I rarely see a modern “family movie” (since they are usually decidedly anti-family), but as it was one of my children’s birthdays, we went to see “The LEGO Ninjago Movie.” How could a movie about Lego ninjas be anti-family? I took a chance. Well, it was as bad as they come.
From the very beginning, the father was the caricature of an evil uncaring absentee dad. To drive the point home (in case you missed it), they went the extra mile and gave him devil horns, red eyes, dressed him in black, made him a greedy capitalist, and had him live in a fire-and-brimstone volcano lair. Well, I gave him a chance. Maybe he was an homage to Darth Vader and would turn around in the end.
Soon, the mother appears on scene and is referred to as the dad’s “ex.” OK. Divorced couple. Real cutting edge story-line so far. Certainly, the mom wouldn’t be evil or at fault for anything even though 70% percent of real-world divorce filings are by wives choosing to disband their own families in favor of state-promised happiness and prosperity.
The motherly-love scenes with the divorcée are long and ooey-gooey. She lavishes undying love on her son, placing herself in stark contrast to the horrendous father.
The son, a secret ninja, whose special power is “green” (he doesn’t learn what his “power of green” is until the end of the movie) endlessly hopes his dad will love, remember, and respect him and teach him dad things like throwing a ball. Fat chance. The dad tells his son that he knows how to do all the dad things, but he chooses to simply belittle his son for not knowing them.
Meanwhile, the ugly loveless devil-image of a dad is ejecting unappreciated employees into the stratosphere from his lava-spewing company headquarters as he fires them without so much as listening to their suggestions on how to improve the company. Well, of course; after all, he’s a man and men don’t listen. A list of the dad’s faults includes every bad thing known to mankind including leveling cities, attacking innocent people, and crashing the stock market. The dad is obviously Satan from the way he looks, the way he acts, and the look of the hellish underworld he lives in.
I thought making the dad Satan and an anti-labor capitalist who crashed the stock market was a tiny bit over the top, but it fit nicely with the mainstream media’s summation of everything bad in society: men / fathers and the free market.
From the beginning, the son persistently tries to kill his dad. The son, piloting a mechanized green dragon with multiple weapon pods heroically unloads (multiple times in the movie) a “full payload” of weaponry on his dad as the robotic voice in the craft dramatically ticks off the weaponry being activated and fired, one after another after another, as the son tries to murder him for not being present during his upbringing.
The weaponry streaking through the sky is reminiscent of tracer fire in news footage of some glorious Mid-East war. I guess we are supposed to revel in the son’s continuous acts of revenge against his absentee uncaring father as the son’s munitions impact the dad in almost never-ending strafing runs.
As an audience member, I think I was supposed to be chanting, “Yes! Take that! And that!”
Of course, the son, relieved of the burden of having a father in his life by his loving mother, gains the correct perspective on parenthood and learns his life-long purpose of seeking revenge on his dad. She saw the dad’s evil ways early on and diligently protected her son from him by leaving.
Early in the movie, the dad forgets his son’s birthday and makes it clear that he couldn’t care less about him and describes all the things he despises about his son. His gleeful recitation of his son’s shortcomings accentuates the pain felt by his truly emotionally connected son. The dad’s list of his son’s bad traits is out of date though, because he hasn’t cared enough to keep up with him since he was a baby.
After the dad fails to acknowledge or remember his son’s birthday after multiple hints, the mom (a secret warrior herself, of course), greets the son at home with a birthday cake. She goes on and on about how she loves him and doesn’t want anything to happen to him. The son reciprocates and says he is sorry for worrying her.
Of course, the obligatory bathroom giggle humor is in the movie, but is hardly worth mentioning in a modern movie review.
The uncle, a stepfather figure, is the man in the son’s life who understands and counsels him. He advises the son about the “ultimate weapon” to defeat his father. The father laughs at and mocks his son telling him that he is afraid to use it. The ultimate weapon which is then summoned by the son to kill the father eventually eats the father, but doesn’t successfully end his life.
The stepdad figure then makes the son aware of the ultimate ultimate (two ultimates) weapon which is “inner peace.” (Wow, those stepdads are great. Much better than real dads.) The son, being the better man, forgives the evil father who is still unrepentant at the end of the movie; although he tries to join in on a family hug when hit by a wave of sentimentality. The mother and son spurn his attempts to get into the hug and reject him until the end.
