Originally published on Set The Tape
Ninjago is the latest Lego franchise to be produced into a new feature film following The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie. Whilst former featured a lot of characters from pop culture to ease audiences in, and Batman was just a wackier version of the character we all know and love, Ninjago is something that many people will never of heard of before, or will have little knowledge of.
So, what exactly is it?
Ninjago is a line of LEGO products that has been running since 2010, with over 100 sets having been released in addition to a popular children’s animated series. The Ninjago universe is a mixture of the modern world, ancient villages, mythology, and robots.
The world of Ninjago is split between the peaceful land of Ninjago and the Dark Island, home of the evil ninja Master Garmadon and his dark army hell bent on world conquest. Standing against the forces of evil is Sensei Wu, an old ninja master, and his students, Kai, Jay, Zane, Nya, Cole, and Lloyd. Wu trains his students in the art of Spinjitzu, and each of his students master one of the elemental powers granted to them by their magical golden weapons.
Kai is the red Ninja of Fire. Jay is the blue Ninja of Lightning. Zane is the white Ninja of Ice. Nya is the gray Ninja of Water. Cole is the black Ninja of Earth. Lloyd is the green ninja, the Master of Energy. Together the six ninjas protect the land of Ninjago from Master Garmadon using their powerful weapons, elemental powers, and their robotic mechs.
Over the course of the life of Ninjago, the franchise has added new heroes, villains and evil factions, and new creatures to aid the ninja’s with their mission.
If some of this sounds somewhat familiar, that’s probably because Ninjago is very much a LEGO version of Power Rangers, a group of teenage heroes brought together by a mentor to fight against the forces of darkness using enhanced abilities and giant robots. Which is possibly a factor for the longevity and popularity of the Ninjago line.
The new Ninjago film isn’t the first time the franchise has been adapted, however, with a television series having been around since the launch of Ninjago in 2010. To date Ninjago has had several seasons and a number of specials, with no current plans in place to end the show.
The series has incorporated elements of the toy line, as well as inspiring new play sets and taking on a life of its own. The television show has built upon the initial mythology created for the first line of LEGO sets to the point where the new motion picture has an incredibly solid foundation. Whilst watching the Ninjago series will add to the viewing experience for the new film, it’s not essential to understand the basic premise and plot elements.
The series has also had a number of video games, though as they have been on handheld platforms, such as the 3DS and Playstation Vita, they haven’t been as well known or as popular as other LEGO games.
LEGO have produced more than 100 Ninjago sets, as well as a variety of other Ninjago merchandise, such as the ninja’s weapons. With the long life and popularity of Ninjago, the new film has been a long time coming.
Whilst Ninjago has been a steady franchise for LEGO, it’s never been a series that has been the first port of call for LEGO plans. Hopefully the new film will help to raise the popularity, enabling Ninjago to continue on for many more years to come.
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