Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review
By Neale McGeever
In the late 80s and early 90s, four cartoon reptile dudes ruled the world. Wherever you looked there was a Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael. The world had gone Turtle crazy. Awesome games on the SNES and Mega Drive, a trilogy of brilliant films and an addictive TV series. Fast forward to 2014, there has been various versions of TMNT over the years and now this big screen Hollywood incarnation. Will it match up to the 1990 cult-classic?
Watching the trailer you would think this version of the heroes-in-a-half-shell was directed by Michael Bay. Although he isn’t in the director chair this time (that credit goes to Jonathan Liebsman, famous for Battle: Los Angles) Bay is the film’s producer. As you can imagine there are explosions, lens flare and static feedback in almost every scene. This is clear from the beginning even in the scenes that aren’t even action scenes.
The film’s protagonist is April O’Neill (Megan Fox) who is doing some investigative journalism and stumbles on an attack by a terror group known as the Foot-clan. Some mysterious figures fight off said attackers, as you probably guess this is the green ninjas themselves. This leads to April and her camera man Vern (Will Arnett) being dragged into a battle between the Turtles themselves and the leaders of the foot-clan Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) and his accomplice Dr Sacks (William Fichtner).
At a shorter running time of 101 minutes and the subject matter for this film, I thought this was probably aimed at boys aged 7 to 10 but then noticed it was rated 12. What audience is this for? It is too tame for an ‘adult’ audience who might be expecting an Avengers or Transformers style action epic, yet has too many sexual and ‘retro’ references for younger audiences. I feel a lot of was taken out of the script and perhaps Bay and Liebsman are to blame here for basically making this Transformers 5, but without any Transformers. Well, Shredder is more or less a human sized Transformer with a Ninja inside. Megan Fox’ cardboard cut-out performance is slightly saved by Arnett’s quips but still isn’t anything to write home about.
On the plus side, the visual effects were as good as you would expect from one of these films and the character design is pretty good. Each Turtle looks different which makes a change from previous versions which could only be distinguished by their mask colour – Donnie even has glasses!
In all – I would stay away from this if you grew up saying ‘Cowabunga!’ and even called it ‘Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles’ but for younger viewers who are new to the TMNT franchise this will be an exciting action flick.
For fans of:
Transformers, The Avengers