When I sat down to compile a list of the best animated movies of 2017, I realized that the selection was shockingly meager. Outside of Pixar and Disney, animation has never been the pride of Hollywood, often appealing to the lowest common denominator rather than stretching the limits of what animated storytelling can do. That’s a job for the foreign animated flicks or for the arthouse indie films. Mainstream animated films only have to keep kids occupied while their parents run errands.
But there was something exceptionally horrible about 2017’s mainstream animated offerings. Aside from Coco, Cars 3, and The Lego Batman Movie, Hollywood has had a pretty bad year for animated movies. Don’t remember what came out this year? The Emoji Movie, The Boss Baby, and Smurfs: The Lost Village, just to name a few. Now you see what I mean.
Compared to last year, which boasted fantastic widely released films from high-profile studios like Disney’s Moana and Zootopia and smaller studios like Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings, this year’s wide-release animated movies have little in the way of critical acclaim. How can there be such a difference in quality in one year? Let’s dive into it.
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(Welcome to Not Dead Yet, a feature dedicated to what’s new on Blu-ray and what special features you should be excited about. Because yes, some of us still like to own physical copies of our movies.)
We’re almost there, folks! 2017 is almost at an end, and as we burn through the holiday season, it’s time to kick back and catch up on some new films you might’ve missed in theaters. That’s where good old Blu-rays come in. Yes, that’s right – there’s more to movies than streaming. Pretty sure I mentioned that before. I’ve put together a jam-packed new Blu-ray round-up for you to close out the year. There’s a lot of good stuff here, including one of Christopher Nolan’s best films; a polarizing horror movie from Darren Aronofsky; a surprisingly honest biopic; a harrowing Kathryn Bigelow drama based on a true story; yet another one of those dang Lego movies; a spy sequel; and a true crime miniseries. Here are the new Blu-ray releases you should check out this week.
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Even after decades of toy-based movies, it still seemed impossible that the 2014 animated film The LEGO Movie could ever work. A movie that uses the minifigs that cause kids delight and parents frustration when they fall underfoot? Ridiculous. And yet, The LEGO Movie was a surprisingly, gleefully anarchic story that managed to rise above its corporate origins. A few months ago, that film’s creative and financial success spawned, naturally, a spin-off: The LEGO Batman Movie, which was just as satisfying as its predecessor despite presenting the umpteenth version of the Caped Crusader. Now, because success begets more stabs at success, we have The LEGO Ninjago Movie. This one doesn’t derive inspiration from any of the characters from the world where everything is awesome, but retains the same tone and spirit, to the point of being a bit too familiar.
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Not too long ago, we highlighted a new featurette for The LEGO Ninjago Movie that took us behind the scenes of the animated spin-off to The LEGO Movie. We got to meet the cast, see some improvisation done during dialogue recording, and see new footage from the movie. Now we get a different kind of glimpse behind the scenes, this time within the world of the movie itself.
A new fully animated featurette takes audiences “behind the bricks” of The LEGO Ninjago Movie, guided by the characters in the movie as if they were the real actors bringing the story to life. Not only does it provide some amusing introductions for the film’s characters, but it shows off a bunch of new footage from the movie as well. Read More »
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Though there doesn’t seem to be as much pomp and circumstance surrounding The LEGO Ninjago Movie as there was The LEGO Movie and the spin-off The LEGO Batman Movie, the more I see of the latest expansion of the LEGO cinematic universe, the more excited I get to see it.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie takes a cue from the LEGO building brick set of the same name, which has already spawned an animated series. But this feature adaptation has no narrative ties to the animated series, which means audiences of all ages can go into the movie without having to know anything except that this is another clever LEGO movie with a fantastic voice cast behind it. The LEGO Ninjago Movie featurette that was just released online goes behind the scenes with the cast, reveals new footage and shows a surprising amount of improvisation for an animated movie. Read More »
There have been more and more LEGO sets tied in with movies in recent years, especially since The LEGO Movie sparked a whole cinematic universe of movies featuring the building block toys. With The LEGO Ninjago Movie arriving in September, there’s a brand new line of LEGO sets bringing several vehicles, settings and all the characters from the movie, but none are quite as impressive as one particular set.
Ninjago City is just one of several LEGO sets that will be released in September in conjunction with the release of The LEGO Ninjago Movie, but it’s the one that deserves the most recognition because it’s the third largest LEGO set ever released to the public. Get a better glimpse at the Ninjago City LEGO set below. Read More »
Everyone who enjoyed The LEGO Movie saw the animated building brick world become even bigger with The LEGO Batman Movie earlier this year. Now it will expand into a totally different arena with yet another LEGO branded adventure.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie takes one of the building brick company’s most popular toylines, one that already has its own animated series on TV, and brings the action to the big screen with a completely new story and an all-star comedy cast. A new trailer debuted during San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, and it has the same humor and creativity as the previous LEGO movies. Watch it below! Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 by Angie Han
It took Warner Bros. a while to get out a follow-up to 2014’s The Lego Movie, but now we’re getting two of them in one year. This weekend marks the debut of The Lego Batman Movie, featuring the return of the tiny plastic minifig version of the Dark Knight. Then this fall we’re getting The Lego Ninjago Movie, centered around an entirely new cast of characters based on a distinct Lego toyline.
Dave Franco voices Lloyd, a young secret ninja who’s friends with a bunch of other young secret ninjas. When his dad, the evil lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux) poses a threat, Lloyd and his friends must take him down with the guidance of their mentor, Master Wu (Jackie Chan). Olivia Munn plays Lloyd’s mom Koko, and Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Peña, and Zach Woods round out the core cast as Lloyd’s buddies. Click through to watch the first The Lego Ninjago Movie trailer. Read More »
This week brings The LEGO Batman Movie to theaters, but it’s not the only spin-off from The LEGO Movie we can look forward to before The LEGO Movie Sequel arrives in 2019 (which just got a new director). There’s also The LEGO Ninjago Movie, and our first look at the animated martial arts flick has just arrived.
The first LEGO Ninjago Movie photos have just arrived, showing off the team of teenage ninja heroes voiced by Dave Franco, Michael Pena, Zach Woods, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani and Abbi Jacobson. We also get a first look at the villain voiced by Justin Theroux, and a new look at the master voiced by Jackie Chan. Check out The LEGO Ninjago Movie photos after the jump.
UPDATE: We have a LEGO Ninjago Movie trailer tease which you can also watch below. Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 by Angie Han
Jackie Chan has shown off a lot of impressive moves and battled a lot of formidable foes over the course of his career. But in the first clip from The Master: A Lego Ninjago Short, his tiny plastic counterpart meets his match… in the form of an annoying little chicken voiced by Abbi Jacobson.
The short film, which premieres in front of Warner Animation Group’s Storks later this fall, looks plenty fun in its own right. But it also represents our best look yet at The Lego Ninjago Movie, the Lego Movie spinoff featuring Chan as a kung fu master who must lead his mentees against the evil warlord Garmadon. Justin Theroux narrates The Master, although you won’t hear him in this particular scene. Watch the Lego Ninjago short clip below. Read More »