What The LEGO Ninjago Movie and Star Trek: Discovery Have in Common
I just watched “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” trailer online. It’s based on the cartoon TV series about five young ninja warriors and their sensei who battle evil forces.
LEGO movies are seemingly starting to churn out faster than your kid can build a 500-block LEGO fortress. First there was “The LEGO Movie,” which I thought was a super fun family flick. Now, “The LEGO Batman Movie” has just been released to solid reviews, and “Ninjago” comes to theaters in September.
If you like these LEGO movies, (or your kids do) this should all be great news, right? My six-year-old son loves to watch the Ninjago TV series, and I can’t even imagine how excited he’ll get when I reveal there’s a movie version coming out.
But I’m not sure I’m going to tell him.
Well not yet.
And why not?
Well, I’ve identified a little problem in the trailer…
This is Not My Son’s Ninjago Universe
The voices of the animated characters in the movie are voiced by different actors than in the series.
While this might appear to be a subtle change, I’m not so sure I like it.
Plus, the animation design aligns a closer to the LEGO movie universe. Again, not in huge ways, but it’s noticeable.
Now, it’s not the first time a TV series has been changed or ‘upgraded’ as it morphs into a big-time movie. Often there’s a bunch of years between the two… So change is inevitable. But we’re talking about a current cartoon series about to release its seventh season.
(“Hands of Time”)
Shouldn’t the Ninjago transition to movies be a little more seamless?
(And speaking of the seventh season, my boy is extremely eager to know when it’s being released. Any ideas out there?)
Now I get that the producers of the LEGO movies want to create a product that’s distinct from and ‘better’ than its TV counterparts. (Otherwise, why would you choose to spend some serious money to schlep your family to the cinemaplex when you can stream it all for ‘free’ on your iPad.
(With a Netflix subscription)
I get why you’d sign up some big time talent like Jackie Chan to play Sensei Wu to help the marketing team sell more tickets.
“Jackie Chan?! COOL! Let’s go….”
But they’ve messed with my son’s Ninjago universe.
This is ‘another’ Ninjago.
…An alternate reality Ninjago.
…A ‘Kelvin’ Ninjago.
The Needs of the Many
Truthfully, I’m not sure that my son will really care about any of this.
But obviously I do…
Yeah… I think this actually may be more about me.
I‘m not a big fan of gratuitously messing with a formula that already works…
Even from the distance as a “once and always Trekie,” I acknowledge that the Star Trek formula needs to continue to evolve as the original blueprints eventually ran out of steam with “Star Trek: Enterprise.”
Yes, the new movie series took some big-time chances to mix things up a bit. But J.J. Abrams successfully rebooted the franchise in a fresh way with its “Kelvin’ alternate timeline, while also respecting the original ‘Prime’ timeline.
“Discovery” is apparently not connected to the new movies in any way.
It reportedly takes place in the pre-Kirk ‘Prime’ timeline.
(Ten years before the original five-year mission.)
Have you got that?
…Because I don’t.
The timeline split off on the day of Kirk’s birth.
So this assumes the original timeline still exists somewhere… intact.
Hailing Frequencies Are Open
The problem is I still have no sense or feeling about this new Trek.
And it’s launching in May.
Sure there’s casting announcements and some vague plot elements.
(Young Sarek will be a part of the story.)
But the whole kit and kaboodle still feels like a black hole to me.
The marketing machine has given us almost nothing to get us excited about.
What I need is a decent trailer to settle me down a bit…
(And something more than concept animation…)
Maybe a few photos with the actors in uniform. Something!
Come on guys!
I know all about “The LEGO Ninjago Movie,” and that’s not coming out until September!
Settle Down, Barrett
It seems clear “Star Trek: Discovery” is going to be somewhat ‘disruptive.’
But I’m a little worried, because it continues to be so quiet.
Like something’s wrong.
The new “In Production” teaser makes me feel slightly better…
But it still doesn’t give much up.
Except a promise to maintain the tradition…
Change is inevitable… Whether we’re talking about animated Spinjitzu masters moving to the big screen or some version of the two Federation universes moving back to the small screen.
As a father of a kid and as a kid at heart, all I ask is to simply respect the ‘elemental powers’ that have made both franchises successful.
From there you can’t go wrong…
And your fans will continue to feel like it’s their birthday every time they tune in…