The Lego Ninjago Movie Talkback (Spoilers)

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Matt Zimmer
Searched but I guess we don't have one for this yet.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie

The LEGO Movie was not exactly a great movie. But it was a good one. This one wasn't very good.

It's overlong, the characters and settings aren't well enough established to me, and it's not that funny. And the few "touching" moments it has don't play all that well because they are surrounded by ridiculousness, so I can't take them seriously at all.

Let's do a brief run-through at what did and didn't work.

Seeing Jackie Chan years later was very surprising. I am aware that human beings age, but he's an old man now. I probably should have expected that because he wasn't exactly a kid at the height of his career during the 1990's but I was still a little taken back.

I also want to say with no offense intended toward Chan, who I have always liked, but he does not have a good voice for voice acting. He's good at comedy in live-action, but his voice doesn't have a unusual or unique quality to it to distinguish it from other voices. And people will argue that his accent is thick, and that does counts. But not really. It's not enough for a voice actor. I suspect the fact that Chan's speaking voice is so normal which is why he didn't voice himself on Jackie Chan Adventures. Chan's comedy is based on the action-packed things he does, not based on what he says. And I'm aware he does not have an ideal voice for animation. He's too normal sounding.

The one touching moment that worked was Lloyd talking down the cat at the end while also addressing his father with his words. Normally the LEGO comedies are asking us to laugh at two things at once on different levels of reality and ridiculousness, but I liked that scene because it was asking us to take seriously what Lloyd was saying on two different levels. It is literally the ONLY "serious" moment in the film that worked.

I love that the Ultimate Weapon is a laser pointer that summons a live-action cat to destroy the city. If the movie were entirely ideas as creative as that, I'd have actually liked it.

I was disappointed, but not too surprised. The LEGO Batman Movie underwhelmed me too, but this was even weaker than that. Far weaker as a matter of fact. **1/2.

Mini Movies

Short promotional cartoons for the movie. The only decent one is "The Master" and they already included it on the LEGO Batman home video release. Nothing new good here. Overall: **1/2.

Shark E. Shark In "Which Way To The Ocean?"

Sort of cute. This is like part 2-D animation and part computer animation. **1/2.

Zane's Stand-Up Promo

That was awful. *1/2.

The Master: A LEGO Ninjago Short

This reminds me very much of Bambi Vs. Godzilla in that the main tension of the short is just getting through the opening credits. The pay-off here wasn't as great as that, but I did appreciate that it's clear they put in a lot more effort than that did. ****.

LEGO Ninjago TV Series Sneak Peek

I'm never seen the cartoon show before, and several interesting things struck me about it at once. First off, I was not aware that the movie pretty much used the exact same characters and premise from the TV cartoon. It's seems a little counterintuitive to do that because I don't think Ninjago is an iconic boys action brand the way Ninja Turtles or He-Man is. If I had made the movie I simply would have rebooted everything, premise included. Although watching this cartoon says it might not have been necessary. The movie was not good. But the TV cartoon is outright dull. Again, this was NOT the best property to bring to the big screen to say the least. *1/2.

Music Videos

Yeah, not a ton of great original songs in this movie. Overall: **1/2.

Oh, Hush & Jeff Lewis "Found My Place"

This was no "Everything Is Awesome". To put it mildly. **.

Everybody Have A Ninja Day

That was nice. ***1/2.

Warlord Ballad

That was awful. *1/2.

Rocktagon

That was a total earworm. ***.

Deleted Scenes

These deleted scenes are unusual for an animated film because with the exception of some of the voice-work, the animation seems totally completed. This fact confuses me about the last scene. Overall: ***1/2.

Animated Bridge Test

That was actually pretty good. I found it interesting that the movie used real plants for some of the backdrops. ****.

Baby Fight

According to the producers, this early fight was shown to Jackie Chan, and he was underwhelmed by it, so he decided to help the producers choreograph the rest of the fights in the movie. Truthfully? I personally don't see much wrong with this scene myself. ****.

Dock Scene

I don't know what to think of this scene. There are two possibilities. The first is what I hope the truth is. The first possibility is that this was an early storyboard for an entirely different version of the movie featuring a time travel story, and what happened was that the producers decided to put up the money to finish it for the deleted scenes. That happens on certain deleted scenes for some DVDs, but it's very unusual. The other possibility is much more unpleasant. This seemingly finished scene was part of a movie that was largely chucked out and started over from scratch. If the time travel version of the movie was this far in completion before the producers threw up their hands and started over, it must have not only have been awful, but doubled the film's original budget. I would prefer to think that the Blu-Ray producers just offered us a treat. Because the alternative is believing the studio wasted a small fortune on a movie that was mediocre at best. ***1/2.

Gimme Some Outtakes!

These were funny but I'm again alarmed. A LOT of these were outtakes for scenes that weren't actually in the movie, so my theory that an entire first version of the movie was scrapped, is lent a bit of additional credence here. ****1/2.

Promotional Material

I'll review the animated ones. Overall: ***1/2.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie: Behind The Bricks

Cute. ***1/2.

Silence Your Cell Phones

Meh. **1/2.

LEGO Sets In Action

A closer look at some of the LEGO sets from the ,movie. Neat. ****.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie: Back To School

I like that Nya has pictures of WildStyl, Unikitty, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman in her locker. ***.
 

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