Disclosure: I received a gift box of The LEGO NINJAGO Movie items. All opinions are my own.
For LEGO fans old and new, “The LEGO NINJAGO Movie” (released September 17, Rated PG) is a thrilling film. The movie brings to life the Ninjago franchise of the LEGO brand toy sets and animated TV series featuring – you guessed it – ninjas.
The new animated adventure from Warner Bros. Pictures stars a bevy of celebrities including Dave Franco (Lloyd), Justin Theroux (Lord Garmadon), Fred Armisen (Cole), Abbi Jacobson (Nya), Olivia Munn (Koko), Kumail Nanjiani (Jay), Michael Peña (Kai), Zach Woods (Zane), and Jackie Chan (Master Wu). In this NINJAGO adventure, a group of high school friends leads secret lives as ninja warriors. Trained by Master Wu, the ninjas defend NINJAGO from the even Lord Garmadon. Also known as The Worst Guy Ever, Lord Garmadon wants to take over the city. In a subplot reminiscent of a certain film featuring a galaxy from far, far, away, a father/son tension-filled subplot runs along the main storyline.
Lord Garmadon is the father of Lloyd. When Lloyd was a baby, his mother left Lord Garmadon due to his evil ways. Lloyd and Lord Garmadon are aware of one another – enough that they have each other’s phone numbers. However, the warlord has never been present in Lloyd’s life. Bitterness mixed with teen angst drives Lloyd deeper into his secret ninja life, especially since Lord Garmadon has no idea that his main nemesis – the Green Ninja – is actually his son.
Watch The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Trailer
“The LEGO NINJAGO Movie” is an action-packed film. Lots of fast-moving visuals, bright colors, and witty banter (that parents will pick up and love) make it a fun movie. Though people often associate LEGO playsets with boys, my daughter enjoyed the movie. There were also plenty of other girls in the theater.
Bicultural Mama is a site that celebrates diverse families, and I grew up in a Chinese-American household. With this perspective, I found some parts of the film confusing. The film casts Lloyd as the son of Lord Garmadon and the nephew of Master Wu. The audience finds out the evil villain and Kung Fu master are brothers. Master Wu speaks with a heavy Chinese accent and looks traditionally Chinese. Lord Garmadon has no Chinese accent (and who knows what he looks like underneath his mask). Perhaps Lord Garmadon and Master Wu are biologically related but didn’t grow up together. However, the film reveals this is not true. In one scene, Lord Garmadon visits his childhood home, and we see photos of him and Master Wu playing together as kids.
As for Lloyd, he has green eyes and blond hair so it’s a bit of a disconnect when he calls Master Wu, a very stereotypically Chinese-looking and sounding man, his uncle. There is no trace resemblance at all between them, something you’d think would show up even though Lloyd’s mother appears Caucasian. I’m aware this is just a kid’s movie, so perhaps the writers didn’t bother to consider details. But these seem like a lot of loose ends with easy enough solutions that could have made the film hold together a bit tighter.
Nevertheless, “The LEGO NINJAGO Movie” was an entertaining film for both kids and adults. The film is available in both 3D and 2D and is playing in theaters nationwide. For more information, please visit The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Official Site.