The LEGO Ninjago Movie. This is yet another spin-off of The LEGO Movie, but rather than focusing more on one of the supporting characters like The LEGO Batman Movie did, it instead focuses on a character who literally had a 5-second long cameo, Lloyd Garmadon, from Ninjago.
"But wait!" you ask. "What on Earth is Ninjago!?". It's actually a franchise LEGO created themselves back in 2011, releasing toys, comics, and even a cartoon that you can watch on Netflix right now. It also is one of their most popular series ever, right behind Bionicle in sheer popularity. And I've been on the Ninjago hype train basically since it came out because I love ninja and at the time I was a huge LEGO fanboy that bought ludicrous amounts of pieces to build increasingly bizarre stuff, like the time I turned a LEGO version of Spongebob's Pineapple House into a helicopter with rotating blades that actually rotated! Unfortunately, it broke last time I moved, and now I can't remember how I even managed to do that... So sad... But the point is even after 6 years, I still love this franchise and I'm not the only one that loves it, considering it's the second most popular LEGO brand ever.
For those of you whose knowledge of Ninjago is virtually non-existent, Ninjago follows the adventures of a group of ninja who have to protect the titular city from evil forces, and by evil forces I mean LORD Garmadon, and if the surname is any clue, Lloyd is actually Lord Garmadon's son. It's also worth noting that for quite awhile in the TV Show Lloyd wasn't the main hero, that role could arguably be given to Kai, the Red Ninja. But the moment Lloyd gets ninja powers he basically stole the role of main hero. At least until season 5 for reasons I will not spoil.
The thing about Ninjago is that it's story is a little bit cliche, but not necessarily boring. I mean, sure, the TV Show really likes using Macguffins (Macguffins being collectible items that hold some kind of importance or power) to advance the story, but in a weird kind of way Ninjago does it's cliches right. But as I am a massive story junkie (lore, backstories, and puns are like vitamins for me), I WILL critique this movie if it winds up using ANY of the cliches from the TV Show, because no matter how well made a cliche storm is, it's lack of originality will make this movie boring, which is even worse than being bad. At least if a movie is bad, people will whine about how bad it is. If a movie is boring or forgettable, then nobody talks about it at all. Now don't get me wrong, I do love Ninjago, since the show is both funny and has some surprisingly good visual effects. But although Ninjago has rightfully earned it's fanbase, I simply can't ignore any issues it has just because it's a sacred cow among LEGO fans. Critiquing Legends of Chima is okay, but say you don't like Ninjago and you will face the wrath of a thousand angry Ninjago fans.
On a more positive note, the voice acting here is vastly superior to the TV Show's voice acting. This appears to be a rather unpopular opinion, because all the Ninjago fans are whining about how the new voice actors don't fit the characters at all, but I love this movie's voice acting. But then again, getting Jackie Chan to voice Sensei Wu was a brilliant move as far as casting goes. And I already have high hopes for this film because it fixes the biggest problem I have with the TV Show, which is Lloyd's voice. When Lloyd made his debut, he was a six-year-old kid, which was fine, because at the time, his voice fit him both as a character and it was believable for a child his age to have his kind of voice. But two seasons later and Lloyd gets aged up, becoming eye-level with most of the adult characters and becoming much more mature and grown-up. Only problem? HE STILL HAS THE EXACT SAME VOICE HE HAD WHEN HE WAS SIX, EVEN AFTER HE GOES THROUGH PUBERTY. It's so painfully difficult to take him seriously, all because LEGO didn't want to bring in an older actor to play the role of Teen!Lloyd. Not in The LEGO Ninjago Movie! They had the brains to bring in an actor that actually SOUNDS like a teenager! Which is what Lloyd is! It makes me so happy that they took the time to "fix" Lloyd's voice.
Also, as this movie revolves around ninja, I think we can agree that judging from the trailer alone, this movie will have, objectively, the best fight scenes we've seen from LEGO yet. We get a brief shot of Sensei Wu and Lord Garmadon duking it out in a bamboo forest (which has realistic bamboo, oddly enough), Lloyd fighting some of Lord Garmadon's minions while holding a baby in one arm and using a refrigerator door to fend off enemies with the other, and the fact that all six main ninja get really cool looking mecha (pictured below).
Also, Lloyd's mecha is a giant robotic Chinese Dragon. Which is inherently awesome. I mean, Kai gets a MegaZord-esque robot with flamethrowers for hands, Nya gets a robo-spider looking thing. Cole gets a robot with a single wheel in the place of legs, Jay gets a fighter jet, and Zane gets a tank, but we can all agree that Lloyd's robo-dragon is the coolest mecha shown thus far.
So basically, I am very excited to see The LEGO Ninjago Movie because I can already tell just from the one trailer that it fixes the biggest problem I personally have with the TV Show (Lloyd's voice). But since it isn't coming out until September 22, 2017 as of the writing of this post, I would like to put down some predictions/wishlist for this movie.
- I know a lot of people hate this character, but bring in Derrith. While everyone hates him for being a bit of an idiot, I actually liked the fact that he wasn't the brightest sword in the ninja armory, and as a comic relief character I found him to be quite funny.
- Although I still stand by my statement of The LEGO Ninjago Movie having the best fight scenes in a LEGO movie yet (judging from just one trailer, mind), the trailer didn't show Spinjitzu, which is a thing the six main ninja can do where they literally transform into tornadoes made of whatever element that ninja can control (think of Spinjitzu as Bending from Avatar: The Last Airbender), like Kai, the fire ninja, can transform into a tornado made of flames (the other elements being Earth, Lightning, Ice, and... Whatever Lloyd is... Like it's really vague on what Lloyd's element even is, some folks say it's Light, others say it's Energy, it's really confusing). They don't have to add this in the movie, but it's one of the franchise's biggest staples.
- Give me Pythor P. Chumsworth please. By far the coolest antagonist the show ever had, this anthropomorphic anaconda with a spiffy British accent was a really entertaining villain. Like, include him at the end of the movie in a "AND THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES", Incredibles style ending where after Lord Garmadon is defeated Pythor's like "Let's conquer Ninjago, chaps!" and summons the Serpentine. I mean, LEGO has no choice but to include the Serpentine at some point, since they were actually really cool. And if they include the Serpentine, they have no choice BUT to include Pythor, since Pythor is the leader of the Serpentine to begin with.
- This is by far the most important prediction/wishlist item that I want in this movie. Play "The Weekend Whip" by The Fold (aka the theme song for the TV Show). If they don't play this song, it will forever ruin the movie. Why? Because you gotta JUMP UP, KICK BACK, WHIP AROUND AND SPIN!!!
- Considering that Lloyd is a hero and his father is a villain, I'm expecting a painfully obvious Star Wars reference to be in the movie. Of course, it doesn't HAVE to be in there, but let's be honest, Lloyd is basically a dragon-riding ninja version of Luke Skywalker, while Lord Garmadon is basically a four-armed-zombie-samurai-thing version of Darth Vader.
So LEGO, if you haven't finished working on this movie and you're reading this very blog post, please put everything I listed just now into the movie, especially "Weekend Whip".
Oh, and that LEGO humor is still in the movie, if the trailer is any indication. Also, it's a small thing but I find the fact that Lloyd has his father's phone number saved on his Iphone as "Evil Dad". I also find the fact that Lloyd has his father's phone number saved on his phone at all to be hilarious since Lloyd literally ranted about how his father ruined his life mere seconds before that scene.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie is currently scheduled for a September 22nd release. And once I see the full movie, you can bet that I will review the full movie.