I know it’s in vogue to just automatically dislike any new take on beloved childhood icons, but I don’t have the energy for hating things I haven’t actually experienced. As such, I took the Michael Bay-produced, Jonathan Liebesman-directed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie from a few years back with a grain of salt. I had to cover a lot of the pre-release outrage for Spinoff back when it all happened and yet still decided to give it a watch on On Demand recently.
And you know what? It was alright. I liked it, but boy did it have a lot of weird problems with it. But first, the story. As the film kicks off we come to discover that the Foot Clan terrorizes New York City and everyone knows about it. Reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) wants to uncover the details and stumbles into the story of a lifetime: giant turtles are fighting the Foot in secret. They soon uncover a plot to mutate the entire city which pits them in battle against Shredder and the true leader of the Foot.
First and foremost, I thought the actors did a great job of selling all the craziness in this film. Fox is stellar as are Will Arnett, Whoopi Goldberg and William Fichtner as they just constantly have to say wild lines about ooze and mutants and vigilantes and the like. That’s one of the movie’s biggest problems, there’s just too much craziness. I think this film would have been easier to take had they cut out a few things (don’t they say that people will only buy one or two tangents from reality, not a dozen?).
My other major problem was the CGI presentation of Splinter. For the most part, I liked how the Turtles looked, but Splinter never once looked right or real to me. Motion capture is great when it’s just part of the whole, but doesn’t always work for me when it creates the leads. I also wasn’t a huge fan of how Shredder looked in his bonkers (but necessary, I guess) armor. Give me people in suits any day!
And yet, the action scenes were a ton of fun, especially that one down the wintry mountain (though the fact that you could get from a snow-covered mountain to the snow-less city in 20 minutes is crazy talk). That last one on top of the building also had its moments.
So, while I’m not a super fan, I had a good time and will definitely give the sequel a look. Do note, however, that this is NOT a movie for younger kids. In addition to the violence, this movie’s also got torture, talk of death and Splinter taking one HELL of a beating at the hands of Shredder. So keep that in mind. I know I have to because my daughter wants to see the sequel. Instead, I’m going to show her the fantastic TMNT 2: Secret Of The Ooze.