The son says, “I wish you weren’t my father.”
In keeping with modern conventional wisdom, the guilt isn’t finalized until drawn out Perry Mason style from the culprit. So, the dad grandstands and puts the nails in his own coffin by admitting in buffoonish fashion, “How could I have ruined your life? I wasn’t even there.” Ah, nice. Let’s re-define reality and turn the tables on the real-world abandoned dads who this movie targets by saying they were absent—after actually being forced away from their own families by the state’s divorce industry. Divorced moms spend the rest of their lives justifying to their kids the necessity of their actions, so this movie should help in that loving endeavor by tearing down fathers.
After the dad’s actions and statements make it very clear that he is so wrong, he tells his ex-wife, “Why did you turn him against me? Wipe that smile off your face.”
As if, right? What a jerk. What a hypocrite; the dad, the essence of all evil, pretending that he is the victim. Get a load of this guy. Can you believe it?
Although the movie makes it very clear that the mom took the son and left the dad years ago, the mom ultimately lays into the dad and does her best to punch the daylights out of him for not being there in a good way. The step-dad figure joins in on the beating. During the pounding, the dad continually exclaims “ow, ow, ow, ow, ow” in a sissy voice like the little pansy he apparently is under all that devil imagery. The dad takes ten times more hits during the fray than the ones he lands. This movie really wouldn’t be complete without the dad being symbolically beaten like this for his lack of concern for his son who is being lovingly raised by his ex-wife. The boardroom that developed this movie must be a factory of pure feminist hatred.
After being caged by his son, the dad ignorantly tries to control and discipline him by counting to three.
He then says, “I thought one, two, three worked on kids.”
Cue for audience laughter. What a boob. He is displaying his total lack of parenting skills as an uninvolved father. Enlightened soccer moms who are connected with their children could apparently tell him that counting to three doesn’t work.
When the dad is being moved in the cage by his son and the stepdad figure, the group encounters two signs at a fork in the road. One sign points to the long righteous path and the other sign points to the evil destructive short-cut path. The dad cons the group into going on the evil path to destruction littered with skeletons.
For a brief moment on that path, it appears that the dad is redeeming himself as he fights alongside his son against all the employees the dad unjustly fired that are encountered on the evil path. He tells his son to text his mom so that she can see that he “stepped up in a dad way.” The son, no doubt detecting his dad’s black heart, doesn’t comply and the bonding moment disappears.
A helpful flashback fills in the gaps by showing how the mom decided to leave and rescue herself and her baby son years ago from the dreadful fate they would have endured if they were to stay together as a family with the dad.
The dad pleads the case against himself, “I could have changed, but I didn’t. Before I knew it, she was gone and you were gone.” He continues, expounding on the purity of his ex, “Your mom expected only the best from me and only wanted the best for you.”
The evil dad gives his estranged son one more chance to join him in an evil life saying, “We can fight alongside each other. We can conquer Ninjago together.”
The dad is told, “This is your chance to change.”
He replies smugly, “I wouldn’t change then. I won’t change now.”
He then locks his son and friends into an unstable crumbling castle so they can be crushed to death. The dad, rejecting decency, heads out again to destroy the city.
When the son escapes his dad’s trap, the divorced mom continues with her ooey-gooiness, “I was so worried about you.”
The son adds, “All you ever did was support me.” [Wow, she’s perfect.] “I took you for granted.”
At the finale, green color and vegetation flow across the screen as the stepdad figure tells the son that the son’s superpower of “green” is powerful because it is “the color of life.”
The son, finally understanding his superpower, waxes rhapsodic as he explains that green is “the way I connect my family whether we are together or not.”
As the credits roll, the still aloof dad, disconnected from his family, still not changing his ways, does the “Dance of Doom,” which seems an appropriate anthem to the divorce culture this movie champions.
I think “Yeller” was a better superpower color for a family movie, but if you are a heroic divorcée that wants to ram home your rationale for using the state’s club to break up your family, then take some of that child-support money and go watch this movie under the pretense of watching a playful family romp. It is a must-see.