This is the 3rd film in the Lego movie franchise, with the first two being The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie. Both of the previous movies were received well by critics and fans alike as they are both certified fresh on rottentomatoes.com. Because of this, and how much I enjoyed the Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu TV show that The Lego Ninjago Movie is based on, I went into the movie expecting great things.
Now that I have seen it, I can say it was a disappointment, for the most part.
The plot is predictable with no twists on old tropes and ideas to separate it from other films that have come before it, making it a run-of-the-mill movie. The characters guiding us through the movie are run-of-the-mill as well. That means that the characters are just new iterations of different character types we have seen in movies and TV shows before. They’ve also been done better before, just look at the TV show for reference. That aside, however, the dialogue in the film is enjoyable enough, for the most part.
Because the movie is made in a predictable format and style, the pacing feels a little slow and drawn out. There are multiple parts of scenes, and even entire scenes, that I feel could have been left on the cutting room floor to save time and speed the pacing up just a bit.
There are some plot points that assume you have at least some knowledge of the TV show, and because of this, people who don’t will get lost for a few moments at the points those appear. It’s almost as if they were trying to plop the movie somewhere in the middle of the TV show’s storyline, but never let you know about all of the storyline they skipped over and then change some things so it makes less sense if you know about the TV show.
The look of the movie is phenomenal. Warner Bros Animation just keeps getting better when it comes to animating movies in the Lego franchise. It’s what helps keep me excited for future Lego Movie installments.
The movie is able to stay floating just enough because of how good the animation is and how good the voice acting is, especially Jackie Chan’s with his signature charisma. While I wasn’t blown away by The Lego Ninjago Movie like I was by The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie, I can’t say I absolutely hated it.
If I ever needed something to watch and it happened to be on TV, I’d probably watch it again. I feel most kids will enjoy the movie as the kids in the showing I was at enjoyed it and many of them were acting like ninjas afterward. Most adults will probably get bored with it at times or not have a strong feeling about it, however.
In the end, The Lego Ninjago Movie didn’t pull me too strongly one way or the other, either. I thought it was a perfectly okay film that, while not good, wasn’t horrible either and still kept my interest enough to both sit through it and say that I’d watch it again if it were on TV when I’m looking for something to watch. Because of that, I’m going to say that The Lego Ninjago Movie is worthy of the grade: Toss the Ticket.
Update to Movie Moment Grading
This semester on USF’s Movie Moment, the grading format is changing. For all movies from this point out, unless otherwise noted, they will be graded using the following criteria:
1. The pacing of the movie – was the movie moving to fast, too slow, or just right?
2. How the characters and the movie itself are written – are there good character arcs, good dialogue, and good acting choices, or was the writing of dialogue and plot clunky or unnatural?
3. How the movie looks – is the lighting, cinematography, or animation impressive and beautiful, or is it just kind of there and not done well?
4. How the movie makes me feel – do I feel how the movie should be making me feel, how it’s trying to make me feel, or nothing like how I should be feeling during the movie?
5. Any other good or bad things worth pointing out will be added throughout each review.
The sum of everything I talk about will result in me grading the movie by either:
1. Framing the Ticket – A grade; means the movie was absolutely amazing
2. Keeping the Ticket – B grade; means the movie was good, but definitely had some notable flaws that drag it down
3. Tossing the Ticket – C grade; means the movie isn’t good or bad, it’s just sort of “there”
4. Shredding the Ticket – D grade; means the movie was bad but can still exist in some form
5. Burning the Ticket – F grade; means the movie was absolutely awful and should never be allowed to rear its head ever again