I recently reviewed the Lego Ninjago Movie Videogame, which is great fun. Today we saw the film the game is obviously based on, and it was equally as awesome.
The writers for Lego are ridiculously good.
I swear they must go through the story with a loose plot, then run through with a base script, then run through with kid friendly jokes, then run through one last time with discrete adult gags and sarcasm. It’s the perfect process!
The story focuses around Lloyd Garmadon, son of the evil Lord Garmadon who has been attacking Ninjago daily for as long as anyone remembers with his ludicrous range of shark shooting robots.
Every inch of this film can be boxed up and sold as a ‘Lego Ninjago Box Set’ and whilst many people would see that as rampant commercialism gone wild, I find it fascinating.
Normally you watch a kids film and your kids want the toy equivalent. As seasoned adults who grew up falling for every advert possible, we know that they never live up to the hype because most kids don’t have a fully fledged jungle set on hand to have their action man fight in, or a city for Barbie to go shopping in.
With lego though, the toy IS the world, and the designers of this world must’ve been some of Lego’s biggest fans, given an unlimited pile of bricks to just ‘figure it out’ for themselves.
We have awesome dragon airships, a giant humanoid robot that shoots sharks, planes, all terrain vehicles, and loads of other vehicles that look both extremely cool and like the true spirit of Lego – a mismatch of bricks that aren’t from the same ‘set’ meaning a kid could in theory cobble them together themselves from a box of lego lying around the house.
I love that my kids get to grow up in a time where films like this aren’t there to make them want some boring plastic piece of junk. Instead it’s making them want building sets so they can sit and build their toys from scratch and then break them apart and repurpose them.
Even my wife and I were looking at them thinking some of the more intricate ones would make for awesome projects to pass the time.
In this film they took your standard ninja martial arts tropes and built a fun story that my family enjoyed across the board from 4 to 34. Jackie Chan was great fun, and the kid he told the story to was less ‘Whiney American’ than the kid in the original Lego Movie.
On the scale of things, I’d say that Lego movie was more ground breaking and Lego Batman had a whole wealth of lore to lean on, but Ninjago was great in that it breaks away from ‘basic lego’ or ‘themed lego’ into their own Lego owned IPs. I’d like to see what else they have in their armoury.
They already did a Bionicle movie series for their (apparently discontinued) line of really technical robots. I always thought those kits looked cool, but never got into the lore. I am surprised to see they made multiple films, and also even more surprised that Bionicle made them so much money it rescued the company from its late 90s financial crisis.
I’d place Ninjago above this as from the limited view I’ve had, Bionicles were a bit more serious.
Aimed at 8-16 year olds and a little geeky. Ninjago, Lego Movie, and Lego Batman are aimed squarely at parents first, with everything filtering down towards them selling a ton of bricks at Christmas time. It is genius.
Theres also Lego Nexo Knights and Lego Elves which I’d expect to see something from in future if they can do a good job. A quick google search shows me that they are making a Lego DC Girl Super Hero film too which would be awesome. I kinda wish DC had come up with a better name for that group of heroes though haha. Yeah it does what it says on the tin, but still!
Anyways, ultimately you should go and see Lego Ninjago if you liked the other two films, or if you have kids who would enjoy being lead to want Lego for Christmas. I consider that a healthy thing to encourage, rather than some ugly dolls. So I’m all for it!
Let me know in the comments if you have seen it, what you thought of it, or if you don’t particularly like the Lego series.
One big argument seems to be that just because the characters are lego it doesn’t make the story become good. I can see that point, but somehow it does. I don’t really get it, as if the stories for all 3 of their biggest films had been acted by humans or plain cartoon characters they’d not have been as special.
I hope Lego can maintain the magical feeling and keep this going for at least another 5-10 years.
Give me until my kids are too old to care, that’s all I ask!