Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Reboot) – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

TMNTTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Reboot) – 3/5 – A long time series that have withstand the test of time.  There have been iterates in many different forms (comics, TV shows, toys) but one of the big ones was the first 3 films in the early 90s.  Even for those films, this is the first since an animated film back in 2003.  With a new film dealing with the lore, it is a recycling of the turtle’s origin story with some twists.  As much as I can go down the road of bashing this film because of the standard quality and all other elements that follow; I will go out on the limb and step away from most critics out there.  TMNT is a film that will entertain; even if it is because of the nostalgia perspective.

Premise:  A group of mutated creatures must face off against an evil force before they take control of New York City

In this film, the turtles aren’t created through costumes but CGI.  Outside of their CGI creation (explained later), they are voiced by the following:

Raphael voiced by Alan Ritchson

Michelangelo voiced by Noel Fisher

Leonardo voiced by Johnny Knoxville

Donatello voiced by Jeremy Howard

All four actors do an OK job in providing the voice for the turtles.  Through only their voice (and some motion capture by the actors) you get true individualism to each of the roles.  All four brothers are distinct and help provide some element of joy to this film.  At times, some of the acting abilities come across very tasteless, but even when some actors push the term of archetypal elements of adolescence ‘teenagers’, it is bearable.  Voicing Splinter is Tony Shalhoub.  He does a good job in providing the standard ‘mentor’ role for the Turtles.  Even for the typical qualities; there is a little more passion to the role because of it being a humanized version within a rat.  When it comes to the rest of the cast (including the villains) you have as followed:

Megan Fox as April O’Neil

Will Arnett as Vernon Fenwick (O’Neil’s sidekick)

William Fichtner as Eric Sacks

Tohoru Masamune as Shredder

Minae Noji as Karai

All of these people bring to life standard roles when it comes to either being the support for the good Guys (O’Neil or Fenwick) or the archetype bad guy (Shredder).  There really isn’t anything amazing to what you see in these roles as compared to the turtles.  It is one-dimensional and very much ‘strings’ attached to the actions of the Turtles and the plot.  All the explanation of the rest of the cast does come as a disappoint when you come to describing their arch nemesis; Shredder.  A character with a staunch personality (in other mediums); he is so stale when compared to the Turtles.  There is no rhyme or reason to his fervor, just to be an ‘anti’ for the purpose of the film.

The direction of this film follows the simple path of a hero’s tale with a mix of nostalgia ‘back-story’ involving the lore of TMNT.  The film goes as follow:

1st Act – Back-story (prologue); slow introduction to all players (Turtles, O’Neil and Shredder)

2nd Act – Fights with ‘common’ action; more exposition; trivial conflict and twist introduced

3rd Act – Action montage; predictable fights; final confrontation and epilogue

This is the film in a nutshell.   What helps the film to rise slightly above average is that it follows the tale of mutated turtles and their quest to protect NYC from the Foot Clan.  Outside of this; the film’s enjoyment also comes through either:

Comical hijinx and interaction between the Turtles

Action and Fight Scenes

These are the only two good things about the movie.  When you watch the film, the Turtles are presented as the most important thing, but the direction strays from them way to much throughout the film’s running time.  A lot of the focus goes to the developing and unnecessary ‘twist’ as well as the ‘ho hum’ bantering between O’Neil and her sidekick.  These decisions made fragments the pacing as well as make part of the story shallow.  Even for these standard tricks of cheesy one liner and overtures of ‘dire’ consequences; the Turtles (ironically) keep the film grounded.  There ‘brotherly’ sense gives heart to the film.  Once the film gets into the second and third acts, it picks up the pace and does a decent job in keeping its linear focus on the Turtles.  With this focus, we do get introduced to what was partial introduced in the beginning within the theme of the hero’s tale; the protagonist must stop the antagonist from the aforementioned ‘end of the world’ scenario.  With this; we get a good mixture of choreograph fights; over-the-top sequences and enjoyable bantering.  Once we come to the ultimate showdown, it is mixture of good actions and predictable conclusions.  What you expect will happen, happens.  Once we get pass the climax and head into the epilogue, you feel that there was a lot of bad in this film, but because of that ‘nostalgia trip’ you don’t feel as if there was a complete waste of your time.

The cinematography is a mixture of great CGI creations presented against typical backdrops.  You have the basic usage and look at New York City, as well as the sewers where the Turtles live.  There isn’t much here to describe as extraordinary, it is all representative of the story’s linear perspective.  What you can describe as amazing is the creation of the Turtles, Splinter and Shredder.  The visual representation of each turtle fits their attitudes and personalities; helping create something worthy within an average film.  Even though Splinter and Shredder don’t get this kind of imaginative creation; they do still have visual perks within themselves. The music plays second fiddle to everything, and doesn’t stand out from the rest.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is what you would expect; standard action with enough twist and imagination to be close or above average (depending on the audience).  There are a lot of standard qualities to the supporting actors/actress; story elements and atmospheric nature; but you still have enough with the Turtles to make it worth watching for some.  If you’re a fan of the turtles; lore and just want something to do on an early morning matinee.

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