Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is another adaption of a peculiar comic book that just inexplicably exploded in popularity back in the 80s. Struggling for recognition as a reputable journalist is the intent and fiery April O'Neil (Megan Fox). After April witnesses an attack that's thwarted by four anthropomorphic turtles that go by the names of famous painters, Leonardo (Johnny Knoxville), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Raphael (Alan Ritchson) and Donatello (Jeremy Howard) where they warn her off pursuing them any further. The foot clan is considered an urban myth, or the idea that they're one big collective society is downplayed at best, but they exist. They're led by the mechanically enhanced Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) and April is determined to expose them for their hand in the rise of criminal activity in New York.
After April remembers her father's 'project renaissance' that involved four turtles that were named after famous painters, and a rat named Splinter (Tony Shalhoub). Convinced that the turtles she saw are linked to her father's experiments, April turns to Eric Sacks (William Fitchner), the CEO of Sacks Industries (yes, seriously). Eric was her deceased father's lab partner and believes her claims, although he still finds it hard to believe that they actually survived and thrived after an accident in the lab had supposedly killed them. April's father was working on some sort of mutagen to cure a disease when it had unintended affects on the turtles. Splinter took on a mentor role for the turtles after they escaped the inferno, and taught the turtles to survive in the sewers. One day Splinter found a book on Ninjutsu, studied it, became a master himself and taught all four of the turtles unique styles of fighting. Not too bad for a sewer rat if I do say so myself.
April learns that Sacks and Shredder were working together all along, and that Sacks wants to distribute some virus over New York, like the Lizard from The Amazing Spider Man did. Then sell people the cure, which was apparently in the turtle's blood the whole time. I have no idea why anyone is doing this though. Eric Sacks is rich, super rich. What the hell does he need more money for? Plus, what's in it for the Shredder?
I was on board with this reboot since day one, the Ninja Turtles franchise was already a train-wreck anyway so a reboot seemed justifiable. I didn't hate the fact that Michael Bay was involved either, he was only a producer after all, but the Michael Bay influence was glaringly obvious throughout the movie. There were some major changes in the Turtle mythology too, I thought some changes worked and some didn't. I thought Splinter learning ninjutsu from a discarded book was a bit silly, but then again, is it really anymore silly than Splinter learning ninjutsu from his master? Of course not.
These are pointless criticisms of the reboot. I didn't like how overemphasized and simplistic the characteristics of each turtle was though, Donatello is a nerd so he wears glasses, Raphael is the tough one so he has a toothpick, and so on. They were all very stereotypical and one-dimensional characters. The turtles used to have surfer type attitudes, but these turtles are constantly spouting ebonics driven dialogue and 'acting black' rather than their traditional surfer lingo and laid back attitude that the original turtles had. The comedy wasn't really up my alley, but kids would probably enjoy it nowadays and I suppose that's who the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are aimed at now, not me.
I didn't like how the connection between Splinter and Shredder was essentially removed and I didn't like how The Foot clan were changed into mere mercenaries rather than actual ninjas. The action seemed too frenetic for me to keep up with it, more often than not it was just a blur of movement to me, I couldn't appreciate the action sequences, aside from the occasional slow-motion money shots that were used for the trailers. The turtles looked a bit weird to me too, comparisons have been made to Shrek and I can see the validity there, at least the original turtles actually looked like turtles, and the cgi work and odd voices and mannerisms would take me out of the movie sometimes.
The conclusion seemed remarkably anti-climatic as well, and I didn't like Raphael's heartfelt spiel at the end either, it was too forced, contrived and predictable. As a whole, this reboot didn't do a whole lot for me, but I'm not really the target audience either. I think young kids will find a bit to like here, and that's a good thing for them. It's a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for a new generation. The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was definitely no masterpiece, but it still felt more worthwhile than this did. I ran down why I think the original TMNT is better than this remake here, if you're interested. I'll always have the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie to go back to if I feel like it, but this one just wasn't for me.
Written by - The Sentry - 29/10/2014