Monday, October 9, 2017

I'm not gonna

Buying them? The best. Shaking the box and imaging the impending possibilities is pure no matter how old you are.

Building them? Even better. Meticulously, feverishly, everything comes together. You step back like Tom Hanks in Cast Away. Yeaaahhhhhh. Look what I have createddddd. 

But then there's the third interaction. When you're not exactly sure what to do with them. You just kind of stare at them blankly. what?

Sadly, it feels like all the initial joy and wonder of the shockingly good duo of previous LEGO movies [reviews here and here] might have finally worn off. And there, sitting on the shelf collecting The LEGO Ninjago Movie. Built with love but ultimately doomed to a Ziploc bag of anonymity, the third go-round with the shiny plastic pieces is ultimately missing a few bricks, to say the least.

I know nothing of the lore of the television show and its (number) year run on (television network), but as any moderately savvy dad of an eight year-old boy, I was at least remotely familiar with the LEGO Ninjago franchise. Color-coded ninjas used giant mechs to stop evil. Uh, and stuff.

The movie (perhaps?) adds a little more to the equation, with team-captain/Green ninja Lloyd, dealing with not only swarms of invaders on a daily basis, but the life-sucking secret that his own absentee father is in fact, their leader. After a few hilarious battles, Lloyd confronts his dad, the delightfully ridiculous Garmadon (Justin Theroux, doing his version of the Will Ferrell-lovable jerkface character), and sets in motion a series of events that will change their relationship forever. Lloyd was on the verge of throwing the relationship with his father away forever, but ultimately couldn't do it. And it's not because his dad never taught him how to throw.

The little things between Lloyd and Garmadon are quite funny, but unfortunately, not much else is. There's a few solid gags throughout, but there are entirely too many stretches where The LEGO Ninjago movie feels...boring (I hate that word). Maybe it's the law of diminishing returns, or maybe I'm just a rotten human being, but I wanted to love this movie (that initial trailer killed me every single time) and ended up not really liking it. least the popcorn was warm, right?

I wish my high school class would have been full of undercover ninjas.
We just had stoners..
Speaking of things that I initially enjoy (then vastly regret later), here are the Yays and Boos. My son bought himself a pretty hefty LEGO Ninjago set the very next day, which regardless of how I felt about the film, made me endlessly happy. Why would him buying LEGOs bring me so much joy? Uh, because I get to help him put them together. Obviously.

Dave Franco is pretty hysterical at times voicing Luh-loyd.

  • Any time with Jackie Chan is the best time. Can't wait for next week when the Drunken Master takes on Remington Steele!
  • So, could I borrow that wooden mini-figure for a minute, Old Guy from Gremlins? I promise I'll give it back. *tires screech*
  • How can you be my son? You don't even look like my son! My son is totally bald and has no teeth.
  • Yeah, those mechs are so rad, I totally want to get one for Christmas. I mean, I want Matty to get one. For Christmas. I'm a grown man. I don't But if I did, hypothetically, I would totally get that giant shark one that shoots, uh...sharks. 
  • What's up with the LEGO movies secret affinity for Jerry MaGuire? I know they're supposedly making fun of it, but I'm on to you guys. 
  • Garmadon's fire place is amazingly...literal.
  • There's a pretty rad woodwind rendition of It's a Hard-Knock Life happening here. Same with a little Guns N' Roses, too.
  • I'm pretty sure at some point in our lives, we all end up in the Canyon on general unhappiness.
  • The fight between Master Wu and Garamdon was pretty fantastic.
  • Garmadon getting to riff with the other ninjas might have been my favorite part of the movie. Loved his bit about putting his music on shuffle. Oh, and when he makes fun of Lloyd's voice? I think I might have peed a little. Just kidding. It was a lot.
  • And finally, easily the coolest thing about this flick, is the Ultimate Weapon. I'm 900 percent more a dog person, but that destructive killing machine was so adorable!
It's close, but Theroux just makes the podium for LEGO voices.
Liam Neeson has the silver (for Good Cop/Bad Cop)...
...and Will Arnett likely the gold medal winner for life.
  • We should probably collectively apologize to every person named Lloyd for the rest of their lives. However, my first name is Mario. You ain't exactly getting all that much sympathy from me specifically.
  • Man, the 'Lloyd is the worst' song hits #1 overnight, which is a kick in the pants, you know? Worse...that song is definitely not awesome.
  • Worse than the popular Lloyd dis-track? Just about any other 'original' song featured in this flick.
  • Maybe we're spending too much on outfits? You can never spend too much on LEGOs. Right? Riiiight? *sobs*
  • The voice cast for the rest of the ninja crew is rock-solid. Unfortunately, none of them are given anything to do. Kumail Nanjiani and Michael Pena need more to do always. (Oscar-winner) Jackie Chan, too.
  • I also didn't dig the way they handled Zane, the normal human teenager. There should have been way more laughs featuring this robot weirdo, but instead we're left with only a chuckle or two.
  • And finally, that's the real problem here, the lack of big laughs. Maybe I was just in a bad mood (I hadn't slept much in the three preceding days), or maybe it's just going to take some time (and viewings, like it did with LEGO Batman), but for the most part this one plays it too straight.

Maybe The LEGO Ninjago movie is the weakest of the three, but it's still certainly enjoyable enough for a rental or a quick stream on Netflix someday. I mean, maybe three big boxes of shiny LEGO pieces is enough for everyone, but let's be honest.

I'd always be up for buying one more. 

(Especially if it comes with sharks)


  1. I'm really glad my son hasn't expressed interest in wanting to see this, it just looks so bland. He's just been in front of Netflix watching the How To Train Your Dragon series instead lol.

  2. Visually, it's very cool and interesting to experience (especially if you're a LEGO nerd), and JT's performance is hilarious. But....outside of, maybe a rental for the little guy.

    You and those damn dragons!!

  3. I wanted to see this movie but I had better things to do and I passed it. Now that I've read this I'm glad I didn't spend money on it, but I think I'll still give it a chance when it comes on Netflix.

    1. Man...I wish I had better things to do. Like, ever.

      But, that's really not all that good (though very pretty to look at). Maybe it gets better with repeat viewings....which as a dad, I'll let you know how that goes.