LEGO Ninjago: From The Small Screen To The Big Screen

LEGO Ninjago: From The Small Screen To The Big Screen

LEGO movies can actually be enjoyable for ALL ages.
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A few months back my friend and I were having one of our weekly phone conversations. It was nothing out of the ordinary; we talked about how our weeks had been going so far, things that pissed us off, things that excited us, and plans to hang out in the future. About halfway through the conversation she mentioned a movie that she really wanted to see in September, it was called The LEGO Ninjago Movie. I had heard of Ninjago, mostly through TV commercials when flipping through channels of the TV, it was a LEGO cartoon series with seven seasons that also had short-length films. I had never thought about watching any of the LEGO-based cartoons or films before, but after seeing how popular and comical The LEGO Batman Movie was I decided to give Ninjago a chance.

After spending almost two months watching both short-length films and as many of the seasons Netflix had available; I admit, I’m a horrible binge-watcher, I actually grew to love this LEGO series. The show featured voice talent that I like and was familiar to me, and although the characters were animated they were created to be relatable to the average viewer. After seeing all of this I was really looking forward to the movie in September.

Walking into the theatre I knew the movie wasn’t going to be predictable to me in any way, shape or form. I knew it would be the same cast of characters, but I had heard through various internet sources that this film was meant to be a complete reboot of the series so it would be more viewable to a more mainstream audience who had no knowledge of the property. Since I loved the series and the characters so much though, I was more than willing to give it a chance.

For those of you who plan on seeing the movie but haven’t done so yet, this is where the spoilers begin. The movie follows Lloyd Garmadon (Dave Franco), the son of Lord Garmadon (Justin Theorux), an evil warlord who constantly attacks Ninjago in an attempt to take control of it. Lloyd is an outcast at school and all throughout the city because of his father’s reputation. He fights undercover as the Green Ninja whenever his dad attacks the city. His friends are his classmates Zane (Zach Wood), Cole (Fred Armisen), Jay (Kumail Nanjiani), Kai (Michael Pena), and Nya (Abbi Jacobson), Kai’s younger sister, who are also ninjas. All of them fight Garmadon and his evil army with mech’s that specialize in using a certain elemental ability. Zane’s uses ice, Kai’s fire, Cole’s earth, Nya’s water, and Jay’s lightning. The ninja are trained by Master Wu (Jackie Chan), Lloyd’s wise uncle, and Garmadon’s younger brother, who reminds them that each of them holds true elemental powers within them and will not be true ninja until they unlock powers and find their true potential.

Very early on in the movie, we’re introduced to just how the relationship between Lloyd and Garmadon works. Garmadon has no idea how to deal with his teenage son because he has not seen Lloyd since he was a baby and only remembers him as that; he does not even know that his son is the Green Ninja who is always ruining his attempt to take over Ninjago. During one combative encounter, Lloyd can no longer deal with the fact that his father neglects him and continues to make him an outcast because of his schemes and uses the Ultimate Weapon that Master Wu forbade him from using. The Ultimate weapon turns out to be a laser pointer which summons the movie’s true villain, a real-life cat named Meowthra. She begins destroying Ninjago while trying to get the laser and destroys all of the ninja’s mech, power before Lloyd can destroy the laser. Garmadon declares his victory, and Lloyd reveals to his father that he is the Green Ninja and he wishes that Garmadon was never his father before disappearing.

As the movie continues we eventually see Lloyd and Lord Garmadon’s relationship grow as Lloyd and the rest of the ninja must travel to the other side of Ninjago and cross through many dangerous regions in order to retrieve the Ultimate, Ultimate Weapon, and Master Wu gets separated from them and assumed dead. Garmadon now leads Lloyd and the ninja through the Forest of Dangers, Canyons of Death, and the Temple of Fragile Foundations, much to Lloyd’s dismay. On the journey though Lloyd is finally able to express how he really feels about being neglected by his father and how the people of Ninjago treat him because of his father’s actions. Slowly, we begin to see the Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker style relationship between father and son take a turn for the better.

Now being a fan of the show and seeing several seasons of it, I did notice quite a few differences. First off, in the show, Lloyd’s mother, Misako, or Koko as she is nicknamed in the movie is given a complete makeover to make her look younger, and though it is not mentioned, later on in the movie, it is possible she has an entirely different profession. Her personality is also changed so she appears as more of a “badass.” One of the most interesting changes that the writers made, however, was he cluelessness to Lloyd’s true identity; whereas in the show she knew her son was meant to be the green ninja and left him at a boarding school so she could research a prophecy that existed about him.

Next, there were the changes made to the other ninja. For starters, we know right off the bat that Nya is the water ninja, whereas, in the show, we do not learn this until a much later season, seeing how Master Wu himself did not know right away. We are also given hints right away that Zane is a robot, but I enjoyed that because of how comical it was. Cole’s personality is not given any drastic changes, but his appearance, like the others, does get altered, more so than the others. Jay is depicted as more fearful and reluctant of almost everything and rarely talks, a big contrast to his show counterpart. Lastly, Kai is still impulsive and appears to enjoy fighting like his show counterpart, but he is depicted as serious, much like Cole.

