The law of diminishing returns starts to come into play with The Lego Ninjago Movie – a film I’ve been playing catch-up with as I know it’s been out for a while. It isn’t a bad film by any means, but the fact that it is based on a franchise that lacks multi-generational appeal means it has to work harder to please a broader audience.
This it does by revisiting estranged father/son themes previously explored in The Lego Movie. Lloyd aka the Green Ninja, and his fellow ninjas, save the city of Ninjago on an almost daily basis from Lloyd’s father, the evil Garmadon (a four-armed supervillain, who gained his extra arms because he got bitten by a snake that got bitten by a spider). Because Lloyd’s secret identity is unknown to all but the other ninjas, he is despised by other people in the city, who blame him for his father constantly attacking them. Events too silly and convoluted to explain result in Lloyd and Garmadon being forced to spend time together, cue predictable but poignant bonding, as well as additional backstory involving why Lloyd’s mother left Garmadon.
Directors Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan ensure there are plenty of good, goofy gags. One involving a cat and another involving a giant robot that fires sharks made me giggle a great deal. However, there is definitely a feeling of deja vu this time. There’s a good vocal cast (including Jackie Chan), and the film does just enough to pass the time entertainingly, but really this lacks the vitality of it’s predecessors.
Still, fans of Ninjago (my youngest son, for example) are in for a treat.