The LEGO Ninjago Movie, an excruciating experience with little to no redeeming qualities

The LEGO Ninjago Movie, based on the Cartoon Network show, is the third movie in the LEGO Universe, created by The LEGO Movie in 2014.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie, based on the Cartoon Network show, is the third movie in the LEGO Universe, created by The LEGO Movie in 2014.

Seth Ritchie, Contributing Writer

The LEGO Ninjago Movie, released Sept. 22, 2017, is the third movie in The LEGO Movie franchise and follows a team of ninjas led by Lloyd (Dave Franco) as they fight off advances on the city of Ninjago by Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux), who just so happens to be Lloyd’s father.

There is frankly an astounding lack of good qualities in this movie, especially considering Ninjago is following The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie, two of the best animated films of the decade. The animation was competent, but nowhere near as visually engaging as its predecessors. The seven writers credited did try to touch on the emotional themes of the past two films, with the issue of parental abandonment as a ripe subject for commentary, but it fell short due to awful characters. Jackie Chan is charismatic as ever as both Master Wu and Mr. Liu, the narrator of the story, even if the script gives him nothing to do and he does not even seem to want to be on the set.

Apart from the three things mentioned above, everything else in this movie is a mess. All the performances were monotone and felt phoned in, the story was nonsensical, relying on audience members to suspend any and all disbelief for it to make any sense whatsoever, and the movie pandered to its target audience to a disgusting degree. Even basic storytelling elements are thrown out in favor of pure refuse, with the “low point” coming in the first act and revelations that could have been emotional being revealed in the first half hour. The sound mixing is also terrible, as any music played during the film is quiet at all times compared to dialogue and actions, even during montages and other sequences where the soundtrack is the only auditory stimulus. Ninjago’s pacing was incredibly off as well to the point where the movie felt much longer than its 101 minute long run time. In following the fast paced humor of its predecessors, Ninjago throws everything at the audience in a vain attempt to make anyone laugh, and yet not a single joke landed.

It has been a long time since a movie actively hurt me. I was willing myself into unconsciousness in order to escape the waking purgatory that was this film. There were hardly any redeeming qualities to The LEGO Ninjago Movie, and they were squandered by an appalling script, apathetic performances, and a lack of anything that made its predecessors good.