep bumping into each other. Add to that a cheesy plot about a bullied kid who needs the approval of his dad who abandoned him when he was a baby (***** from www.sobalot.com) and you have the basis of cartoon marshshallow.

The story is the opposite of "It's complicated". Ninjago City is under attack, yet again, from the forces of Garmadon, The Worst Guy Ever, who lives on a volcanic rock two eruptions away. Six Ninja warriors with special powers, all high school kids, including Garmadon's son who becomes Green Ninja, defend the heart of Lego from the black-faced brute who weeps lava tears. The result is a Transformers style battle royal which is impossible to follow, not that it matters because it's effects effects effects that dominate the visual space.

However, not everything is violent, not everyone is mad, because that would freeze the smile off your face and force you to count the breaths before the end of days.

How the film avoids animation overload is with a script that apes cynical teenspeak like Wayne's World in pre-Facebook Dudesville and a voice cast that is in the Toy Story class of ensemble perfection.

Silly, Billy? You bet! And long may it last.

Reviewed on: 12 Oct 2017
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The Lego Ninjago Movie packshot
A battle royal in the city of teenage ninjas with special powers and a fine line in witty dialogue in the plastic world of Lego.

Director: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan

Writer: Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern, John Whittington

Starring: Jackie Chan, voices of Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Peña, Abbi Jacobson, Zach Woods, David Burrows, Alex Kauffman, Justin Theroux, Ali Wong, Garret Elkins, Todd Hansen, Doug Nicholas, Charlyne Yi

Year: 2017

Runtime: 101 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US, Denmark

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