THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE Mini-fists fly in the latest brick-based spin-off…
The job for us is: how do we innovate with each movie?” asks Lego Ninjago Movie producer Dan Lin. After three block-busters in as many years, it’s a fair question. The answer? Get drunken master Jackie Chan to choreograph the film’s larger-than-life fights. “The martial arts is not like anything you’ve seen in an animated movie,” beams director Charlie Bean. “It’s a challenge to get them to fight real, choreographed kung-fu.”
Bean is talking to Teasers from Sydney-based studio Animal Logic, where Ninjago, The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie were all produced. Unlike its predecessors, Lego Ninjago has been adapted from an existing animated series about a team of giant robot-riding ninjas who protect their city from the evil Lord Garmadon. But the film has reimagined Ninjago’s world in line with The Lego Movie’s irreverent tone and stop-motion style. “The movie and the series share a lot, but you’ll see from the film that it’s one person’s view of what Ninjago is,” Bean explains. “The way these Lego movies work, we’re fast and loose with canon.”
With the Lego films known for their rapid-fire gag rate, Bean populated his cast with comedy stars including Dave Franco as Green Ninja Lloyd, Chan as his sensei Master Wu and Justin Theroux as Garmadon, who also
happens to be Lloyd’s dad. “We didn’t just go after the funniest people we could find, but people who are writers as well,” Bean says. “Some of the funniest things that Garmadon says is stuff that Justin came up with himself.”
Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are “very, very involved” according to Bean, and Ninjago will riff on that film’s surprise third act by further blurring the lines between reality and animation. “This is a big action epic, so I thought, ‘Let’s bring it outside. Let’s imagine that you’re playing in the backyard,’” Bean says. “So anything that is natural like plants and fire and water, they’re all photorealistic. And to scale, so it all feels very miniature. It’s the biggest tiny film you’ve ever seen.”
ETA | 13 OcTObEr / ThE LEgO NiNjAgO MOviE OpENs LATEr This yEAr.
The Green Ninja, voiced by Dave Franco, leads the charge, while Jackie Chan’s Master Wu (below) assumes the position.