I’m not sure whether it’s because of Bionicle incoming return, my own personal boredom, or a combination of other things but I've been thinking a lot recently about the Bionicle films, their themes, their characters and how much of a part of my childhood they were when I was an easily amused teenager. Naturally as a jaded, bitter adult I can now look back on these films with mockery and scorn. Yeah I’m going to come right out and say that these reviews will not be kind ones so just a warning if your feelings are easily hurt by somebody making fun of a LEGO movie. Another thing to get out of the way before we begin: When watching and reviewing these movies I’m going in pretending that I’m not a Bionicle fan, that I never bought any of the toys, books, or games, I never read the comic or played/read the online web videos, games, and serials. I will still bring those things up, either as what I feel is a logical comparison or for snark reasons, but I want to make it clear that “It’s not a plot hole because they explained it in the comic.” Is not and will never be a defense, in fact any film that requires you to read supplemental material to understand what is going on has failed as a film, the writer responsible should be held accountable for it. With all that said, let’s get into the review: The pre-title sequence is actually something I like. It tells us about Mata Nui a god-like being (Yes I said God being deny it all you want LEGO but you know the truth) who brought his people/children/followers called the Matoran to a paradise island that was later named after him. He bestowed upon them the three virtues (Unity, Duty, and Destiny. Be ready to learn those words folks ‘cause you won’t forget them!) And as most legend go, the Matoran lived in harmony. Also as most legends that involve a benevolent God, we get a Satan figure; this time around called Makuta who followed Mata Nui from Paradise and put him to sleep. The Makuta was then “free to unleash his shadows” and then...that’s it. The Legend ends kind of abruptly. This leads us to the first of the films many flaws. See, in every other media from 2001-2003 we heard this legend at least once and it matches the one introduced in MoL, up to a certain point. The running theme in all of them is that Makuta put Mata Nui to sleep but then the six Toa arrived, defeated the Makuta and all went for lunch. This film omits this, and in fact we don’t meet a Toa for several minutes, and heck we don’t learn that much about them until several more after that. I can understand the difficulties of creating a film that is essentially telling only the third part of the story, but all the same it does a very poor job of explaining the period between “Makuta arrives” and “Makutas threats have been defeated.” Anyway the story begins proper with a sweeping environmental shot that then zooms in to one of the Matoran and co-hero of this picture: Jaller supposed Captain of the Ta-Koro Guard (I say ‘supposed’ because we never actually see him doing anything remotely military like) who is looking for his friend, Takua. Who is Takua? Well it turns out he’s a Chronicler. What’s a Chronicler? Well apparently it’s somebody who hops across lava rocks to look at glowing stones. Why is he hopping across lava to look at a stone? Because that’s what Chronicles do of course! Anyway it turns out Jaller and Takua are Kolhii players, and they’re late for their match. What is Kolhii you ask? Well I imagine the story teams initial pitch was “Let’s take Lacrosse, and make it suck even more.” Jaller wants Takua to hurry his butt up, but Takuas desire to channel his inner Indiana Jones means he has to grab the glowing stone. Considering there was a direct pathway leading down to this cavern, plus the presence of hopping stones, I’m going to assume that the village leaders knew about this stone and that means Takua is stealing public property. In true Indiana Jones fashion, taking the glowing stone sets off a trap, in this case a massive wave of liquid hot magma, but before it does the stone falls in the water to reveal: I bet it has a chocolaty interior. Anyway, seeing a massive wave of lava heading toward him Takua does the logical thing and jumps on his lava board into the middle of the lava lake. Some people make call you an idiot for doing this Takua, and I’m one of them. But thankfully for the deformed midget, his hero and protector of Ta-Koro, Toa of Fire Tahu arrives to save him. What’s a Toa? We don’t know yet. Who is Tahu? No idea. Why was he in the lava cave? Best guess would be to set off volcanic eruptions and save terrified midgets. Why does he decide to endanger one of the villagers live recklessly? Because he’s Tahu and he can do what whatever the heck he wants. Minor detail: But from where they are, how far they fell, and at the rate Tahu is suing to climb