The LEGO NINJAGO Movie is now available on home release, giving fans the chance to re-watch the animated LEGO bricks meet kung fu film. This third cinematic LEGO release introduces the long-running theme in an original adventure bookended by Jackie Chan, who also voices Master Wu. Lloyd (Dave Franco) is the leader of the Secret Ninja Force, protecting NINJAGO City from the worst guy ever – Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux), who also happens to be his father. The two must attempt to resolve their family issues when a new threat is awakened, that can do way more damage than Garmadon’s shark army.
Unfortunately, The LEGO NINJAGO Movie does not go by any faster on the small screen than it did on the big screen. The plot meanders in strange ways, what should be exhilarating action scenes fall flat and – worst of all – it is nowhere near as funny as The LEGO Movie or The LEGO Batman Movie. The former moved at such a fast pace that there was no time to question it, the latter had a fairly by the numbers plot but papered over it with non-stop gags. This time around, jokes arrive on occasion, but they take too long to arrive and require sitting through repetitive emotional beats.
Just as the negatives translate to this home release, the positives do too. The picture looks absolutely amazing, with plenty of visual flair and attention to detail. Locations in the film are brimming with life and vibrancy, despite being built from LEGO bricks with some natural elements thrown in. The 3D is well used and provides added depth, for those who do not dismiss the format.
Going beyond the film itself, there is a decent slate of special features on The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Blu-ray. While the menu itself is dull and static, it unlocks some gems. There are three featurettes, the best of which is Building NINJAGO, a brief behind the scenes look at the making of the film. It is here that Producer Dan Lin acknowledges that three directors works on the film – but bizarrely only specifically mentions Charlie Bean. It is Bean who contributes to the various Blu-ray extras, leaving the audience wondering what Paul Fisher and Bob Logan could have done wrong to be so completely omitted. That said, the short featurette is so interesting that it is a shame it is not an hour long documentary covering the entire creative process.
The mini movies are fun, with Shark E Shark in Which Way to the Ocean an excellent short showing the battle for NINJAGO City from a shark’s viewpoint. The Master, the Jackie Chan starring short that preceded Warner Bros. Animation films in cinemas, is also included – which is good news as it is a wonderful piece of animation.
As with the Bat-Blu-ray, the promotional material is nice to have on disc, as it is easily forgotten otherwise in the wild west that it is YouTube. Some snippets are more fun than others in this section. The outtakes are a similarly mixed bag, but the three deleted scenes are great – all the more curious as they hint at different versions of this film that were developed. The audio commentary is hilariously overstuffed with participants – Charlie Bean is joined by an army of editors (nearly as many as the film had writers), so keeping track of who is talking is completely impossible, but film buffs will find plenty of interest.
Saving the best for last, the music videos special feature is worth the admission price alone. Like Billy Dee Williams’ hilarious voice performance on The LEGO Batman Movie Blu-ray, the absolutely lunacy of the sketch is laugh out loud funny. Presented as Garmadon TV, the live action introductions sees revellers in low budget home-made shark heads celebrating Lord Garmadon on what looks to be a Burbank rooftop. That these genuinely off kilter snippets keep sneaking onto these releases is absolutely wonderful.
The LEGO NINJAGO Movie is an imperfect film, and perhaps expecting the standard of The LEGO Movie to be achieved every time is too much to ask for. It does look beautiful though, and the special features on this release are well worth a look. Watching the deleted scenes, listening to the audio commentary and reading between the lines suggests that this film could have gone in a variety of ways, and provides context for how it finished up as it did. Without the bonus material, this release could be skipped – but fans of the LEGO movie series really should check out these extras.
This product was provided for review by Warner Bros.