Film - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Nate McKenzie orders in pizza and buffs up his nunchucks to deliver his opinion on the reboot of the classic eighties "turtle-y awesome" phenomenon that was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ...

When I heard that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was being rebooted to fill studio pockets share with a new generation, I was decidedly less than excited; and that was not just because I have great memories of the original films and television show, as many other people do. I have an eight year old son who enjoys the toys I grew up with and the movies I passed on to him. Children today still love the old TMNT franchise. The need for a reboot was clearly unnecessary. However, if it could be done well it might at least be enjoyable. HAHA What a silly rube I was to think that.

Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Transformers, er... Turtles is a mess. The story line could not be more contrived. The acting is sophomoric. The only thing impressive about the bullet-time slo-mo actions shots is how much they made me want to actually take a bullet. If you gave me one million dollars and six months I could use my old TMNT action figures and create a stop-motion film with more realism and substance. I could even use old Dino Riders to spice it up and have less of a convoluted result. Bay had a budget of $125M (the original had $13.5M) and apparently he spent all of it on actors whose names you recognise but that have nothing to add to the roles for which they were hired.

I actually love Michael Bay movies. The Rock, Bad Boys, Armageddon, even the first Transformers movie; they were all big, fun action movies. There absolutely is a place for them in cinema. But what he did with TMNT was take all of the "Michael Bay shots" from his previous movies (you know them when you see them) and fit the script to his cinematic style. I'm not even sure he actually read the script. I realise he didn't direct the film but his influence is all over. It feels like a Michael Bay film, and not for the better. Perhaps director Jonathan Liebesman was trying to emulate Bay. In any case, he missed his mark.

Megan Fox is stunning. Yes, to look at, but also stunning in her ability to be a terrible actor and still get work. There are plenty of beautiful faces that could have filled the aesthetic of April O'Neil who aren't afraid of facial expressions for fear their plastic surgeon's work would be undone. I'll take Judith Hoag, the original April O'Neil over Megan Fox any day. I would have much preferred Anna Kendrick, who tested for the role.

Megan Fox

All of the ridiculous CGI absolutely takes you out of the movie. The 1990 version of the Ninja Turtles were played by guys in actual costumes and they were far more inviting than the new versions. The noses. I think it was the noses. The Turtles Four looked like they hadn't just mutated from lesser versions of turtles, but had actually developed more human characteristics. I realise it's nit-picking to point out that humanoid turtles who talk, eat pizza, and fight ninja's while wielding ninja weapons have human-like noses, but it was truly off-putting. Not only were they hard to look at but listening to them was like listening to a bunch of stoners. Their voices were entirely annoying. I wasn't surprised to find out that Johnny Knoxville does the voice of Leonardo. I make a point to avoid anything with him in it if I can. Splinter is voiced by Tony Shalhoub and Splinter sounds like he is voiced by Tony Shalhoub. I would love to never hear that combination again in my life.

I will say that this movie did get one thing right: there are a lot of references to the original series. April's yellow jacket, Michelangelo's love for cats, and the Turtle Van (as well as many other Easter eggs) were all nice touches. However, the one that actually got me to spend money on the movie was the scene in which the gang is riding up an elevator prepared to fight. This is an often missed homage to the Ninja Turtles arcade game in which they begin each level riding an elevator up a building then fighting on each floor in order to save April. If not for the clip of this I probably would have done my best to avoid the movie altogether (despite plea's from my son to see it).

I understand why kids would like this movie. If I was 10 years old I'd probably freak over it, too. But when I hear adults claim that it was a good movie (even taken in the context of a fun, dumb, action movie) I can not respect any further opinions from that person. This reboot was so bad I was rooting for the Shredder and the Foot Clan in hopes that the death of the turtles would prevent any further sequels.

Unfortunately, the power of green turtles is nowhere near as powerful as the green of money. A sequel is in the works. Cowabummer.

Image - Amazon and Paramount.