the rock it should take him like two hours at the least to get all the way to the top of the lava falls. This would mean Jaller had been standing in one spot moping for two hours straight before Tahu threw his swords at him for no reason other than to be a jerk. So FINALLY after expressing interest in a mystical mask and solving lava shenanigans our two young heroes (I think they’re supposed to be young anyway considering they both act like a couple of twelve year olds, which makes Jallers appointment to Guard Captain even more baffling) and their crab get their things together and...Wait did Jaller just take Takuas bag? He did! In fact why did Takua bring an empty bag with him in the first place? It’s way too small for a big rock, and even if it was for that why didn’t he bring the bag with him? For that matter why leave his stuff near a random archway instead of loading it on his crab? Regardless as our intrepid young heroes make their way to lacrosse, we hear the narrator (now revealed to be Turaga Vakama, an elder) exposit that the Toa are six heroes’ who ‘represent the elements’ and because of them the world is in an age of peace. This is most certainly not information we could have used at the beginning of the film because why bothering creating a world when you just assume everybody knows what you’re talking about. During this speech we’re introduced to two more Toa: Gali, Toa of water and winner of the “Most freakish body proportions in an animated film” award and Pohatu, Toa of Stone and Patron of Kolhii. We also find out that Gali and Tahu don’t like each other much as evidence by their nonchalant put downs of each other. I hope you liked their banter kids because this plot point is promptly dropped after this scene and their animosity is never brought up again, because who needs on-screen Character development? Also through that little exchange we saw the Turaga watching them before Vakama resumed his own speech. Did they just pause everything so they could chuckle at their saviors personal feuds? Anyway after a few more words and Triple D word references (*insert joke not appropriate for BZP here*) we finally get to the Kolhii tournament, brought to you by The Pod Race, Quiditch and other fictional sports designed solely to pad out their respective mediums. Well since we’re here, who are the competitors? We’ve already been introduced to junior league Guard Captain and Indiana Jones wannabe: Jaller and Takua. The other teams are the female Ga-Matoran team consisting of “I’m one of three characters with a unique mask” Hahli, and “I’m irrelevant” Macku, and the Po-Matoran Kolhii champions “Our presence is pointless” team consisting of Hewkii and Hafu. The game gets underway and...Ugh it’s just midgets hitting a metal ball with sticks for five minutes. Whoopee freaking doo. In the middle of the game Hahli throws some flirtatious comments towards Jaller (something that should probably be against regulations). Anyway Takua pulls off a really stupid looking move that honestly looks as though it could never work and the game ends (I know I skipped through it but there was honestly nothing to talk about). The move costs him the game and Team Gurl Power wins. After this the teams take a bow and...What’s this? Why it’s the glowing Mcguffin! I guess we actually have to get the plot moving at some point, so the Turaga gather everybody around a glowing temple thingy and translate the words on the back of the mask. As it turns out it’s a Mask of Light (WHAT A SHOCK) and it is to be worn by a Seventh Toa or as Gali helpfully points out: “The Prophecy is being fulfilled.” Yes, Gali the audience has figure that out, for that matter I’m quite positive everybody in that scene is aware a prophecy is being fulfilled, although I won’t let that stop your excitement. As the scene continues we find out that the Seventh Toa is one who will “bring light to the shadows” and finally hit the Snooze button on Mata Nuis alarm. We also find out that this Toa must be found on the island somewhere, and that a Herald will be the one to do it. Who is the Herald? Well it’s Jaller of coarse! Because a light...shined on him. OK, I get they want to push the angle that Takua knows he’s the real herald and wants to avoid the responsibility for unexplained reasons (all he has to is hold a mask and walk, it’s not difficult), but nobody else every once thinks “Hang on, Takua found the mask in the first place, and it was touch him when the light shined on Jaller. Perhaps he’s the Herald?” But no, we have to force this conflict somehow and Darn it this is how we do it! Right after this we find out that, according to Tahu all Makutas threats had been defeated but they never mention if they directly fought Makuta himself. Perhaps that’s something they should have taken care of instead of watching Lacrosse