Sunday 8 October 2017

The LEGO Ninjago Movie (U) Review - At LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

No spoilers - I don't agree with spoilers...

We had thought we'd missed out on any previews of the new LEGO Ninjago Movie as we couldn't get down to London, but then we got an amazing invitation to go and see it at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre!

We've been to the Discovery Centre at the Trafford Centre many times over the past 6 years, but rarely when it's closed to the general public, only once at night and definitely never to see a full length movie. When the boys realised where we were going, especially with it already being after tea, they were incredibly excited.

First look at Miniland and everything seemed preparing for Halloween as normal as we walked through...until you looked a bit more closely...

They are not pumpkins. The whole of Miniland was decorated especially with invaders everywhere - all wearing hats and headgear that denoted the bad guy henchmen from the Ninjago Movie. Yes, that is a swarm of Puffer Fish on the bridge and Blackpool Tower is being attacked by Shark-Head People...

Inside the main hall of LEGOLAND Discovery Centre a new model has arrived to take centre stage - a gorgeous Chinese Fire Dragon.

We had the centre almost to ourselves for an hour and it was especially brilliant to see a large group of Cub Scouts and Beavers were staying overnight for a sleepover. I hadn't realised LEGOLAND Discovery Centre even did this - what an amazing experience.

It was really novel to see a full length movie at the Discovery Centre cinema. We watched in 2D and I didn't even remember it was also available in 3D, so it was pretty subtle. It's around 1 hour 40 minutes long - so be prepared for a visit to the loo midway with younger children.

The movie was very good and will satisfy any LEGO movie fan. I felt it wasn't quite as clever as The LEGO Movie or as tongue in cheek and funny as The LEGO Batman Movie, but still well worth watching and the boys laughed and squealed throughout. My youngest nearly clapped at one point - they were totally engrossed.

As with The LEGO Movie it starts with a 'real' segment, this time starring Jackie Chan. My boys have heard of Jackie Chan many times and recognised his voice from countless movies and TV Shows, so they were in awe. He plays a shopkeeper who encounters a young boy. The shopkeeper tells the boy to look at things differently - this is the over-riding message of the film. The animation then begins and we are with Lloyd, the other Ninjas and Sensei Wu (Jackie Chan) in Ninjago.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie revolves around the relationship between Lloyd the Green Ninja and his Dad - Garmadon. Garmadon has been absent for most of Lloyd's life and doesn't realise who he is battling. Lloyd and Sensei Wu know only too well.

Garmadon (Sensei Wu's brother) and his band of bad guys attempt to invade and destroy Ninjago. As they try to thwart the attack, the Ninjas suffer some damage and Lloyd resorts to the Ultimate, Ultimate Weapon. He has no idea how to use it though, and accidentally brings a great danger that threatens to completely destroy Ninjago. Garmadon revels in this, his work has been done for him. He has no idea that Lloyd is his own son and he mocks him for his error.

As in previous movies, the protagonists are humane underneath. They value family and friendship and only really want to be liked. It's up to Sensei Wu's Ninja's, and especially Lloyd, to break through Garmadon's crispy shell and being out his soft and gooey side, saving Ninjago and all of it's inhabitants.

There were some great moments that made the adults laugh more than the children, there are a couple of references to 80's music and old movies, and Jackie Chan is always willing to poke a bit of fun at himself. Just as with the previous LEGO movies, this film doesn't take itself seriously and this makes for some of the best humour. Escaping on horseback on 2 static LEGO horses looked as funny as you'd imagine.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie is rated U and we feel that's right - it contains nothing particularly scary and shouldn't upset any small children. 

Any LEGO fan will enjoy this movie and if they like Ninjago then they'll love it. Don't expect it to be better than The LEGO Movie or The LEGO Batman Movie, but if anything it's prettier, more likely to pull at the male audience's heartstrings and it has Jackie Chan! 

The LEGO Ninjago Movie  is in UK cinemas now.

We attended the preview evening as guests of Warner Bros and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre.

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