A Priceless Review: “Lego Ninjago”


Tambov, Russian Federation – August 19, 2017 Four Lego Ninjago Movie minifigures – The Green Ninja, Wu, Garmadon and Charlie – on gray baseplate background. (Studio shot)

By Jake Price, Entertainment/Opinions Editor

Rating: 2/10

Water, earth, fire, lightning, ice and green. These are the six elements that make up the team of ninjas in the newest addition to the Lego franchise, “Lego Ninjago.” The movie tells the story of a young ninja named Lloyd who learns that his father is the evil Garmadon, and then has to work with him to rid the city of Ninjago from the terrifying monster, Meowthra.

Just like Legos, a movie takes multiple building blocks to form a solid entity. However, “Lego Ninjago” falls apart. Some careless mistakes were made such as unsophisticated writing, bad voice acting, and very poor design.

The main cause of the problems for “Lego Ninjago” is the writing. The story is rushed. The script doesn’t give the plot points any time to breath. For example, the introduction to the movie tells the relationship of Lloyd and Garmadon, the team dynamic of the ninjas, and the main conflict in one sequence. At a certain point I forgot what the movie was about, due to a rushed script. The writing also gave the characters no depth. You couldn’t connect with any of the main characters. You could resonate with Lloyd’s frustrations with his dad, but that was it. The script as a whole took me out of the movie.

All of the voice acting also took me out of the movie. Ninjago has some of the most distracting, soulless performances in an animated movie I’ve ever seen. The worst one was the main character Lloyd voiced by actor Dave Franco. His voice didn’t fit with the look of his character, his voice didn’t have a variance in tone or emotion and his voice didn’t mix well with the other actors. However, the standout performance that made the film watchable was Justin Theroux as Garmadon. Every line was perfectly delivered and his voice actually fitted with his character.

The other actors’ performances were okay, but they all were still horribly cast. Mainly in the sense of diversity and authenticity. The movie takes place in the city of Ninjago which is inspired by Asian culture. However, only one of the cast members is of Asian descent. The only one who is of Asian descent is Jackie Chan who plays Master Wu, but that doesn’t make up for the total ignorance of the casting as a whole. Hollywood has a horrible history with casting white people in non-white roles, and this film just adds to it.

As for the look of the film, I can only say one word: average. Both of the film’s predecessors, “Lego Batman” and “The Lego Movie,” have really amazing builds. Builds are the sets and props the films use that are made of legos. However, the builds in this film are not as spectacular. The city has a pretty typical design, the design for the vehicles the ninjas use have no use or purpose to the story and all of the locations have no visual consistency.

This movie is probably the worst film of 2017. The Lego franchise has made some fantastic films, but Warner Bros, the company that produced this movie, really dropped the ball on this one. There isn’t a ninja in the world that could’ve saved “Lego Ninjago” from such tragic mistakes.