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The Lego Ninjago Movie review: Nothing anymore is awesome

The Lego Ninjago Movie review: The franchise may have jumped the shark with its third movie after very successful and very awesome The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie.

movie reviews Updated: Oct 06, 2017 14:48 IST
Soumya Srivastava
Soumya Srivastava
Hindustan Times
The Lego Ninjago Movie,The Lego Ninjago Movie review,The Lego Movie
Llyod hates school even when he as five friends who are ready to give their life for him.

The Lego Ninjago Movie
Director: Charlie Bean, Bob Logan, Paul Fisher
Cast: Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Jackie Chan
Rating: 1.5/5

Anything that reeks of money-minting opportunism in Hollywood rarely turns out to be good. The Lego Movie was met with similar scepticism. No one thought it was a good idea to make a film about toy bricks -- good at getting emotions out of you only when you step on them -- but Hollywood did it anyway. However, when the world saw it, everything was awesome.

The film hit the critics and audiences like a train that came out of nowhere, but in a good way. The snappy humour, the sugar-high performances and the glossy animation made it one of the most entertaining animated films ever. Of course, a tonne of money was made in the process but no one minded it when it gave so much in return. Its successor, The Lego Batman Movie, was lauded for helping us keep faith in the Caped Crusader after DC and Zack Snyder’s horrid attempt.

Two very successful movies and audience expected the franchise to deliver yet again. Hell, people were lusting for it. But greed has no favourites, it kicks you in the nuts when you least expect it. That is what happened with The Lego Ninjago Movie. Yes, it is so bad.

Garmadon. Ugh.

Hollywood still has a massive hard-on for dysfunctional father-son relationships and this franchise hasn’t shied away from milking it in all three films. In the first, the son wants his dad to return to him and leave his greed behind; in the second, a son-like Robin is eager for dad-like Batman’s approbation; and finally, a super-villain’s son wants his absentee dad to acknowledge his existence and have a healthy family for once. While the first two masked the theme with a subtle story, The Lego Ninjago Movie gives it all it has got and then some. All would have been well only if the film had managed to spin the trope on its head like Logan and Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2 earlier this year.

Even the cat isn’t cute.

Llyod, voiced rather perfectly by Dave Franco, is a part of a team of six teenage ninjas with powers of earth, fire, thunder, water and ice like Captain Planet’s minions. Together, they foil evil warlord Garmadon’s -- voiced by Justin Theroux clearly imitating Will Arnett’s husky Batman -- plan to take over Ninjago, a clearly very Japanese city but full of citizens of American descent. Garmadon wants nothing to do with the son he left years ago but they have to join forces when a real-world cat gets unleashed on the town by accident. Over the course of a rather tiny adventure, they grow closer as a family but Garmadon is still not sure about ditching his evil ways for him.

Clearly, you would have guessed by now how this ends. This is basically all the film is, spruced up by Transformers-like mechanical suits and more characters than the Bible for kids to collect and flush hapless parents’ money down Lego’s pockets.

Buy me these toys mommy! They are only a gillion bucks! PLEAAASSSSSS!

The film struggles to induce even the weakest chuckles, has next to no ‘awesome’ music that set the mood so well in the first and has a villain whose intensions and personality change every time he breathes (or would breathe if he had a nose).

Jackie Chan also appears in person in the beginning and end of the movie and it is quite frankly the most awkward and dull we have ever seen him.

Jackie Chan and Justin Theroux’s characters are supposed to be brothers. Only Jackie Chan is Asian and he is still not Japanese.

Unless you are a kid who was just fed a jar of sugar, I’d say it’d be quite tough to keep up with this annoying, screaming film. So steer clear or inject a spoonful of Nutella in your blood stream if you are bent on watching it.

The author tweets as @soumya1405

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First Published: Oct 06, 2017 14:42 IST