"Find the Lovin’ Ninja Within Ya"
The LEGO company’s “Ninjago” franchise, about a group of martial arts superheroes fighting bad guys, has some Eastern mysticism and occult elements in its various television and toy incarnations. However, the new, comical animated movie based on the franchise, THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE seems relatively free of that problematic, objectionable content. In fact, its basic plot centers on the strong pro-family, moral premise of reconciling a son with his estranged father and reuniting the boy’s mother with the father. So, it’s actually a very heartfelt family movie with lots of colorful, fun action and many funny moments.
The movie begins with a real-life shop owner, played by Jackie Chan, telling a young boy about the story of the Green Ninja, to show the boy that true power comes from within. In the island city of Ninjago, the Green Ninja and his team of mechanized ninja warriors periodically must stave off attacks from an evil warlord named Garmadon trying to take over Ninjago. The ninjas are led by a wise old ninja named Master Wu.
What Garmadon and the people of the city don’t know is that the Green Ninja is actually a 17-year-old nerdy teenager named Lloyd, who lives with his mother Koko. Lloyd and his team of ninjas are all students at the local high school. Lloyd is persona-non-grata at the high school because of his father’s attacks on Ninjago. Everyone shuns him.
Garmadon attacks the city once again and manages to defeat Lloyd and his ninjas for the first time. During the battle, Lloyd reveals to his father that he’s the Green Ninja, who’s been Garmadon’s nemesis. Garmadon annoys his son by deliberately mispronouncing Lloyd’s name as “La-loyd.” The father’s attitude causes Lloyd to have some harsh words with his father, which later causes him some guilty feelings.
When Lloyd learns Master Wu has an “ultimate weapon,” he demands that Master Wu give him access to the weapon. Master Wu says the weapon is too powerful for him. Lloyd doesn’t listen to Wu and uses the weapon to try to defeat his father once and for all.
However, the weapon unleashes a dangerous creature that starts destroying the city. So, led by Master Wu, Lloyd and his friends must travel to a perilous country to find the one thing that might put things right. Unfortunately, Garmadon is hot on their trail. Eventually, Garmadon and Lloyd must find a way to overcome their differences and defeat the monster attacking the city.
THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE is nonstop ninja nuttiness, with several funny, creative twists. The movie is lots of fun throughout and doesn’t seem to have much of the Eastern mysticism or occultism that infects the toy and television incarnations of LEGO’S Ninjago franchise. Master Wu talks to the young ninjas about finding the power within them, but the greatest power within turns out to be Lloyd’s ability to reconcile with his father and bring his family back together again. He also must learn how to unify his ninja pals into a cohesive group that works together.
So, in the end, the movie promotes family reconciliation. In that light, one of the movie’s highlights is when Garmadon teaches his son Lloyd how to throw. Even that heartfelt moment has a funny twist: Garmadon forgets to teach Lloyd how to catch. The movie’s story of reconciliation between the father and the son softens the father’s heart and leads to his redemption. It also results in a reconciliation between the father and Lloyd’s mother.
Ultimately, THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE is one of the better family movies of 2017. Caution is advised for younger children for some of the movie’s action, cartoon violence.
(BBB, CC, O, L, VV, M) Very strong moral, pro-family worldview with strong redemptive elements promoting family reconciliation, forgiveness, redemption of a father who’s gone astray, and a symbolic death and resurrection, some light occult elements regarding superpowers associated with things like lightning or water and ambiguous statements about “the power is inside you,” but the greatest superpower in the movie is the power of the hero to reconcile and unify his family and connect the good guys with one another so they will be better able to fight, stop and overcome evil or any problems that come their way; several uses of the word “butt” in a potentially objectionable way; strong action cartoon violence but often funny and not super-intense, such as villains threaten city and its people, flying machines resembling dragons crash, laser-type and projectile weapons are fired, a few buildings are knocked down by one creature who frightens people, but the scenes are also pretty funny and even adorable, some martial arts fighting, mentor falls from a great height into water and is presumed dead, and LEGO character’s arm falls off but it’s put back into the hole in the character’s side; no sex; no nudity; no alcohol; no smoking or drugs; and, some miscellaneous immorality such as father abandoned the hero and his mother, son has some harsh words toward the father who abandoned him, and father is self-absorbed and obsessed with being a bad guy, but everything works out all right in the end.
THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE is a lighthearted animated comedy about healing a broken family. In the island city of Ninjago, the Green Ninja and his mechanized ninja warriors periodically stave off attacks from Garmadon, an evil warlord. The ninjas are led by a wise teacher, Master Wu. What Garmadon and Ninjago’s citizens don’t know is that the Green Ninja is actually Garmadon’s teenage son, Lloyd. As the Green Ninja, Lloyd uses an “ultimate weapon” to stop Garmadon. However, the weapon unleashes a monster who starts destroying the city. Eventually, Garmadon and Lloyd must overcome their differences to stop the monster.
THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE is nonstop ninja nuttiness, with funny, creative twists. It doesn’t seem to have the Eastern mysticism that infects the toy and television incarnations of LEGO’s Ninjago franchise. In fact, the movie has a strong pro-family worldview. The reconciliation between Lloyd and his father leads to the father’s redemption. It also results in reconciliation between the father and Lloyd’s mother. So, THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE is a heartfelt family movie with lots of colorful, fun action and many funny moments.