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3 out of 4 stars

Title
The Lego Ninjago Movie
Written by
Paul Fisher, Bob Logan, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern, John Whittington
Directed by
Paul Fisher, Bob Logan, Charlie Bean
Starring
Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Jackie Chan
Genre
Animation
Classification
G
Country
Denmark/USA
Language
English
Year
2017

Proving that one can construct almost anything out of Lego, the Danish-based empire has built up a formidable Hollywood brand. With 2014's The Lego Movie and this spring's The Lego Batman Movie to its credit, Warner Bros. and Lego are populating a "cinematic universe" with box-office hits appreciated by kids and critics alike. And now (just seven months after Lego Batman) comes The Lego Ninjago Movie, a zippy 3-D computer-animated winner that shows the franchise super willing to establish its own Lego-cy by cheekily marauding into any and all rival empires. We have a hilarious Darth Vader-like villain (voiced by Justin Theroux) whose estranged hero son (Dave Franco) is part of a band of fledgling ninjas with unique superpowers and outlandishly mechanical battle-craft. Hello Power Rangers, Star Wars, Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Throw in a giant, fur-covered demon with a sandpaper tongue – a cat, the monster is a house cat – for Monty Python absurdity. The result is an irreverent, kinetic presentation with snappy dialogue and a hammered-home message that is graspable to even those with cup-shaped hands: One's true powers are internal, not external devices. The story involves a city attacked almost daily, with a young protagonist seeking a father-son bond amidst the warring. It all snaps together easily, just like it says on the box.

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