The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back in a Michael Bay produced, Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles, Wrath of the Titans) directed action flick that is heavy on the CG and still quite loyal to the mythology.
Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird created the Turtles in the '80s as a parody of sorts to all the superheroes permeating in comics. What happened next had to surprise even them. Audiences embraced them wholeheartedly and the craziest of ideas, that mutated turtles who are teenage ninjas, became a sensation.
There were the 1990s movies, but they lacked and were hurting in the special effects department.
That is far from the problem for a filmmaker like Liebesman today. CG has come so far and what you see onscreen with his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a visual marvel. But, without character development, all the special effects may be able to save the day onscreen, but not a movie as a whole.
As teased in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer, the film clearly establishes the origins of this quartet.
They were genetically altered turtles as babies and when a lab fire almost killed them, they were saved and let go into New York City’s sewers where a fellow lab resident lives -- a rat, who would raise them. Their mutations would eventually take effect, giving them super physical abilities. And as our movie begins, they are teenagers, and as kids that age do, they are starting to head out into the world to strike out on their own.
This also happens to be right about the time that a villain called the Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) and his gang of thugs are causing trouble in the city. Guess who will fight to save the day? But first, they run into a journalist named April O’Neill (Megan Fox), who along with her cameraman (Will Arnett), hope to get the scoop on this most unlikely group of vigilantes.
The thing that works well in this flick is the camaraderie of the four lead turtles, who are -- as most people know -- named for renaissance artists. We truly believe that they are teenagers, and we also keenly are aware by their interpersonal connections that they have been raised like brothers.
But the plot is heavy-handed and honestly doesn’t quite add up as one would hope by the end. And although Arnett solidly stretches his wings in an action movie, Transformers veteran Fox is still not the greatest of movie acting talents. In fact, there are several cringe-worthy moments courtesy of her performance. Not even an Oscar winner in Whoopi Goldberg can elevate Ms. Fox.
Our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles review can say that for little boys, it is a fantastic time at the movies. But, for everyone else, there has to be something else.
Fan of the Turtles? Check out the first film and compare it to the new one when you watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles online.