THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE (PG, 101 MINS), DIRECTED BY CHARLIE BEAN, PAUL FISHER & BOB LOGAN,
There’s a little town on an island far away.
Everything is not awesome all the time, but the people who live there mostly seem happy. Despite, at least once every couple of days, being attacked by the evil Ninja Wizard who lives in the permaerupting volcano across the bay. The people of Ninjago have a notso-secret defence force of Ninjas of their own. Out of costume, they are the five geekiest teenagers at the local high school.
But once the evil Garmadon and his many disposable minions attack, they transform – like Power Rangers or the Thunderbird’s Tracy boys – into colour-coded superheroes with all manner of powers and robots at their disposal. Complicating matters just a little is the fact that Lloyd, the Green Ninja, is also the unacknowledged son of Garmadon.
There’s a mysterious Ninja master – of course – and a whole bunch of challenges, quests and foes to overcome. But the plot of The Lego Ninjago Movie unfolds pretty much as it must. The pleasures of this film, as with any genre piece in general and ones told with little plastic bricks in particular, is in the details.
The Lego Ninjago Movie has just enough laugh-out-loud moments and flashes of true comic genius to almost paper over the cracks that are appearing in this franchise. After the blast of sheer creative genius that was the The Lego Movie, and the mostly excellent The Lego Batman Movie, this instalment is suffering just a little from seen-it-before syndrome.
The old father/son reconciliation plot that underpins The Lego Ninjago Movie especially is starting to look more than a little threadbare and committeewritten.
But the pace never flags, the voice work – Jackie Chan as the master and Justin Theroux as Garmadon especially – is pretty great and the mid-film introduction of ‘‘The Ultimate Weapon’’ will bring the house down. It’s not spoiled by the trailer, and you would have to be a 1970s Goodies fan to even spot the inspiration.
If you’re in charge of anyone who liked the other two Lego movies, then you can take them to The Lego Ninjago Movie confident enough they’ll be happy with this one too.
– Graeme Tuckett
The father/son reconciliation plot that underpins The Lego Ninjago Movie may be a little threadbare, but there are laughs enough to see you through.