The LEGO Ninjago MovieU
There are certain franchises, loathe them that you might, that you can at least see their appeal and understand the holding pattern of titles waiting to be released. Think Marvel and their myriad of superhero flicks. It's a successful business model and therefore no wonder that others want to jump on that particular bandwagon.
LEGO clearly saw what was happening in the market and thought "we can build on that". After all, if anyone could put the model in 'business model', it has to be LEGO.
First came 2014's The LEGO Movie which had no right being as surprisingly entertaining as it was. Then there was The LEGO Batman Movie, which should have been far better than it turned out to be. And now this. And yes, there is a coloured brick pattern emerging.
Being a teenager can suck. Although being one made out of brick can't be all that bad; after all, you probably don't have to worry about spots or awkward growth spurts. Lloyd (Dave Franco) however, has a problem that very few teens have to deal with - his father is the notorious evil baddie Garmadon (Justin Theroux), who abandoned his son when he was just a bricket.
Everyone knows that Garmadon is his dad, so when he decides to get all evil and stuff on Ninjago, poor Lloyd gets it in the neck from his school mates. However, they may know his dark family lineage, but Lloyd has a secret they don't know; he's a member of an elite ninja force, tutored by Master Wu (Jackie Chan) and they use their powers to put a stop to Garmadon at every opportunity.
Garmadon however, isn't one for giving up and continues to do his best to bring Ninjago down, even when Lloyd is forced to tell him that he's actually his son.
Now this may come as a huge surprise to you but Ninjago is actually a popular LEGO theme. It's also got its own cartoon series, aimed at a fairly young audience. And this is at the heart of this film's main problem. The film, like the brand, primarily works with a younger audience, and doesn't work as well as, say, the more appealing Batman franchise. To that end, everything about it is annoying.
First of all the story; seven writers are credited with coming with it, which means that seven writers just stole the Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker storyline from Star Wars and stretch it out for an hour and a half. So if you're looking for a modicum of originality, you won't find it here.
The script is bitterly disappointing too, and doesn't have anywhere near the same cross-over appeal of the first LEGO movie.
Then you have the soundtrack. It is ludicrously poppy and will no doubt be embraced by anyone five or younger. For everyone else, the sound of nails scratching on a blackboard would be more appealing.
Where it can stand on its two LEGO feet is in the visuals department. Even if Ninjago isn't your thing, which is highly likely if you don't wear shorts on a daily basis, they know how to build stuff. Everything you see on screen is pretty impressive, and almost worth sitting through all the other guff for. But not quite.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie is nothing more than a 90 minute advert for LEGO, appealing to none other than those likely to buy the stuff and play with it. How it wasn't a straight to DVD release is anyone's guess, and as far as the LEGO franchise is concerned, this is most certainly a brick too far.