Movie Review: Lego Ninjago is a no go
Third time is not exactly the charm for The Lego Ninjago Movie, especially when it comes after the critically acclaimed, box-office hits The Lego Movie (2014) and The Lego Batman Movie, which was released earlier this year.
Save for some genuinely funny moments, the manic and irreverent humour - a trademark of the Lego movies - is almost non-existent in this third Lego animated outing.
There is not even a catchy song, making it, well, not that awesome.
My exposure to the Ninjago line, created by the Danish brickmakers in 2011, was from watching TV series Lego Ninjago: Masters Of Spinjitzu with my then five-year-old son and spending too much money on the many sets.
The TV show focused on the young ninjas learning to use their elemental powers and mastering the mystical art of Spinjitzu under their sensei, Master Wu, and their exploits to foil Garmadon's evil plans.
The heart of the story was the bond the six ninjas shared.
If only the movie's many writers - more than 10 - picked up some tips from the cartoons and kept the plot engaging.
Sadly, it largely revolves around the estranged father-son relationship between Garmadon and Lloyd, a recycled tale reminiscent of Star Wars.
There are some tender scenes between the duo, but Dave Franco's whiny voice gets quite jarring after a while.
Thankfully, the action sequences - choreographed by Jackie Chan, who portrays Master Wu and also plays a part in the live-action prologue - are admirable.
The impressive set pieces will also likely increase Lego sales.
The movie will likely appeal to the little ones, but for those looking for more punch, check out the small-screen version on Cartoon Network instead.
MOVIE: The Lego Ninjago Movie
STARRING: Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Michael Pena, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Abbi Jacobson, Zach Woods
DIRECTOR: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan
THE SKINNY: Lloyd (Franco) is having it rough as the son of Garmadon (Theroux), the villain who constantly terrorises the city of Ninjago. Thankfully, Lloyd has a close-knit crew of friends - Kai (Pena), Cole (Armisen), Jay (Nanjiani), Zane (Woods) and Nya (Jacobson) - to support him. Lloyd and company also happen to be Ninjago's masked young ninja heroes.