The Lego Ninjago Movie

Out Now On-Demand

Find the ninja within ya.

Six teens are high school students by day and ninjas defending their homeland of Ninjago by night in this CGI martial arts comedy featuring the voices of Jackie Chan, Dave Franco and Michael Peña.

Trailers

Directed by

Animated, Kids & Family

101mins

Rating: PG Low level violence

USA, Denmark

It’s a tough act following the masterful LEGO Movie and the greatest Batman film since The Dark Knight, but the LCU gives it a decent shot with their Ninjago brand. Playing as an earnest expression of the West’s love affair with Eastern films, The LEGO Ninjago Movie covers everything from '70s kung fu cinema to big monster flicks. While this setup makes for some cool blockbusting blockbuster moments for the family, it doesn’t have the smarts to follow the rectangular footsteps of the previous LEGO films.

Lloyd is at the heart of the film, leader of a secret super ninja squad that pilots mechanised animals. His father also happens to be the evil Garmadon, an evil warlord who commits evil against the city because… evil. Thus, the film kickstarts a theme cinema is strangely in love with: daddy issues. Unfortunately, while the previous two LEGO films successfully judo flipped our expectations in the third act, Ninjago plays out exactly how you think it will. It’s disappointingly basic, which isn’t to say it’s bad, but it certainly isn’t great.

However, despite having neither Chris McKay (LEGO Batman) nor Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (LEGO Movie) in the writing room, there’s still a good amount of humour mined from this LEGO-verse. One sees Lloyd accuse his deadbeat dad of ruining his life, to which he replies “How could I ruin it? I wasn’t even there”. Another uses an ‘Ultimate Weapon’ similar to The LEGO Movie’s glue cap to trigger an ingenious spin on Godzilla that’s too good to spoil. Sillier still, there’s a giant robot that shoots sharks yelling “nom nom nom nom nom nom” – this is objectively funny in any language.

The first two films are gold for being silly yet not stupid. Ninjago’s got the silly down, but when a plot turn relies on the good guys asking the bad guy for help taking down the bad guy, it gets a bit stupid.

Hollywood Reporter

press

A perfectly adequate family film for kids who love watching things they've seen many times before (which is to say, most kids), it offers plenty of chuckles for their parents but nothing approaching the glee of that first Lego Movie.

Variety (USA)

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Still plenty entertaining and occasionally very funny, "Ninjago" nonetheless displays symptoms of diminishing returns, and Lego might want to shuffle its pieces a bit before building yet another film with this same model.

The Guardian (UK)

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The franchise is showing signs of fatigue but for now, there's enough here to play with.

Collider

press

Although it doesn’t hit as well as The LEGO Movie or The LEGO Batman Movie, The LEGO Ninjago movie is still a delight, and a promising path forward for future LEGO spinoffs.

Entertainment Weekly

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So much screen time is devoted to paternal-abandonment issues that it seems more like The LEGO Kramer vs. Kramer Movie. And about as fun.

Sydney Morning Herald

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There are clever touches along the way – such as a subliminal pun on the phrase "inner peace" – but the plot sticks relentlessly to the most reductive version of the "hero's journey" formula.

New York Times

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I’m sorry to report that the Lego movie enterprise has lapsed into intentional mediocrity.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

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Starting to look more than a little threadbare and committee-written.