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The LEGO Ninjago Movie (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Apologies on the tardiness of this review as its been out for a month now (December 12th was the street date for this release), but its brand new to me as I’ve just received it. The second LEGO movie of 2017, following on the heels of the very successful LEGO Batman Movie which itself followed the hugely successful The LEGO Movie. The LEGO Ninjago Movie was the first test of brand loyalty with the LEGO “franchise” and well, it didn’t have Batman and people clearly knew this wasn’t the further adventures of Emmett and Wyldstyle.  Yeah, the movie massively underperformed in comparison to those two films. Ninjago is a more strict to LEGO brand, so they may give a go with a more known entity the next time around. As I mentioned, the film is already available, so if you don’t have it and you want or need it, check out the Amazon link below and help yourself and help the site at the same time when ordering.

Film 

In the battle for NINJAGO® City, Lloyd, high school student by day and Green Ninja by night, gets thrown into the ultimate adventure with his secret ninja warrior friends! Led by the wise and wisecracking Master Wu, they must defeat evil warlord Garmadon, The Worst Guy Ever, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad. On their courageous journey, they learn to band together to unleash their inner power in an epic showdown to save the city.

As mentioned above, I don’t know a lick about the LEGO Ninjago sector of the LEGO brand, but I like samurai’s and ninjas…so it has that going for it. Plus, I’m a fan of the LEGO movies so far. I have dug their humor wavelength and I’m one who’s into a whole spectrum of films, so set dressing, era and character types don’t really hold much weight as I can appreciate a core theme, story, plot, technique…those type of things.

Unfortunately, The LEGO Ninjago Movies falls short of the amusement that was had with the previous two efforts. Yes, those were able to reach out to some fun pop culture referencing to go along with poking fun of a deep history of longstanding fictional heroes and villains, but that’s not really what’s missing or the issue here. Ninjago tells a bit of a yawners story, but most of this all just feels like a rehash of what we’ve seen before. The big bad of this one is Garmadon, who doesn’t feel too far removed from Lord Business in The LEGO Movie. Also, the jokes and humor type in this movie feel both predictable and a little uninspired.

This isn’t all a waste though, there are some really cool giant robots and monsters duke it out and destroy a city action sequences to sort of relish in. And there are humorous scenes, they just are a little lighter on the laughs and not as consistent. Whereas Batman and the flagship film were both better than expected (And than they had any business being), this one seems to fall into what you may be expecting from one of these. As a kids and family film, its more for the kids, but adults won’t be at a full loss. My son enjoys this movie quite a lot, while I felt it was just “all right” and probably won’t watch it again.  Not bad, but I’m good with once and maybe catching it in the background sometime in the future.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p) HDR10

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: The LEGO Ninjago movie’s 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release is an improvement over the standard Blu-ray counterpart’s, but its not a significant upgrade. It improves in its sharp and crispness as well as some detail uptick. Its no doubt better, but its that “how much” type that really keeps some folks apprehensive about how worthwhile the format really is and some maybe wouldn’t be able to tell much at all let alone be able to really be wow’d by it.

Depth:  Solid spacing between characters, foreground and background with smoother and cleaner fluidity in the movements of the characters.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep, rich, natural and a bit more saturated than its counterpart. Details are a bit stronger on darker LEGOs and night or darker lit sequences.

Color Reproduction: Colors really pop a little better here with some better saturation. HDR improves things like a volcano, glowing eyes, lasers and other places you’d expect. But to play devil’s advocate, the standard Blu-ray in a 4K UHD Player on a 4K TV actually makes them look pretty enough, too.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English: Dolby Atmos (English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: Holy crap, little Ninjago movie, your Atmos track is awesome! The engineering on this is a well mixed and designed world that features little nicks and nacks that naturally filter out the world. The effects and sounds are both natural and well layered with great depth. There is SO much fun to be had here with this fun LEGO Ninjago experience.

Height: Here’s where this movie excelled. Given there are a lot of flying vehicles/bots/monsters/uh…LEGOs, we get a lot of activity here. From the opening sequence, this shows it is not clowning around. And nothing is overboard either, its just that this mix is attentive and knows what’s going on.

Low Frequency Extension: Blasters, giant foot stompings, punches, volcanic eruptions and deep voice enhancers are just some of the many things that feel a boost from you subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: This clean sounding track, truly knows how to travel around the room. Distance is key here too, as volume placement is perfectly accurate. Also, each speaker has its own real identity and contribution which will have you thinking something might be going on in the corner of your room or somewhere else in your house/apartment/trailer/bunker, its that lifelike at times.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp, well placed in the mix as to never be drowned out by action, score or a song.

Extras 

The LEGO Ninjago Movie comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and an UltraViolet digital copy.  All bonus features can be found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Charlie Bean, Editor David Burrows, Layout Supervisor Devin Scott, Animation Director Matt Everitt, Associate Producer Kristen Murtha, Production Supervisor Alex Kauffman, Editor Garret Elkins, Editor Ryan Folsey, Editor Doug Nicholas, Editor Todd Hansen, Editor John Venzon, Music Exec Nikki Sharon, and Music Exec Amanda Narkis

Team Supreme: Building Ninjago (HD, 8:19) – A breezy, brief and kind of safe “Making of” that cover your basics on voice work, story, LEGO character building and blocking, etc.

Rumble in the Bricks (HD, 5:19) – This featurette goes over the LEGO figure fight choreography as well as Jackie Chan’s involvement with some of the live action sequences.

Rebrick Contest Winners (HD, 4:39) – LEGO shorts from a fan-made contest.

Mini-Movies – As promised on the sticker on the box, here are some extra little Ninjago shorts.

  • Shark E. Shark in Which Way to the Ocean (HD, 2:25)
  • Zane’s Stand Up Promo (HD, 2:02)
  • The Master: A ‘LEGO Ninjago’ Short (HD, 5:18)

LEGO Ninjago TV Series Sneak Peak (HD, 11:14) – A promo for the TV show.

Music Videos

  • Found My Place by Oh, Hush! & Jeff Lewis (HD, 3:21)
  • Everybody Have a Ninja Day (HD, 1:06)
  • Warlord Ballad (HD, 1:10)
  • Rocktagon (HD, 1:19)

Deleted Scenes (HD, 6:39)

Gimmie Some Outtakes! (HD, 4:42)

Promotional Material – Little shorts that provide info on a character or was an in theater advertisement.

  • The ‘LEGO Ninjago’ Movie: Behind the Bricks (HD, 3:59) 
  • Please Silence Your Cell Phones (HD, :47)
  • Please Put On Your 3D Glasses (HD, :44)
  • LEGO Sets in Action (HD, 2:32)
  • The ‘LEGO Ninjago’ Movie: Ninja Formation (HD, 1:39) 
  • Find Your Inner Ninja with Jackie Chan (HD, 1:37)
  • Ninja Jokes with Jackie Chan (HD, :27)
  • Kicks & Bricks: Making the ‘LEGO Ninjago’ Movie (HD, 3:47)
  • The ‘LEGO Ninjago’ Movie: Back to School (HD, 1:27)
  • Me and My Minifig (HD, 3:24)

Summary 

Its a bit of a bummer that The LEGO Ninjago movie didn’t hold up to the other two films we’ve seen so far. But, maybe that’s because the bar was set insanely high. Taken on its own, its not that bad, just nothing too special. This 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release is solid, giving a slightly upticked picture and the Atmos track is awesome. Accompanying the film are some solid extras that are in line with what this series delivers. If you’re picking this up because you’re a fan or a ceiling speaker enthusiast, you may want to just grab the standard Blu-ray, find a good sale and grab it.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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