The LEGO NINJAGO Movie will be the third LEGO inspired big screen animated release and the second this year – but although the new trailer shows echoes of the previous LEGO movies, it also gives the impression that this film will be fresh and very worthy of the admission price. So let’s break it all down and see what new information, secrets and LEGO fun are contained within this two-and-a-half-minute trailer…
Note carefully – this article will contain speculation based on the trailer and information released so far – the spoiler sensitive may not want to read any further.
Lloyd Garmadon is the son of Lord Garmadon – in the TV series, Lloyd begins as a villain but joins the NINJAGO team. Here, Lloyd has always been part of the group, aware that his father is out there being a bad guy. He lives with his mother, Koko, with the trailer showing him asking her about how she and Lord Garmadon met…
…which leads to an absolutely spot-on, hilarious parody of the meet-cute montage, with the 80s business-attired Garmadon sharing dinner with Koko…
…who is completely smitten, even though on the table are the plans for his secret volcano lair.
‘He had so many plans, he was so ambitious… he said he wanted to conquer the world.’
Although the LEGO NINJAGO TV series tends to be overlooked by AFOLs, the movie is clearly going for the same kind of sophisticated comedy, executed by the best in the business, that will have adults enjoying the film as much as the children. How does a four-armed villain with plans for world domination end up with a son? These are the kind of questions movies never ask, but the LEGO movies mine for comic gold. What makes it even more impressive is that while going for these great gags, the frames are still beautifully composed as seen in this shot of Garmadon and Koko riding off into the sunset.
Outside of Disney and Pixar, few big budget animated films bother to look beautiful, favouring cheap TV style animation as seen in films such as Boss Baby. This frame shows that once again, Director Charlie Bean and the talent behind The LEGO NINJAGO Movie want this film to look beautiful.
‘His dad ruins everything,’ says one of Lloyd’s classmates. Everyone can identify with not fitting it, and the outcast at school is always a sympathetic character – but layering that with the comedy that comes from Lloyd being ostracised because his father keeps trying to destroy the city is ingenious.
This eye-level shot of NINJAGO City shows an incredible level of detail that has gone into creating the Tokyo inspired metropolis, with an amazing clash of colours and styles drawing the eye to the various signs and decorations.
The scale of this movie is as impressive as it was in The LEGO Batman Movie. Natural elements are incorporated this time, as the rock in this cave demonstrates.
The Ninja team are regular high schoolers by day, so when Lord Garmadon strikes, a bathroom pass is the only option.
The school lockers provide means of escape for Lloyd and the team – note that the sliding effect uses LEGO as if stop motion animated – just like the previous two features, many of the movie’s effects and motion uses LEGO elements.
Master Wu is voiced by Jackie Chan, giving an extra level of hilarity to his lines. Despite the Ninjas protection of NINJAGO City, it seems they are still early on in their training when the movie takes place…
…as their inability to blend in demonstrates. The plant life is another example of how the story takes place in a child’s back garden.
The centrepiece of the film seems to be the epic battle between Lord Garmadon’s forces and the Ninja. This is the moment when Lloyd reveals himself to be the Green Ninja – up until this point, his secret identity was just that.
Again, the movie’s epic scale and animation team’s eye for an incredible cinematic shot is demonstrated.
Even the insects are brick-built.
Master Wu reveals to Lloyd that his father was once a Ninja too. It seems that Wu and Garmadon are fighting as a demonstration to the young Ninja.
As much as these features are full of great character comedy and clever twists on cinema tropes, they are not above some slapstick fun.
A classic device used in movies over the years is the trembling glass of water, indicating that something big and dangerous is coming. The trailer shows how that looks at minifigure scale.
It seems that the overwhelming threat that comes to NINJAGO City is enough to lead to the Ninja and Lord Garmadon putting aside their differences, as they are seen here surveying the situation together.
Gozdzilla! It looks like Charlie Bean and the writers behind The LEGO NINJAGO Movie opted to parody the monster disaster movie, with this cat representing the ancient monster awoken by the battle raging above.
The monster movie parallels are clear here, as the cat is seen scaling one of NINJAGO City’s buildings. Producer Dan Lin’s previous comment that this is ‘taking place in a kid’s backyard’ is clearly more relevant to the events of the film that it initially seemed.
Removing minifigure arms is unorthodox, so the filmmakers are having fun with it. It seems very convenient that Lord Garmadon has all of those extra arms here, as if they will be relevant to this scene…
What have we missed? Are you excited for the movie? Share your thoughts in the comments section.