Saturday, August 9, 2014

Movie Review: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"

The heroes in a half shell finally return to the bigscreen, and while Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is probably the weakest of all the TMNT movies made thus far, there is a great deal to enjoy about director Jonathan Liebesman's movie.

This Turtles movie is basically another retelling of their origin story, with a greater focus than ever before on the human characters, like news reporter April O'Neill, rather than the titular turtles themselves.  Megan Fox is fine as April, though her acting chops aren't quite sharp enough to always sell the CGI turtles that she is supposed to be acting with.  While I personally would have liked to see the Ninja Turtles themselves actually get more to do in the plot, their personalities were spot on, save for the too mean Splinter.  I just wish less of the focus had been on the not so interesting human characters (sorry, but that's how it's always been with this franchise).  Even with the villains, Shredder has less to do than the white guy villain played by William Fichtner, who is the real mastermind of the evil plot.  With that all said, I kind of liked the revisionist angle that this movie took on the traditional Ninja Turtles origin story, having April's past being intrinsically linked with that of the turtles.  Add on to that the heightened comic book style that this movie oozes (no pun intended) and you have the ingredients for a movie that will delight the targeted audience.

If you have a kid, in particular a young boy, they'll love this movie.  While there is a little more innuendo and cussing in this movie than there was in any previous Ninja Turtles movie, most of it is subtle enough to where it will go over most kids' heads.  I mean, when you hear reviews from the kids leaving the audience in front of you, like, "Best Movie Ever!!!"  You know that the movie works for who it's intended for.  As an adult fan of the series, I know I am not the target audience, so that's why I'm a lot more forgiving of a lot of the shortcomings of this particular movie, because while it isn't the TMNT's finest hour, there is a lot of fun to be had here.

This is the kind of movie that if you check your mind at the door, anyone will probably have a good time with it.  The action sequences are top notch and imaginative, with the car chase down a snowy mountain being one of the most silly, yet fun sequences of action I've seen in a while.  Plus, while so many complained about the giant size of the new Ninja Turtles and their super strength, they do look really cool when onscreen beating up the bad guys.  I for one would not mind a sequel to this particular movie to see if, with the origin story out of the way, the filmmakers can root their feet more firmly into this world and give it another go, because this is the first Ninja Turtles movie series where I could imagine seeing some of the weirder TMNT villains popping up.  If you ask me, bring on the Kraang and explain the secret of the alien ooze that created the Turtles, similar to the current Nickelodeon TV show.

I give Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a C+!

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