The Master: A Lego Ninjago Short (2016)
Directed by: Jon Saunders | 5 minutes | animation, short film, comedy, family | Original voice cast: Jackie Chan, Abbi Jacobson, Justin Theroux
None other than Jackie Chan provides one of the voices in the five-minute animated film ‘The Master: A Lego Ninjago Story’ (2016). The short serves as a teaser for the feature film that Warner will release in the fall of 2017, ‘The Lego Ninjago Movie’ (2017). What was not thought possible for a long time has now become a fact: the time-honoured Lego building blocks, which are played with from generation to generation, have withstood their baptism of fire on the silver screen. After ‘The Lego Movie’ (2014) and ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ (2017), ‘The Lego Ninjago Movie’ is the third installment in the franchise that will hit theaters. Incidentally, the fans can wet their chests, because for 2019 another Lego film is in the pipeline: ‘The Lego Movie Sequel’. About another title, ‘The Billion Brick Race’, there is still some uncertainty regarding the release date.
But first there is that teaser in the form of ‘The Master’, which was shown prior to the animated film ‘Storks’ (2016). In this cutscene, Master Wu, the ultimate martial arts specialist, gets into a fight with a… chicken! The set-up is very funny: with a lot of fanfare, Master Wu is introduced by a voice-over (Justin Theroux, who will be heard as a villain in ‘The Lego Ninjago Movie’). This is done in trailer style; deep voice that raises expectations quite a bit, Master Wu showing snatches of his excellent skills. But every time the ‘bouncer’ is approaching, an annoying chicken (Abbi Jacobson) throws a spanner in the works. Master Wu always puts the chicken out the door, but the annoying beast always manages to come in again, and doesn’t just let himself be pushed aside. In this case, however, he who laughs last, laughs best.
The deeper layer that we often see in Pixar shorts is nowhere to be seen in ‘The Master’. This is purely about entertainment, and to get people excited about the full-length feature film that will be released later in 2017. Lego fans – especially those who love the Ninjago series – can’t stop enjoying themselves. This movie is really a taste of what we can expect from Lego spectacle. The squabble between Master Wu and the chicken is funny, but it tends to be a little milking if you keep playing the same joke over and over. So five minutes is just long enough. Hopefully the feature film will bring more variety soon!