Hello there ladies and gentlemen, I now return to the internet to give you my review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now I’ve been skeptical about this film since the dawn of its announcement, however as time went on and the trailers came out, I actually started to find myself intrigued and curious about how the end product would turn out. So is this a good or bad adaptation of the Ninja Turtles? Well, read on and find out!
So for those who are not aware, the story can be described as the following:
“Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles must work with fearless reporter April O’Neil and her cameraman Vern Fenwick to save the city and unravel Shredder’s diabolical plan.”
What I really liked about this film is that they got the turtles right and when they were on-screen the film felt just like the standard Ninja Turtles that we’ve come to know and love. In addition to that when the film isn’t being overly serious it can be funny at times, besides a lot of moments that fell flat or jokes that were ruined by trailers and TV spots, there are some great pop culture references and a good few nods to the old Ninja Turtles TV show too. It is a shame that the whole story for the film isn’t as fun, turtles mainly play second fiddle to the human characters, especially April O’Neil, who has far more screen time than she requires and seeing her and Vern’s adventures aren’t nearly as interesting as the film’s writers would have us believe. Also the origin story of the turtles, which was fine with some of the modifications, I still understand while April had to factor in some much in on it, I just didn’t see the point, that could have been changed.
When it comes to the cast, besides the turtles there is nothing remarkable about the performances from the other people involved. Megan Fox as April O’Neil, besides looking slightly hotter than usual, wasn’t all that interesting in this film. Her acting was better than some of the other stuff I’ve seen her in but she just isn’t that compelling of an actress for me to engage with as the lead character. And there’s Will Arnett as Vern Fenwick, poor Arnett, such a waste of his talent. I love this guy as an actor, but here he was just a plum, an uninteresting, silly and quite pervy plum which didn’t sit well with me at all. William Fichtner as Eric Sacks was alright, but didn’t really have any cool qualities that made him memorable. Tohoru Masamune played a predictable “bad guy in the shadows” as Shredder, he did his job was he was that compelling, while Whoopi Goldberg as Bernadette Thompson was just wasted in this film.
I have to give props to Alan Ritchson as Raphael, Noel Fisher as Michelangelo, Pete Ploszek as Leonardo (who did the motion-capture while Johnny Knoxville did the voice) and Jeremy Howard as Donatello who did great as the turtles. These turtles felt like brothers and had some great banter together and their relationship was very believable. And finally Danny Woodburn did a good job as Splinter’s motion-capture performer, while Tony Shalhoub’s voice, while not what I was expecting, was decent.
As for the presentation it is pretty good for the most part. Visually, it is a very stylish film with a very vibrant colour palette for New York especially at night, the cinematography is pretty slick and dynamic which is great for the action sequences (thought I wasn’t too keen on the overuse of slow motion). One thing the visual effects artists did get right was the combat and fight sequences which were some of the best the turtles have ever been in, this was real martial arts with super strength in the mix too which resulted in very satisfying fights with the turtles, Shredder and even Splinter too! When it came to the look of the turtles themselves, they were a mixed bag, while at some angles they look pretty cool, other times their faces were horrible and their bodies looked so beefed up on steroids. Leonardo was the best-looking turtle by far. As for Shredder and Splinter, as I said before in my TMNT (2014) Trailer #2 Review, Shredder is more machine than man now and looks like a miniature Transformer which was completely unnecessary for his character and as for Splinter, from a distance he doesn’t look too bad, but up close at a front-view angle, yuck! So ugly.
In conclusion the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film was pretty entertaining and much better than I expected it to be, while it definitely isn’t the best film in the series and there was a lot of wasted time dedicated to April O’Neil’s character, when it comes down to the turtles running around, beating people up and having banter, the film works. If only there had been more. Hopefully the sequel will rectify this and make them front and center because there is something good to be found beneath the heaps lame jokes, boring story and unnecessary modern updates to the core TMNT formula.
Rating: 7/10 (Had more fun with this than I should have)
So have you seen Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and if so what do you think of it? Do you feel like it was a solid update on the old formula or are you disguised that your childhood memories were ruined? Whatever your thoughts are, drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo. Laters! 😀