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The LEGO Ninjago Movie Review (2017) | Ninjas Assemble!

Just when you were about to feel there’s no such thing as too many LEGO movies, The LEGO Ninjago movie walks in tall to prove you wrong. It does so with its weird plot rambling. Humour is great, makes you laugh all the time. Doesn’t have to struggle with that part at least. But the story-line of the flick is just sauntering pointlessly and you could feel it in your bones when the movie becomes a sheer exercise in lethargy.

It is long and tedious, with its plot being one of those cliched stories we have seen a dozen times over. It blends different kinds of flicks making spoofs out of them. However, the good thing about it is that the movie is almost intelligently crafted. With elements from real-time, for instance, a cat (Meowthra) making its way into the storyline effortlessly is probably a genius thing to think of about a LEGO city that’s built in a room, of course. That’s where the strength of the movie lies. Also, the animation is done brilliantly. For that, my heart just goes out to all those people who meticulously helped it to reach fruition.

Garmadon

The most cherishable thing about The LEGO Ninjago movie is a character called Garmadon. Voiced by Justin Theroux his perfect comic timing will make you guffaw loudly. It’s created and performed brilliantly. His carefree reckless attitude is the best.

I must have butt-dialed you.

Garmadon The LEGO Ninjago Movie

He plays the father to our protagonist Lloyd voiced by Dave Franco. Lloyd is shunned at his school since his dad is a supervillain. But the twist is that it is none other than Lloyd who is the Green Ninja who secretly fights and tries to stop his father from destroying their city Ninjago.

The way the twist is shown doesn’t feel like a twist, actually confuses people till they get it.

Lloyd: You ruined my life!

Garmadon: That’s not true! I haven’t even been a part of your life, how could I ruin it? I wasn’t even there.

Editing of The LEGO Ninjago Movie (Spoilers)

The story of The LEGO runs for too long pointlessly. That’s where the editing becomes questionable. It stretches too much with a neverending plot which seems to go nowhere with Garmadon the villain often bouncing to and fro, becoming the good and the bad guy himself. Then eventually we find out that the villain isn’t him but a cat. So that was a bummer! But from the vantage of the LEGO creatures, it all seems legit.

We could have removed many things, to be honest, and made the movie short and sweet. The time we see the second big assault happen and we find the Ninjago team getting badly ripped, till that point of time, The LEGO Ninjago Movie feels absolutely great. But then Master Wu (Jackie Chan) jumps in and the training begins which feels like a dispensable spread.

To make matters worse Garmadon, the badass villain he was, takes the journey alongside his enemies, helping each other out getting in on that estranged father-son bond.

Lloyd: On scale of one to ten, how bad is it?

Garmadon: Oh, I’d say it’s about a seven….point…..arm ripped off.

Most of the parts are too stupid to believe, that’s what forces you to stop taking any of it seriously. The secret Ninja force feels really useless, to be honest, with Zane being pointlessly robotic. I think he was chosen to be a robot for just one punch line.

The Mom is a Superhero too!

While some might have found it cool, I found it absurd. As if things weren’t gaudy already. Mom (Koko) voiced by Olivia Munn was a superhero and a role model of Nya. Another one of those dispensable sub-plots that were deliberately trying to make the movie something it wasn’t in the first place.

He was so ambitious. He said he wanted to conquer the world. I thought it was a figure of speech.

Owing to that the movie runs for an absurd amount of time. Such subplots are brimming aplenty and that’s what gnaws at the tale. Although it is understandable that they ultimately complement the story, and hence were chosen.

You can order the movie from here:

The Prologue and Epilogue Real-Time Angle

Another part that might have miffed a lot of people could be that dispensable prologue and epilogue part where real-time characters of Mr. Liu (Jackie Chan) and a child show up. Even though it feels like that imagining a story feels better that way, you could tell it was deliberately punched in to justify the cat angle. It was Mr. Liu’s contempt for his cat that ended up turning it into a villain.

Even though the usage might have slightly helped with the plot, you could feel an evident need to remove it, being an animated movie completely. The story in a story bit, we could have done without. Some things should be left to viewer’s imagination.

There is nothing out of the box about the story and it goes on inexplicably into a territory a subtle writer could have easily avoided. But the clever things remain limited to the cat and….okay that’s it.

The Lego Ninjago Movie Gang

Master Wu’s face always seems like it is smiling, an apparent artistry error. It becomes hard for you to concentrate on the serious things he says with a smiley face. I had a hard time listening to him and then slapping that face on him just made it worse.

The Final Verdict

The LEGO Ninjago movie is fun, no doubt. But there are so many issues with the movie that makes it less of a movie, more of a childish fancy, very similar to the stories we used to make, playing with our LEGOs. That being said, it is almost intelligent. But what stops it from becoming outright ravishing is its stretchy plot, and its numerous issues.

