Plot: The island of Ninjago is a peaceful place to live, at least when the evil warlord Garmadon isn’t launching an offensive. Of course, Garmadon is often trying to conquer the city and while he never succeeds, it does cause a bother for the locals and especially for his son, Lloyd. He has no part in his father’s evil deeds, but Lloyd is picked on and shunned just for being related for Garmadon. But little does everyone know that Lloyd happens the be the green ninja, one of the elite ninja warriors called in when Garmadon attacks. Lloyd and his friends ditch their high school classes and spring into action, though almost no one knows the truth. After yet another defeat at the hands of the ninjas, Garmadon cleans house and fires numerous generals (out of a volcano), but is presented with a new plan that just might work. Soon Garmadon returns in an epic new mech, one that deflects all the ninja’s attacks and soon, he has staked his claim to Ninjago, until Lloyd unleashes the ultimate weapon…

Entertainment Value: While this movie doesn’t follow the narrative of the television series, The Lego Ninjago Movie takes the property into some fun directions and winds up as solid entertainment. The pace is frantic, with a lot of rapid cuts and quick fire jokes, so there’s little downtime involved. The constant jokes are a mix of pop culture references, dad jokes, and silliness, with some of the humor aimed at adults, with references to stuff most kids wouldn’t pick up on. This means audiences of pretty much all ages will find some humor in the material, even if the jokes can be a little uneven. But with this kind of volume, they can’t all be winners, right? The animation is fun to watch, with the same style as the other Lego features. This yields a ton of fine details, such as minor scuffs on the pieces and rich depth of field touches, impressive visuals in this from start to finish, to be sure. The designs of the mechs were especially cool, with all kinds of awesome little details, with Lloyd’s dragon as a personal favorite. And who doesn’t love seeing a giant cat terrorize a world of Lego creations?

The voice talent in The Lego Ninjago Movie is capable, but I wasn’t a fan of Dave Franco’s work as Lloyd. His delivery was wooden and had minimal energy behind it, which made it seem out of place in this movie. The other ninjas were upbeat and fun, but he was slow and lifeless. Perhaps this was a choice inspired by Lloyd not being a super fun dude, but even in wild scenes, Franco seemed half asleep. Jackie Chan is a lot of fun though, really embracing the offbeat humor and bringing some great charisma to Master Wu role, while the other ninjas are on point as well. A nice variety of performers in that group, each of whom brought a lot to their role, I feel. Justin Theroux as Garmadon was fine, but I can’t help but feel he was doing a Will Arnett knockoff type performance and of course, Arnett would perform circles around him. In the end, the movie was decent fun and worth a look. Despite the fast pace, I do feel like it was overlong and some of the filler wouldn’t be missed, but it still works. If you’re a fan of the Lego style animated movies, you should have fun here.

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