The LEGO Ninjago Movie

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  The Lego Ninjago Movie
 

High school student Lloyd (voice of Dave Franco) is so mercilessly ridiculed in his home town of Ninjago City, it's #1 hit song is 'Boo Lloyd.'  That's because the son is blamed for the sins of the father, in this case Garmadon (voice of Justin Theroux), the evil warlord who constantly attacks the city.  But Lloyd has a double life as Green Ninja, the leader of the Secret Ninja Force that has defeated Garmadon time and time again in "The LEGO Ninjago Movie."

Laura:
...or how the inventive surprise of "The Lego Movie" has turned into creative bankruptcy in just two steps.  While "The LEGO Batman Movie" had fun with its Super Hero world, it began the decline visually by not sticking strictly to a world entirely built of LEGOs.  Now the ninjas mix in all sorts of non-LEGO material while also letting us down in the laugh department.  Sure, there are a few funny bits and who doesn't love Jackie Chan (seen here as Mr. Liu and voicing Master Wu), but it took six screenwriters to borrow John Fusco's framing device from "The Forbidden Kingdom," plot elements from the "Kung Fu Panda" franchise and that tired old fathers and sons trope.

These ninjas don't even really fight much like ninjas, instead firing missiles from their mechs (Lloyd's is a green dragon with an articulated tail) while Master Wu urges them to use their elemental powers.  Besides Lloyd (the overgrown adolescent Garmadon amusingly insists on pronouncing both of the 'Ls') there is Cole (voice of Fred Armisen), whose element is Earth, Jay (voice of Kumail Nanjiani), Lightning, Kai (voice of Michael Peña), Fire, Nya (voice of Abbi Jacobson), Water and the half human/half robot Zane (voice of Zach Woods), Ice.  Lloyd believes his element, Green, is lame, asking why he can be 'Wind' or the 'Element of Surprise,' so we just know he has something to learn.

When he isn't attacking Ninjago City, Garmadon fires his generals out of his volcano for various infractions, a habit that will come back to haunt him.  When he finally conquers the city, Lloyd decides to use 'the ultimate weapon,' the film's best joke, but it backfires, unleashing a monster on the city that will become a common foe for Lloyd and his dimwitted father.

Kids may enjoy this, but most of the actual jokes will fly over their heads (on hearing his wards believed him dead, Wu responds 'I'm a ninja master!  If I'm going to die it would be to teach you a lesson!') and not enough of them land to keep adults engaged.

Grade:  C

Robin:
Robin did not see this film.
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