Saturday, December 30, 2017

Tonight's Movie: The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)

I'm back from a whirlwind couple of days attending a wedding in beautiful Santa Barbara! I have several posts planned for the next few days, including my annual big Year in Review on New Year's Day.

First up, a review of THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE (2017). I enjoyed both THE LEGO MOVIE (2014) and THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (2017) but didn't have time to catch the latest in the series at a theater last fall, so I caught up with it via Blu-ray a few days ago.

The appeal of the Lego movies is that they're children's movies made for adults. Children will enjoy the films on a more superficial level, taking in the colorful story, but adults will find all sorts of sly, rib-tickling humor and funny bits of business. While THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE isn't quite on the same creative level as the first two films, especially the deliciously funny LEGO BATMAN, I nonetheless found it entertaining and worth seeing.

This time around the story focuses on a half-dozen teenage Ninjas who protect their city, Ninjago, from the fearsome Garmadon (Justin Theroux), who regularly shows up from his offshore volcano home to wreak havoc in his ongoing attempts to take over Ninjago.

One of the Ninjas, Lloyd (or "L-Lloyd," as Garmadon calls him), voiced by Dave Franco, just happens to be Garmadon's son, who hasn't seen his father in person since he was a baby. Lloyd is shunned by most of his fellow students because his dad's such an awful guy. Only his Ninja pals know that Lloyd regularly helps save the city from his old man.

Jackie Chan has nice bits as a shopkeeper in live-action scenes bookending the film, and he also voices Master Wu. The incorporation of a live-action cat, as a sort of Godzilla wreaking havoc with the Lego world, didn't work as successfully for me.

Robin Roberts and Michael Strahan are amusing voicing their animated TV broadcaster counterparts, smiles in their voices no matter how dire the Garmadon news.  Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Olivia Munn, Constance Wu, and Zach Woods are among the rest of the voice cast.

THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE was directed by Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, and Bob Logan. It runs a just-slightly-too-long hour and 41 minutes.

Parental Advisory: THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE is rated PG. Unless I'm forgetting something, it's pretty mild and family friendly.

In addition to the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack linked above, this film is also available as a stand-alone DVD.

The trailer is on YouTube.


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