Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2D)


It is very stupid, very loud and with a pacing that never slows down, but as dispensable as it truly is it still feels like what a Turtles movie is. I enjoyed it.

News reporter April O’Neil suspects there are vigilantes in New York City that are fighting back against the notorious terrorist cell known as the Foot Clan, yet has no evidence. However her investigation makes her life a whole lot weirder.

Writing a synopsis for something so engrained in public knowledge seems preposterous, the Turtles have been in mainstream circulation for nearly thirty years (almost as old as I am, and include the original comics and they ARE as old as I am!) yet the film seems at odds about how to treat this issue.
It plays narratively like an origin story (with some alterations) yet is edited as though we already know these characters. Is that a roundabout way to say “The characters aren’t fleshed out enough”? Yes, yes it is.
I grew up with the cartoon so I know these characters, yet when in the third act we get big sweeping character moments it feels completely out-of-the-blue due to the lack of characterisation! It doesn’t bother me personally, but it bothers me as a critic: characters haven’t been established in this origin story.

However the characters are great fun, despite all of this, as they remain unchanged. It feels like the Turtles of old are back again and bigger than ever (literally) I personally have very little to say about how they look, which apparently is a massive problem for many people. I will take a new, fresh look over replicating the same thing over and over.
Shredder too is a very important aspect in my affections for the franchise, Shredder was always a favourite of mine and when this film apparently advertised American actor William Fichtner to be Shredder I had to swallow a lot of my frustrations to give it a chance… But as it turns out, I am happy to say, Fichtner is NOT Shredder! This Shredder is quite bad ass actually.

So Shredder is good, the Turtles are good, designs are good, story is pulpy and full of predictable cliche that will make reluctant parents roll their eyes but is serviceable, now onto what I considered the biggest problem in the film’s production: Ms Megan Fox.
Any actress could play April, honestly, it isn’t a hard role to play. But why Fox, why? Luckily though the film, with a dollop of self-awareness, defuses this disdain by beginning with Fox’s recent career metaphorically summerised in one humourous tirade. Also most of the supporting cast begin by suspecting April’s sanity is in question. Did that alleviate all of my disgust? No, but it certainly helped!

It isn’t as ADD as the Transformers movies, the story behind this film is so incredibly simple that you are just awash with action sequences and can accept it as just that. That being said, I would have liked a quiet moment or two tossed in there to help the pacing. The script does what you’d expect: poke fun at the ludicrous premise while having our heroes quip and cheer obliviously as they always do.

You’ve probably already decided whether you are seeing it or not, and my pro-Transformers opinions probably don’t sway any of you naysayers, but I enjoyed it for what it was. It wasn’t as good as it could have been, but it did feel like a Turtles movie.

Additional Marshmallows: I am a big enough Turtles nerd to have spotted the little Usagi Yojimbo reference!

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