One of the differences that stuck out to me the most was Lloyd and Garmadon’s relationship. In this movie, Garmadon has not seen Lloyd since he was a baby because his mother left with him. Having no contact with his son and having no idea where he certainly does not help Garmadon, and while it may look like in the beginning that Garmadon does not love or care about Lloyd, it is simply because he does not know how to love his teenage son. He has not seen Lloyd in 16 years and therefore knows next to nothing about him. As we watch the second half of the film though we can see that he does truly care of his son and that has missed out on a lot of things that he continuously tries to make up for, in little ways, but he still tries.

While this movie has not been a box office hit, as a fan I thoroughly enjoyed it. I do feel that is because even if the movie was made as a reboot so it could capture the attention of a larger audience, I, as a fan of the show, noticed all the details of the story and the characters that I enjoyed in the TV series. I cannot say I prefer the movie over the TV series or vice versa; out of all of the LEGO movies that have been made so far, I think The LEGO Ninjago Movie has earned the top spot at my favorites list for all the LEGO movies.

Cover Image Credit: loopme.my

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Who IS Allowed To Talk About Gun Control?

I have more questions than there are answers but I hope that we are on the way to a country with far less gun violence.
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Who is allowed to talk about gun control?

I see a lot of stuff on social media saying that teenagers don’t know enough to talk about gun control. Why? If a teenager dies of cancer, their friends talk about cancer. If a teenager dies because they were hit by a drunk driver on Prom night, the high school scares their students into not drinking and driving. Guess what, 17 teenagers were killed last week. Why are their friends not allowed to have an opinion on that? They have been going to funerals every day since Friday. I can’t imagine having to go to the funeral of the guy I sat next in math class. People my age aren’t supposed to die, we are supposed to graduate and get our dream job. A high school student should be thinking about homework and what movie they're seeing this weekend, not if that noise in the hallway was a man with a gun.

In media, we project images of strong teenagers. The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, they are all books and movies depicting kids in situations they don’t like. The main characters fight the system causing an uproar from the adults. But, in the end the teenagers are victorious, their prize is happiness and spending their adult lives in peace. Why would adults feed their children these novels and not expect the message to be taken to heart.

Ou president is a 71 year old white man, there were approximately 14 incidents where shots were fired in a school. That is about as many as there have been in 2018. I have no idea what changed, what has made this number dramatically increase. But obviously something needs to change. Why does President Trump feel threatened by the idea of making the ability to purchase a gun less accessible?

Personally, I don’t think that we need to make all guns illegal. There are many people, several of which I’m related to, who legally own guns that have only ever been used to shoot animals during their designated hunting seasons. But, last week I watched in horror as the news story of a guy that I graduated with was shot and killed. He had recently bought a pump action shotgun and was showing friends when it accidentally went off and shot him in the chest.In our society, guns are not going to disappear, but they are far too prevalent and easily accessible to those who clearly do not need to be in possession them.

The students of Douglas High School do not want to do away with guns. They want to make sure that no one ever has to worry about their friends, children, siblings or any one else while they are trying to get an education. I have more questions than there are answers but I hope that we are on the way to a country with far less gun violence.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I Hate To Say It, But Social Media Is Ruining Us

Why post everything on Facebook?
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I'm guilty of it myself. I post photos on my social media accounts of a fun vacation I went on, or of my friends and I looking good and having a fun time. I strive for that perfect candid that was so unplanned but was still so cute. Events that I am proud of I share with my friends. I write articles just as I am writing this one, to share my ideas on the media.

But why do we have a tendency to share all this online?

There is nothing wrong with posting pictures that you want to expose to others. However, when it becomes a comparison, it becomes a problem. Often times, social media portrays people's lives onscreen different from their reality. Instagram can make it seem that someone is living their best life when in reality there is a failure to show the pure, raw and difficult insight or emotion your follower is actually experiencing. It can be a fake, false distortion that has the ability to put others down and reconsider their own lives. It essentially this "Barbie doll" misconception. Unfortunately, no one's life is as easy and perfect as we think it is.

Another issue faced by social media is Facebook's "What's on your mind?" question bar. I feel like this question is almost rhetorical, as if we all answered this question honestly with details, is it really what is appropriate for all audiences? Telling information face to face in our inner circle is one thing, but there is certainly a distinction between Facebook friends and true friends. People don't always have everyone's best interest at heart. Most of us are not close with half of these friends we have added. So why do we need to share our every movement of every day with them?

Sharing pictures of your own, your child's or a loved one's graduation or milestone is completely justifiable and in fact, encouraged. But when media is used to brag or showcase something that you would not normally discuss in real life, it may be time to reconsider.

We are told numerous times by our elders that we are overly absorbed in what is in our hands. We are not making as many everyday connections outside the realm of the device in our fingertips. I never thought that I would agree as much, and I hate to say that it is something I've become more and more aware of is true.

To conquer this general trend and harmful trend found in modern times, enjoy the moment and be present. Who knows if you'll have the same opportunity to be in the same place with the same people twice.

Stop recording the concert, and enjoy the fact that you're seeing one of your favorite artists live. Enjoy your beach day without making the entire day that is supposed to be about relaxation, about taking a good pic.

Social media is a blessing that we are all grateful for, but let's not let its curse get the best of us. Since when was this supposed to be a stressful thing?

So go on a cleanse. Put the device down, and go see the world for yourself, not for anyone else.

Cover Image Credit: pexels.com

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