games. Anyway we also find out that Gali already took off before the meeting was over, you’d think she would have wanted to stick around and discuss the matter with her fellow Toa but I think she felt so proud of herself for telling everybody about fulfilled prophecy that she pulled a George Costanza and left on a High Note. Where did she go you ask? Well it turns out a lush jungle which houses a Great Temple is only a short walk away from the active Volcano, and Gali went here to “Ponder the Great Thoughts.” While here she sees a “Seventh Star” Looks to be a lot more than seven to me Gali, but I’m sure another prophecy fulfilling itself fills you with too much joy to notice. But what’s real import is the scene segues, not just any segue mind you but one that finally introduces us to our villain! It only took 17 freaking minutes but here we are introduced to Makuta, recent graduate of the “Beginners tropes for kids villains.” What tropes you ask? Well let us count the ways: 1. Shadowy lair that hides his true features? Check 2. Deep, booming voice virtually interchangeable with other deep voiced villains? Check. 3. Psudeo-Cryptic clues? Check 4. Obsession with Monologueing? Check It is through this monologueing that Makuta tells us that the Seventh Toa has “Begun its approach” and apparently blames Matoran prophecies for this. Being a villain, the plot dicates he has to stop this so we’re introduced to creatures that “Should never see the light of day” (even though they do see the light of day so not sure why he needed to add that). He cleverly introduces their powers and then sends his ‘sons’ off their merry way to wreak mayhem, or as much as mayhem as they can as we’ll soon see. With that Exposition out the way, we return to Ta-Koro where the protagonists are finally beginning their journey. Being that this is an incredibly important quest that could be filled with danger and peril the Toa and Turaga are doing everything in their power to- Oh, all they get is a giant crab? Well as long the enemy doesn’t hit her weak point for max damage I’m sure they’ll be fine. Before setting out Hahli and Jaller exchange some more completely platonic and in no way flirtatious dialog. I do question why Hahli was even still there considering she should have left with her village, but I’ll just assume she stuck around to gloat about her victory. So Jaller and Takua set off and...Wait a minute Are they lowering the bridge BEFORE the traveler’s make their way across? That seems like an incredibly dangerous and easily fixed safety measure. But enough of that, we return to Gali, still meditating at the temple but not for long as a dark shadow begs to gather in the sky, birds flock away in terror as the Sons of Makuta emerge from the temple! I...wait if Makuta is implied to have all these tunnels underground then why have his minions emerge in an incredibly obvious place? Why not come out in one of the remote areas and not attract attention? Anyway, Gali gets the heck out of there before realizing the creatures are heading for Ta-Koro, and swims after them. Knowing full she has to warn her friends and inform them about the Prophecy being fulfilled. She gets there quickly (again, how freaking close are these places? It’s called a sense of scale movie!), and she along with Tahu and the army of clones they have guarding the city prepare for battle. Also: Just saying. So the minions (now revealed to be Rahkshi) attack, but the Toa are ready for them as Tahu raises his magic shield and...gets knocked out instantly, Huh. Well do not fear the Toa of Water will raise her blades and get...flung...several...feet. Oh geez, we’re going to lose aren’t we? Well the Rahkshi attack brings proper as the beasts casually stroll through the streets of Ta-Koro, and if that wasn’t evil enough, one of them begins moving knocking around small stones! Enraged by this act of mild vandalism, Tahu charges with fury to the Rahkshi, in his rage he jumps over it for no reason, stabs his swords into the ground AND.... Causes the ground to glow slightly. No wonder they need a new Toa. Anyway Gali realizes how utterly inept her brother Toa is and wisely suggest they retreat and regroup. Tahu isn’t convinced at first but another sentence from Gali gets him to agree with her. But the attack isn’t over as the Rahkshi continue their aggressive assault. First by punching a small hole in a wall and then knocking over some more carefully balanced stones. The monsters! Well it does lead to the only funny scene in the movie: I admit it. I get a chuckle very time I see it. Anyway Tahu continues his brilliant tactic of “shoot fire around the enemy instead of at them” but this is once against foiled as his fire barrier is taken down by...poison? Screw it I’m not even going to question that by this point. What I am going to question is this: So