Au contraire, what makes it really worth watching is the one and only hilarious character – Garmadon.

Miss The LEGO Batman Movie? Read its review.

Check out the trailer of The Lego Ninjago Movie here:

Queen of Katwe Review (2016) | Chess Prodigy Phiona Mutesi Finds a Great Movie

Mira Nair’s movie Queen of Katwe is a stunning sports biopic that rhymes with the life of Phiona Mutesi, the chess prodigy with an impoverished devastating childhood. Phiona belonged to one of the largest slums of Kampala, so you can imagine how destitute she really was, growing up.

A powerful brain like that of hers was dying in that dreamless muck without any self-realization, selling maize and trying to earn an elusive livelihood. It was only until one day Phiona found her interest piqued by a game of chess that left her at her life’s biggest turning points.

still of Madina Nalwanga as Phiona Mutesi in Queen of Katwe movie

Queen of Katwe is the story of Phiona Mutesi’s gradual rise, from the hollows of abysmal conditions to a place where dreams get helmed. Of course none of it would have been possible if it were not for Robert Katende, the coach who never gave up on her, and saw her through every hurdle.

THE BEAUTY OF CHESS

Chess is hands down one of the most highly addictive games ever made. It makes you smarter and better. It presents you with a keener decisive brain. The brushing up it does is simply profound. Chess remains eloquent too. Its pieces speak of ideas that promise to mould you into a winner with time. In a way it reflects life itself. To choose to make a movie on something so vast was a winning move per se.

Queen of Katwe uses illustrations galore from the 64 blocks vague labyrinth where wars are fought invariably. William Wheeler uses plenty of lines that work in sync with the game to embellish the sport further. For example, this doesn’t go unnoticed when little Gloria tries to explain Promotion in chess.

“I call it Queening. In chess, the small one can become the big one. That’s why I like it!”

image of gloria played by Nikita Waligwa in queen of katwe movie

MOVING PLIGHT

The movie appalls you when you look at the lifestyle of the Ugandan slum. To impart you a drastic angle, in comes the very brilliant and convincing portrayal of Nakku Harriet, performed by Lupita Nyong’o. She lets you witness evil manacles of poverty and shows you the blunt ugly side of her fate, trying to raise four children all by herself. You can’t help but feel extremely sorry for her. The destitution that grows on upon her family is really unfortunate to watch.

But Phiona fights it all, fights it with the army she retains on a sheer board.

“Chess is a game of fighting. These pieces are my army.”

Madina Nalwanga‘s portrayal of Phiona Mutesi is brilliant too. A dream of becoming the Grandmaster that breathed in her mind comes alive when she goes on a conquering spree. It is nerve-racking to see her break down when she finds her dreams being crushed by privation. Also, the time when she shatters on falling from a mountain of overconfidence tingles your eyes. All of it has been beautifully depicted.

At the same time, you cannot ignore Robert Katende played beautifully by David Oyelowo. He remains the soul of Queen of Katwe movie trying at all times, his level best to uplift lost spirits. There is a teacher in him that constantly bellows streams of potency letting his children “The Pioneers” stand against the world. For that he is ready to make even colossal sacrifices that compels to you shower all accolades on him. He is a true champ!

If you wish to pre-order the movie DVD from Amazon, you can do it from here:

DIRECTION OF QUEEN OF KATWE

Mira Nair is quite a director, you must say. Not for a moment does she dwindle as she progresses towards the finish line. Eventually she ices it all with a pragmatic depiction of real life characters standing next to their actors. A subtle way of paying homage!

still of lupita nyong'o as nakku harriet in queen of katwe movie

SOME DOWNSIDES

If you try hard to look at the downsides I would say the first one is its language. Since, actors were forced to speak broken English things start appearing a tad contrived. Also, as mentioned above, chess is an amazing game. The beauty of the sport never really comes out talking in the open. This was primarily done in order to avoid indifference coming from non-playing audience. But, really we could have done with a proper nail-biting depiction of one game at least. Also, it scores a tad less in dramatic horizons considering titanic tears the script demanded.

At the same time, movie isn’t all bleak either. If you scour for hilarity you will find Benjamin another prodigy, played by Ethan Nazario Lubega as one of the most fun characters in the movie. The little fella brightens you up whenever he comes on screen.

THE FINAL VERDICT

Queen of Katwe is too good a movie for a Disney movie. We have seen how medicore Disney results have been in the past. But this Mira Nair beauty beats them all. It is also one of those rare great sports movie that puts your faith back in games again. Do watch!

Check out the trailer of Queen of Katwe here: