Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

TMNT 2Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – 3/5 – There is something to be said when it comes to nostalgia.  Nostalgia is a feeling that allows us to remember a time of wonder from our childhood.  This especially plays on the mind when it comes to films that rehash stories, characters or worlds from the past.  This sequel is no exception.  Built between an ideal movie experience and nostalgia from days past; this is one that tears at the mind of a critic.  You have to be concise when reviewing, but at the same time you have to speak your mind when something hits at its core elements.  What I can say is that even if this isn’t for the overall viewing audience, it plays to the audience it knows and never tries to do more than what is on the surface.  For all the shortcomings in the characters, direction and some of the plot, there is enough here have a good experience with your inner childhood.

Premise:  The Turtles must face an impending threat from another dimension; as Shredder teams up with the alien creature Krang to conquer the world.

In the title role of the turtles; you have:

Noel Fisher as Michelangelo

Jeremy Howard as Donatello

Pete Ploszek as Leonard

Alan Ritchson as Raphael

These four do a wonderful job in creating the unique, fun and amazing four brothers that live and protect the city of NYC.  No matter what happens throughout the film, these four bring a bravado that is filled with cool and excitement.  The ongoing bantering and brother like quarrels is something that breeds familiarity for the audience.  Even if some of the dialogue can be wincing at times; you put it aside for the nostalgic nature of the characters.  These four make this film watchable.  With the rest of the cast, you have some familiar returning faces and newcomers.  The ones prominent to the film’s story are:

Tony Shalhoub as Splinter (voice)

Megan Fox as April O’Neil

Tyler Perry as Baxter Stockman

Will Arnet as Vernon

Laura LInney as Chief Vincent

Stephen Amell as Casey Jones

Sheamus as Rocksteady

Gary Anthony Williams as Bebop

Brian Tee as Shredder

Brad Garrett as Krang (voice)

The overall cast (from new and old) create a sense of continuity.  All of them flow seamlessly through the transition from into this sequel; creating no distraction on why, what or where things happen.  Even with that genuine take, the acting is just as subpar as before.  There isn’t anything to scream depth or amazement, but that isn’t something you expect from this kind of film.  At most, each of the secondary characters (human and CGI) have enough personality to make them standout.  Even if they go into the cartoonish realm and fall into typecast roles, it plays fitting for what is given.  They do enough to become applicable to scenes and situations to help move the story along, only having minimal effect as the camera keeps the focus (thankfully) on the turtles.  For some of the newcomers (like Casey Jones, Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady); they help build up the whole fanfare sensation for the audience.  They play pivotal moments in the film (on the good and bad guys side); but don’t do much more than provide cogs for the turtles ongoing actions and frantic behavior.

The direction goes about in a simplistic fashion.  There is no rhyme or reason behind certain plot points or character developments; things just happen about to move from point A to B.  In the beginning there is a brief window of reintroduction for the Turtles, April O’Neil and the rest of the returning crew.  After the introduction of the new characters (to an extent), we lead into that simple direction that goes as followed:

Unique situation occurs > plot device/convenient storytelling takes place > characters fight/action scene commences > some ‘last minute’ outcome > consequence leads to predictable foreshadowing > rinse and repeat

Combined with this generic progression, each scene has added value (or not) of cliché one-liners, bantering/brother-like situations of the Turtles and ridiculous action.  All of these simple situations only play the card of obviousness; were it is sets the idea of an ‘impending’ doom from another dimension (in the form of Krang and his Technodrome).  The story is very bland and monotonous at times.  When it comes to creating a film; this kind of storytelling can bring the experience down to its knees.  This doesn’t happen because this film knows what it is and plays the cards of just going completely full throttled with the ridiculousness.  Instead of trying to take itself serious with the concept of ‘Ninja Turtles’ defending the ‘human race’ from an ‘alien conquer’; it knows the concept is child’s play and creates a playground for fun/over-the-top sensational elements.  The director takes this concept of playing to the senselessness of action and creates some amazing scenarios where the Turtles can fight the bad guys.  It is an adrenaline rush that will fulfills the inner child inside.  As mentioned, the flaws are still very obvious throughout its running time.  There are plot points that get explored and are left unanswered, situations occur out of convenience and some of the dialogue is just outright terrible.  If I am going to talk about how you can enjoy the simplistic take of what is on the surface, I still have to acknowledge the art of filming.  Even in a child’s film, creating something coherent could have made this experience a lot better (Big Hero 6), but there is enough happening to ignore the flaws (most the time) and enjoy what is on screen.  Once we get into the final act, all comes to head when the ‘impending doom’ arrives.  It is built through the common scenario of ‘good guy(s) must perform daring action to save the world’.  It is all too familiar, but one that works fine for the story at hand.  Once we hit the epilogue; it helps bring the audience that relevancy of it is ok to turn off your brain and just enjoy what is on the screen.

The visuals are a mixture of aesthetic appeal and creative prowess.  The creativeness comes from the CGI characters created.  There is a sense of imaginative and bizarre like mantra with these characters.  From the Turtles, Bebop/Rocksteady to the final action sequence that includes Krang and Technodrome; it is surreal and fun to see on screen.  The aesthetic aura comes with the overall variety of NYC locations.  From these locations (which includes the sewers where the turtles live), it creates a sense of believability for what is happening on screen.  The music is mute at best; not being a massive part in the film.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows will not please the overall audience, but if you’re a fan of these characters, the comics or cartoons; you will definitely enjoy this film.  For all the clichés, predictable plot elements and downright terrible dialogue; it is still just an average experience.  If you can turn your brain off and enjoy the action, you will have a good time.  Either way, I recommend this at a matinee, as a great time for the kids.

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