the Rahkshi had been able to knock Tahu down and with a clear advantage it...tries to choke him with its staff? Why not just blast him with poison when you had the chance? For that matter we see later that the Rahkshi can channel their power through their whole staff so why not do that now? If can’t do that then why did Makuta only design certain ones to have that ability? Well regardless the two wrestle for a bit before being blasted by Galis water, the result of which gives Tahu a nasty cut on his face/mask/whatever they are in this film. With the battle lost and the city falling apart, the two Toa lava surf out of there. While the Rahkshi commit one final act of vandalism as they break a small stone statue, the savages. Well with that incredibly stupid action scene out of the way the characters take a guess as to where the plot will take them next. Vakama explains the Rahkshi didn't kill anybody because of the PG rating they couldn't find what they were looking for. They actually use their brains for once and realize the Rahkshi are after Jaller and Takua, Tahu wants to go after them alone but Gali says they should gather the other Toa. This was one of the times when the film tries to push the whole “The Toa aren't united” angle but fails at it as I’ll explain later. But back to our protagonists. They are now in the jungles of Le-Wahi, how much time has passed since they left? How long did it take them to get here? Heck if I know because this films track of time would cause Clock King to commit suicide. Anyway they spend the next couple minutes bickering about nothing before reach our next laughable ‘action piece’ as the two are attacked by an Ash Bear. What is an Ash Bear you ask? Well nobody knows for sure but common theory is that it’s a fan of Ash Ketchum. Anyway one scene of comical life threatening hijkinks later, the Bear is captured by vines. Vines controlled by who you ask? Why it’s Lewa, Toa of Air and Mata Nuis resident Irish Hippie Native American, depending on his scene. Lewa tells them that he knows about their quest and offers to help, by way of giving them a Gukko bird to fly on. I can imagine learning how to fly live birds takes many years of practice and focus to master, which is why the brave and noble Toa of Air throws the small villagers on a random bird with no restrains or instructions. I’m going to assume Lewa has been indulging in special “Jungle plants” if you know what I mean. So Lewa leads them high above the cloud and up a cliff (a place which he only assumes they’re going, should they be following the mask?) and causes the Gukko bird to crash into the snow, and based on how it landed it looks like its wings might be injured: Well regardless “we’re here,” again how did you know you were supposed to be here? Did you read the script? But sadly Lewa finds out via repetitive drums that Ta-Koro is destroyed and must go to the other Toa. He also promises to go see Jallers village right afterward, but lucky for him they’re the same destination so that’s good for him. So, Lewa takes to the skies while Jaller and Takua head out through the snow on foot, presumably leaving the poor Gukko to die a slow cold death. Marching through the snow on a pair of broken skies, the two continue to bicker about who the real Herald is before running into BOHROK!!! What are Bohrok? Those things. What, think the movie will actually explain what they are? You wish, this film is for REAL fans *puts on sunglasses*. Anyway it turns out their frozen, and the one who did the freezing was Mr White Christmas himself, Kopaka Toa of Ice. It turns out the two were unknowingly following him, which might be why he gives them the cold shoulder. As the two exposit, we cut to the edge of Ta-Koro (again) where we see Tahu, Gali, and Lewa worry about how they’ll defeat the baddies. We also see Tahus’ scar seemingly get worse and the scene ends with nothing of importance happening. Whoopee. We go back to our other heroes chilling out when we see that Ko-Koro has been attacked apparently. The three lose their cool as the Rahkshi attack and Kopaka send the two away and prepares to kick some ice. Well he was going to but then he gets knocked down the hill with the others, before getting knocked out cold. Jaller remains frozen with terror while Takua jumps onto a nearby lake with Kopakas shield and desperately tries to paddle away. However his junior paddling skills don’t help him and the Rahkshi are...all knocked out the sky by a single blast from Kopaka before promptly being frozen in ice. So far Kopaka has down more than all four of the other Toa combined. Best character so far? Best character. Anyway he gives them a compliment before giving them the cold shoulder again and heading off. The other two meanwhile realize it’s been more than five minutes since a scenery change and head into the tunnels. But the threat has passed and the film should be winding down right? *36 minutes left* Oh jeez. Well anyway the two wander into the tunnels before somehow being separated (I saw ‘somehow’ because I’m not sure how they could have but whatever) and Takua is confronted by...EYES! Actually it’s Makuta here to remind us all he still exists and to make what is quite frankly an incredibly transparent and equally lame threat on Jallers life if Takua doesn't give him the mask. Well being that he’s essentially their Satan, any promises of safety are blatant lies and only an idiot would keep this conversation to himself and quit right? Which is exactly what Takua does because quite frankly he is an idiot, and an incredibly self-absorbed one to boot. Why should we cheer for him again? Oh it’s a kids movie? Well that fixes all the plot holes nice and right. We also see that Makuta has three more color-coded Rahkshi that he unleashes. While that stupidly is going on we are introduced to Onua, Toa of Earth and final Toa to be introduced 41 minutes in. Pacing! He’s apparently Pohatu’s BFF and the two exchange pleasantries before Pohatu tells the gathered Onu-Matoran that the Mask of Light has been found (word evidently travels at a snail’s pace on this island), just as Takua sulks in. He lies about why they split up before the village is attacked by the new baddies. Onua fights them using the same Toa tactic of “Attack the ground and hope I hit something” before using the other Toa tactic of “lightly push their staff” before having his power drained. Pohatu, being enthralled by such riveting action finally gets it in his head to help Onua by using yet another tried and true Toa strategy: “Run very slowly toward the enemy and get hit by an easily avoidable blast.” The Rahkshi however overcome the brilliant battle plan. Takua meanwhile realizes he’s the protagonist which means he instantly changes moods and bravely stands up to the Rahkshi. Not to fear though, for Tahu has arrived to do what Tahu does best: Get knocked out instantly. Lewa also swoops in and picks up both Takua and the crab (which he can do now apparently), flying them off to safety. Tahu meanwhile got a face full of anger (seriously) and in his enraged state...does exactly what he does before IE: shoot fire at the ground. Gali, unsure if this is a prophecy being fulfilled or not does not know if she can help him. So naturally all it take is for Kopaka to arrive out of nowhere and freeze Tahu solid. Like a boss. Back with the Rahkshi and pals, Onua finally does something correctly and brings the cavern down on them...resulting in himself and Pohatu getting buried along with most of the village. He also almost killed the other Toa. Smart. Regardless Takua and the other Toa did escape, and in the case of the latter Tahu is brought to a jungle where the other three begin preparations to help. To cure poison and magic anger they must “Summon all the healing powers we possess” because those are powers they have now. More specifically they shock him with a type of energy and then Gali covers him with water. Good to know that stuff just washes right off. Afterward, Gali questions if they have ‘lost their unity’ (I’m going to assume there isn’t a prophecy to be fulfilled concerning that) and Kopaka, realizing how stupid this conversation will be buggers off to be awesome. Also wait a second: -Cold attitude -Does feats no other person can -Able to appear/disappear at will. Kopaka is Batman. This is canon. Try to prove me wrong. But now for a tangent about this “Unity” subplot. This whole time the film tries to push the idea that the Toa aren't united and won’t stand together...but that’s a load of bull BECAUSE THAT’S ALL THEY DO IN THE FILM! The ONLY one who is actively against working with the others is Tahu, and even then it’s implied that’s only because of the poison. For every other Toa the only reason they don’t come to help is because they don’t know there’s a crisis: Lewa and Kopaka go help without prompting or hesitation, Pohatu and Onua obviously like the other Toa, Kopaka only leave the other sot help those two. They are untied for this whole film! This is not a conflict! THIS IS A PLOT THAT FAILS ON EVERY POSSIBLE LEVEL! Ugh, speaking on abandoned plots Takua rejoins Jaller and the two instantly forgive each other before continuing on to Kini Nui: The great Temple (Tahu wakes up in the middle of this but that isn't important). Upon getting there the Mcguffin of Light begins to glow brighter and blasts away part of a statue; however the two are instantly besieged by Rahkshi! Six Rahkshi in fact! Well never fear for the Toa are here, including two that by all accounts should be dead. “Brothers we thought we lost you” Yeah you should great concern for them off-screen I’m sure. Perhaps their survival fulfills a prophecy. Well using the power of plot convenience, the Toa finally go on the offensive, Tahu and Lewa trap the first three in glass (which I’m sure will do a great job of holding creature who can break apart solid stone and ice), while Gali uses their own stupidly against them to knock one out. But there are still two left so let’s use teamwork. Pohatu ties their hands, Onua drops rocks on them, Tahu melts the rocks, Gali cools and lava and Kopaka freezes them. ..... Why not just freeze them outright instead of doing all those other things? Seems like you could do that easily. Perhaps Kopaka knew he could, but chose not to so his stupid friends could feel special. But aren't we forgetting something? Oh yes there’s still one more evil lizard man left, and he’s attack the midgets. Now instead of doing the sensible thing like, running for cover. The two just stand there and Takua allows himself to get blasted by fear. Jaller does the always intelligent move of running up to an enemy and grabbing its magic staff, the result of which pumps him chock full of fear energy which sadly kills him. Somehow. I've stopped caring. Moved by the sacrifice, Takua realizes he must fulfill the demands of the plot and puts on the mask Becoming Takanuva! Toa of Light! DUN DUN DUUUUUUU THIS WAS OBVIOUS FROM THE BEGINNING! Takanuva does what any sensible Toa would do after achieving the powers of light, and that’s create a giant statue of himself in the middle of a sacred temple, because selfishness and egotism are ideal qualities for a hero. Another shoddy blocking detail here: Jaller gets pumped full of fear and that’s fine, we see the Toa jump up behind the Rahkshi, but as soon as Takua becomes a Toa he blasts the Rahkshi with some light energy, were the Rahkshi and Toa just standing around for like three minutes while the death scene played out? With that out the way Takanuva briefly mourns his friend before ripping apart his enemy’s corpses and making a vehicle. According to him it will lead him to Makuta because “What is the Makutas, will return to him” How do you know that? Did you read the script? Is the script in one of those compartments? Well, anyway Hahli shows up and places Jallers mask on the vehicle, a mask she obviously took for his monument so in addition to gloating and unprofessional game conduct we can add “grave robber” to Hahli’s resume. Takanuva says he has to face Makuta alone because the other Toa are incompetent idiots that will slow him down. Well that’s not the reason he gives, but you can tell he’s thinking it. He hops aboard the vehicle which...takes him down a short tunnel to a very large and easy to spot door. What was the point of the vehicle? Also Hahli snuck aboard the very small vehicle without anybody noticing. The two enter Makutas lair and Hahli is sent away almost immediately (why did she even bother to come?) and two prepare for their final battle! What challenge will Makuta, lord of shadow be to the legendary Toa of Light? What awesomeness could this battle possibly entail...oh. “A simple game of Kolhii.” .......... Screw you LEGO. As the lamest of all lame confrontations occurs, Hahli rallies the gathered Matoran saying that they should all go down to the tunnels together and be easy fodder for the lord of evil. The smart thing to do would be to send the Toa down first, defeat Makuta and then bring everybody else down to wake up Mata Nui but that implies the characters are smart so they pointlessly endanger the lives of innocent villagers instead. It goes about as well as you expect before Takanuva pulls off his move from the beginning (foreshadowing FTW) and knocks Makuta off his feet. Makuta tells him that Mata Nui has to sleep because “awake he suffers” Takanuva suddenly decides to pull off Makutas face and two tumble into Makutas stylish indoor pool. Why does this happen? Because the plot says so (I’m sure it also fulfills a prophecy, Gali must be ecstatic) and the new combined being opens up the door and let’s them in, but not before using a brand new power to bring Jaller back to life. This also results in the door crushing the mutant. Now I could rant on end about how Jallers death is cheapened but I can appreciate the message that if even if you can save your friends, you might not be able to save yourself and it’s a Good Morale .............. WHYYYYYYYYY! HOW DID YOU DO THAT? WHAT CAUSED THIS! TELL ME! STOP NARRATING AND AH SCREW IT! Their faces glow and we see a city the end. Alright so that was Bionicle: Mask of Light. I’ll admit it’s not the worst CG kid’s film out there but good lord it’s stupid, filled with plot wholes, threads that either go nowhere or are resolved way to quickly and an ending that just makes me shake my head in shame. Alas, there are three more of these things I plan to review. Oh and believe me folks, this is just the beginning.