the Middle East


Last night I found out on the Hamleys Jordan Facebook Page that I’d won two tickets to attend the premiere of The Lego Ninjago Movie in Prime Cinemas, Abdali Mall, Amman, Jordan. I’m sure you can imagine Alexander’s reaction when I told him this morning.

The Lego Ninjago movie takes place in the vaguely Japanese city of Ninjago, located on Ninjago Island, where residents wake up each morning watching ‘Good Morning Ninjago’ with Lego Michael Strahan and Lego Robin Roberts. They’re never at a loss for news stories: Ninjago is attacked roughly once a day by the four-armed megalomaniac Garmadon and his army of henchmen, who live in a conveniently located active volcano just off the island’s shores. And, roughly once a day, they’re repelled by a sextet of masked teenage ninjas who do battle in elaborate mechanical warcraft.

A tongue-in-cheek mashup of “Power Rangers,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Captain Planet,” these ninjas are coached by gnomic sensei Master Wu (Jackie Chan, also glimpsed in live-action bookend segments) and each have colour-codings and martial styles rooted in various elements: We have red fire ninja Kai, black earth ninja Cole, grey water ninja Nya, blue lightning ninja Jay and white ice ninja Zane, an android. Getting the short end of the stick here is the green ninja, Lloyd, whose elemental power is…’green’. Even worse, though he attracts cheering crowds in his green ninja costume, the civilian Lloyd is best known for being Garmadon’s estranged son, and he has a hard time navigating high school when he’s blamed for his father’s rampages.

Lloyd’s Oedipal angst hits a peak when Garmadon butt-dials him on his 16th birthday, vaguely surprised to learn that his son is no longer an infant. Lloyd channels his anger into fighting, but when Garmadon arrives equipped with an impenetrable power-suit, Lloyd steals Master Wu’s ultimate weapon, a laser pointer that attracts an enormous cat demon (played by an actual, non-Lego cat) who promptly begins destroying the city. To vanquish the kitty, the ninjas must go on a quest to retrieve the ultimate-ultimate weapon, and end up capturing Garmadon along the way, allowing for some belated father-son bonding.

Alexander and I truly enjoyed watching the movie. I believe it’s appropriate for most children, packing plenty of laughs along with clear (if not particularly deep) messages of empowerment, acceptance, and courage. While there’s a fair bit of fighting/action (along the lines of earlier Lego movies), it’s not constant, and since it’s meant to evoke how children play with toys, it doesn’t resemble anything realistic, whether in the kung fu-like scenes or when blasters are fired. There’s talk of parents breaking up, but no emotionally challenging moments related to the topic. I believe that it will entertain adults nearly as much as it will younger audiences. As with all Lego movies, shows, and games, it also serves as a feature-length toy ad, but you may not care because it’s good fun.

Even if you have no affinity for the Ninjago brand or never watched an episode of the TV series, you’ll still find plenty to enjoy with these silly little ninjas.

Thanks again for the tickets Hamleys and for the fun activities you organised before the film started.

All the Lego Ninjago toys are available at Hamleys.