Australian Council on Children and the Media

Lego Ninjago Movie

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Not recommended under 6, parental guidance recommended 6-8 due to violent and scary scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Lego Ninjago Movie
  • a review of Lego Ninjago Movie completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 26 September 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not recommended due to violent and scary scenes
Children aged 6 to 8 Parental guidance recommended due to violent and scary scenes
Children aged 8 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Lego Ninjago Movie
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild animated violence
Length 101 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

In a world made of Lego where everyone is a Lego figure, Lloyd (voice of Dave Franco) is shunned and ostracised by everyone at school and all the inhabitants of Lloyd’s island home of Ninjago. Lloyd is the estranged son of the warlord Garmadon (voice of Justin Theroux), who is the worst guy ever and wants to destroy Ninjago.

Secretly, however, Lloyd is the Green Ninja, who along with his five best friends, Earth Ninja Cole (voice of Fred Armisen), Lightning Ninja Jay (voice of Kumail Nanjiana), Fire Ninja Kai (voice of Michael Penu), Ice Ninja Zane (voice of Zack Woods), and Water Ninja Nya (voice of Abbi Jacobson), is being taught the secret ways of the Ninja by Master Wu (voice of Jackie Chan). Lloyd and his friends work together to stop Garmadon and his band of generals from destroying Ninjago.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Lego; estranged parents and children; abandonment; superheroes/super powers; martial arts

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film has plenty of violence throughout, including gunfire and destruction of property, but much of it is presented as young children’s representational play -  flashes of light represent gun discharge, while a child’s voice sounding “pew, pew, pew” represents the sound of gunfire, plastic toy butterflies represent projectiles and bullets are made of foam. The characters and action will, nevertheless, seem real to young children and some scenes are quite intense. Examples of violence include:

  • Lloyd is ostracised by school peers and the community in general.  In one scene when he sits down on a school bus all the students move to the other side of the bus and at school students avoid him and talk about him behind his back. In one scene a large group of students repeatedly shout out, “Boo Lloyd!”
  • In one scene squadrons of Lego attack vehicles attack a Lego city. Buildings are destroyed by missiles, leaving behind smoke and rubble.  Characters run and scream. During the mayhem a school bus full of students crashes through a bridge barrier and hangs perilously over the edge of the bridge. The students scream as the bus falls over the edge of the bridge and plummets towards the water below before being rescued. 
  • Garmadon has a room referred to as the “Lava Room” in which he fires his generals. Every time there is reference to a general being fired, a burning bullet shoots out of the top of the volcano - presumably the fired general. In a later scene the fired generals are shown alive but singed and blackened.
  • There is a violent fight between several teen Ninjas and Garmadon during which kicks, punches and weapons including swords are used. At one point the villain grabs one of the Ninjas by the throat and hurls him through the air.
  • In one scene Lloyd grabs his father by the shirt collar, tells him he should be ashamed of himself, and slams him into the side of a building. 
  • A real cat terrorises a Lego city, stepping on vehicles and destroying them, and causing people to run screaming. The cat leaps up and catches a bird-like Lego transformer, dragging it to the ground and toying with it. In one scene, the cat eats a character and later spits him out; we see the figure covered in slime.
  • Lloyd and his father are placed in a wooden cage and taken to the top of a volcano where they seem to be about to be thrown into the crater. They manage to fight their way past a spear-wielding mob but in the fight Lloyd loses his arm, which his father re-attaches.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Garmadon is a scary-looking character and his hideout is a volcanic island complete with red glowing lava and smoke pouring out of the top and pre-eruption rumblings, while the entrance to the volcano resembles a maw of gigantic teeth.
  • Several leading characters have giant transformer-like battle vehicles fitted with all manner of weapons from lasers to missile launchers. One vessel resembles a giant green dragon that destroys enemy vessels in the air by blowing green fire out of its mouth, as well as launching missiles. Another has crab-like qualities.       
  • Sharks swim out of the water and climb up onto the land and attack people.
  • One scene depicts a macabre field of Lego skeletons and skeleton pieces.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Younger children in this age group may also be scared by some scenes and characters.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

The whole film features Lego products and particularly the Ninjago line

Sexual references

Nothing of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

The film contains infrequent low-level coarse language, name-calling, put-downs and toilet humour that children might imitate. Examples include:

  • shut it; zip it; kick butt; what the heck
  • weirdo; loser; stupid, dumb, big butt; stupid butt
  • jokes about butts stinking, cat litter and needing a change of armour after being scared

In a nutshell

The Lego Ninjago Movie is suited to school-aged children and all fans of the Lego series of films. The film is funny, and contains a number of positive messages. It has less violence than the Lego Batman Movie, but could scare younger children who see the characters and situations as real. It is therefore not recommended for children under 6 and parental guidance is recommended for 6 to 8 year olds.

The main messages from this movie are that people are capable of positive change and that weapons don’t solve problems.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • forgiveness and acceptance
  • courage and selflessness

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