The Lego Ninjago Movie (PG)

In a Word: Upbeat

The Lego Ninjago Movie

Master Wu (voiced by Jackie Chan) in The Lego Ninjago Movie. PICTURE: Warner Bros Pictures

"Like all the recent big screen Lego films, this one comes packed with heaps of cultural references,  humour and catchy music (try not to tap along to the Dance of Doom). But, significantly, the story also comes with some strong messages about the importance of family - particularly the father-son relationship - and a limited exploration of the idea of forgiveness..."

The creativity of 2014's The Lego Movie set a high bar for all Lego-themed big screen flicks and following the fun of The Lego Batman Movie of earlier this year, comes another which almost (although not quite) reaches the heights of the original. 

Built upon one of the Lego toy set 'themes' (known as Ninjago), The Lego Ninjago Movie focuses on Lloyd Garmadon, a teenager who happens to be the son of the dreaded warlord Garmadon. Living in Ninjago City, Lloyd (voiced by Dave Franco, younger brother of the more well-known James) has to face the constant judgement of those around him as they blame him every time his evil father launches an attack on the city in an attempt to take over.

But Lloyd has a secret - as well as being the son of Garmadon (voiced by Justin Theroux), he's also the 'Green Ninja', one of a band of ninja, who under the tutelage of the ancient Master Wu (voiced by martial arts legend Jackie Chan who also features in some framing live action scenes), manage - with the aid of mechanical monsters - to defeat Garmadon every time he tries to invade. Defeat, but can never quite crush completely, meaning it's just a matter of time before Garmadon and his evil minions, led by a series of generals, return to destroy the city once again.

It's that fact which, despite the warnings of Master Wu, leads Lloyd (pronounced, according to his father, L-loyd) to steal the 'Ultimate Weapon' (which we won't name here) and unleash it. As predicted by Master Wu, that's not a good idea and unleashes a further evil which visits wanton destruction on the city. Master Wu and the ninja then embark upon a new mission to find the 'Ultimate, Ultimate Weapon' which they believe will have help them reverse the evil the Ultimate Weapon has inflicted upon the city.

Like all the recent big screen Lego films, this one comes packed with heaps of cultural references,  humour and catchy music (try not to tap along to the Dance of Doom).

But, significantly, the story also comes with some strong messages about the importance of family - particularly the father-son relationship - and a limited exploration of the idea of forgiveness (and while there's some limited references to eastern mysticism, these aren't too strong). The CGI is once again stellar - the creation of "used" Lego pieces - again used in this film - is a masterstroke much in the same way George Lucas "weathered" the sets in the original Star Wars films.

It's a feel-good, upbeat, and creative film which works as advertised and there's enough here to keep adults amused as well as kids. A good option for all the family.