Everyone who grew up in the nineties remembers the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Turtles, like Pogs, were certainly part of my childhood. In the world we live in of remakes, reboots, and sequels I cannot believe it has taken this long for a new live action Ninja Turtles picture (there was a animated movie TMNT in 2007 that went straight to DVD ). The original movies from the early 90s were massive successes, in fact when the first film came out in 1990 it was the second highest grossing indie movie of all time. Sadly these films have not aged well which leaves the franchise ripe for a reboot. Unfortunately for us, producer Michael Bay has got his hands on the project and if his treatment of the Transformers franchise is anything to go by this will not end well.
This movie is fine. Which is better than I expected. It is not as insultingly offensive as Michael Bay’s Transformers saga but it does retain many of its more deplorable aspects like leering over Megan Fox. It is so bad that her opening scene has her jumping on a trampoline in a tank top. This is a movie aimed at 12 year olds? Was that really necessary? Bay’s chosen director, Jonathan Liebesman, is an extremely unadventurous selection. Liebesman has made some high grossing, low intelligence, blockbusters like Battle: Los Angeles and Wrath of the Titans and does very little here to enhance his reputation. Megan Fox is perfectly fine as April O’Neil, sadly no yellow jumpsuit. The redesign of the turtles and the Shredder has been a point of contention with fans, but I think the new designs look great. The turtles are big hulking monsters but they move smooth and fluidly. Their CGI faces do a good job of getting across their singular character traits. The voice acting however leaves a lot to be desired when you see the great work done in other movies with CGI characters like The Hobbit you really feel like there is no excuse for such one dimensional work. Narratively, the story is surprisingly straightforward, you’re almost waiting for a twist that never comes. Honestly it is hard to write about a movie that is so run of the mill, it’s reasonably funny, the action is competently directed, and the special effects are well done.The problem is that in the last five years have the Marvel movies have set the bar so high it’s hard to recommend going to see this. Guardians of the Galaxy (still in some cinemas ) has set the benchmark in superhero adventure movies and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes up embarrassingly short. It’s hard to pinpoint where it all goes wrong but I think it comes down to a lack of personality. It has no spirit of adventure or charm that is found in the original films and all good adventure movies. That said, with midterm coming up and if you are looking for something to do with the children on a rainy day you will not really go wrong.