If you were still unsure about the Lego franchise’s reason for being, the unveiling that in the latest of the Lego movies, The Lego Ninjago Movie, the big baddie is a cat called Meowthra underlines that they’re all about being as silly, hilarious and absurd as possible, but still with an emotional core.
Producer Chris McKay has another way of describing the approach of the franchise, though, recently telling Metro, “We want it to feel anarchic and ridiculous and absurd, and there’s always a punk rock vibe to what we’re doing.” This is a sentiment his fellow producer Dan Lin echoed to Metro in as many words, too, as he added, “With each 'Lego Movie' we’re trying to push the envelope and do something new.”
For “Lego Ninjago,” the third edition of the burgeoning series, Lin explained that this meant making the film look “brighter” and more “cinematic” than its predecessors. “We are trying to adjust the look of the movie so they each look succinct. I would say this is the most beautiful 'Lego Movie' that we have made yet.”
In order for these films to capture the right spirit McKay, who previously directed “The Lego Batman Movie,” connects with his inner child. This makes sure that the resulting film feels as though it has been overseen by a group of kids that just have the world’s biggest, and most expensive, toy set at their disposal.
“We want it to feel like the kids are in charge of the storytelling. There are wild flights of fancy and absurd silly situations. It does sometimes feel like the inmates are running the asylum, and that the filmmakers are getting away with something. And there’s a joy in that kind of childlike anarchy, and people like these movies because we don’t follow the rules, and we have fun, and things get a little silly and absurd and that’s OK.”
For Lin, though, it’s also about giving viewers a twist on something that’s already familiar. “The way we approach the 'Lego Movies' is we look at different genres, and we think, ‘How can we give it our spin on it? How do we give it our sense of humor? How do we give it our emotion?' We really want to surprise you with the emotion of the third act of the movie. We want the movies to have real genuine emotion so people connect with them.”
Making sure that the Lego franchise resonates and makes an emotional impact is integral to the creative team. “We want you to go on a ride emotionally,” McKay explained. “Being a filmmaker is like being a magician. Sometimes you make them laugh, sometimes you give them thrills, and then you hit them with something that’s sweet, or sincere, or profound.”
The magic of the Lego movies franchise continues to astound audiences. You can see their latest trick with your own eyes as “The Lego Ninjago Movie” is now in cinemas. It will be followed by both “The Lego Movie Sequel” and “The Billion Brick Race” in 2019.