Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Review EXTREME!!!!!! Jonathan Liebesman | August 8, 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) is not as good as fans remember. It was a silly, over the top comedy with action sequences intermingled, and even those were gateways for wacky antics. The story told a barebones example of family, being true to yourself and debuted a villain with a ridiculous plan that makes no sense. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) is exactly the same. The difference is the quality of competition, Hollywood spectacle and audience evolved over 24 years. In New York, The Foot is running rampant through the city. The police are powerless to stop them, denizens fear for their lives and one spunky reporter will do anything to expose their existence. April O’Neil’s goal is to convenience her boss there is a mysterious vigilante standing up to The Foot and prove she is a better reporter than fluff pieces. What she uncovers is a conspiracy to destroy the city, unconventional heroes and her place in the world. What is a Critical Hit! The turtles act like brothers. They squabble, bicker and go back and forth in a way that captures seventeen years of familiarity. Once the mysteriousness of their existence is revealed, the movie wisely focuses most of its attention on the heroes. They are amusing at times, never as hilarious as the writers want you to think they are, and are the true heart of the film. Neutral Observations The personalities on the turtles is dialed up to a 1,000. Everyone knows that Raphael is angry, well now he is pissed off at everything and grunts out every line of dialogue. Donatello is always smart and in this version he is the personification of nerdiness. If you want to hear everything become an attempted one-liner then listen to Michelangelo’s surfer speak. And taking a cue from X-Men, where the leader (Cyclops) is synonymous with being a stick in the mud, is Leonardo. He just kind of exists and is the least fleshed out of the team. This same more is better approach is applied to the villains, Splinter, set pieces and turtles themselves. The overall theme of this movie is why settle for one blade when there is a convoluted way for character to utilize a hundred. The human allies, played by Megan Fox and Will Arnett, sure are in this movie. They are necessary plot devices, especially April, and setup jokes for the story to play into but don’t mean anything. I don’t see a reason for audiences to hate them, but there is no reason to love them. What is Not Very Effective… The aesthetics of the brothers and their big bad is unnecessarily busy and complicated. Donatello specifically wears glasses, a cyberpunk backpack and can equip extra goggles that display random readings. To demonstrate how gruff and rough he is, Raphael keeps a toothpick in his mouth the entire adventure. It’s more distracting to see him chomping down on it continually through the sewer, snow, punches to the face and pizza. The design of all the Turtles feels like a scavenger hunt to identify each item they carry on them. Mikey definitely has more than the minimum required pieces of flair. Everything is convenient; how the universe is established, characters have relationships that are mathematically impossible but occur constantly. Even the method for how the Turtles received their training seems to be an afterthought more than a necessary journey they undertake. I can suspend my disbelief long enough to acknowledge that mutagen turns turtles into giant, incredibly agile and strong heroes…but if they never left the sewer how did they acquire so much pop-culture knowledge and exceptional equipment? This complaint is barely fair (as it applies to many blockbusters) but there is a substantial amount of product placement. The opening sequence contains footage that would be perfect for a TMNT/Fruit Ninja crossover (maybe it already exists). I have been reprogrammed to eat all my meals from Pizza Hut and make all my calls on Skype. I wouldn’t call TMNT out, but it was distracting and felt like a mini-commercial within the film. Status Summary This is not a bad film by any stretch; it’s also not a great one either. Fans of the original movie will be upset about how “their” Turtles are muscle bound steroid freaks. People who enjoyed the first cartoon will find this too violent and loud. If you are currently watching the Nickelodeon TMNT show…that is much better than this incarnation. This is a Hollywood blockbuster, paint by numbers approach that happens to use an existing franchise as the lead characters. If you prefer movies with complicated plots or subtle characters than this is not the adventure for you. If you enjoy large scale action sequences, a quick barrage of one-liners and are willing to not ask questions than be prepared to shout Cowabunga! Score: 5.5 /10 + Turtles Interaction + Occasional Funny Moments – Too Many Attempts at Humor – Uninspired Action Sequences – Everything is Connected Level Up, Friends!