Movie Review: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014)
There have been other TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES movies made decades ago, however, with some amazing special effects, including motion capture technology for the actors portraying the Turtles, the 2014 Turtles film is by far the best film that has been able to bring our beloved Turtles to life. A movie produced and brought to the big screen by Michael Bay, TMNT is highly enjoyable despite having the same issues as Bay’s TRANFORMERS franchise… a complete lack of respect for the titular characters.
Blank Page Rating: 3 out of 5 Cheese Pizzas
Make no mistake, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES is the best possible iteration of the Turtles that we could have dreamed of. Despite the fun and comedic approach of the previous live action Turtles movie Franchise, the technological limitations required all action and martial arts to be done through practical effects. Whereas the new movie bridges the gap between cartoon & live action through special effects that allows the action and stunts to be truly mind-blowing and appropriate to the Turtles’ personas. The high flying acrobatics mixed in with the dramatic martial arts fight sequences between an almost robotic Shredder and the four Turtles invoke complete and utter fangasms during the viewing. But let’s get back to the movie as a whole.
The plot is pretty straightforward. The bad guy, played by William Fichtner, for some reason has Japanese Samurai origins due to being raised by Shredder, the classic TMNT villain. Through some form of villainy, he wants to rule the world through some vague and non-descript reasoning. The Ninja Turtles origin story is tied into Fichtner’s as they are said to be the Laboratory animals he was experimenting on when his lab blew up years ago. Knowing that the antidote for a poison with which he was going to poison the masses runs through their veins, Fichtner decides to set his plan back in motion by capturing the Turtles first. It’s a generic, go-no-where plot that makes very little sense, especially given how the origins of the Turtles were completely messed with.
Usually I’m not one to compare the source material that a movie is based on when reviewing the movie it self, but it’s hard not to when some plot points of TMNT makes absolutely no sense whatsoever within the film, but complete sense in the original Turtles story through the various cartoons. In the movie, the Turtles origins are unnecessarily tied into, basically every character, as they are shown as having been the pets of the same reporter who discovers them in the beginning of the movie, April O’Neil. April’s father was also colleague of William Fichtner’s character who then experimented and ultimately was responsible for mutating the Turtles & their Rat mentor Splinter in the first place. The laboratory Rat who mutates with the Turtles to become Splinter apparently skips any sort of adolescence that the Turtles go through, and for some other odd reason has a Fu-Manchu moustache and beard despite having no Asian connections whatsoever. This look however, makes sense if one goes by a different origin in other media, where a Japanese man was mutated into taking the form of a Rat, becoming Splinter.
The new TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES focuses a lot on the humans such as William Fichtner’s evil plot and scenery chewing, and Megan Fox’s comic relief sub plot with Will Arnett who, unfortunately, is not even funny here. For a Turtles movie, I would have preferred a larger piece of the film to focus on those 4 characters, their dynamics and their relationships, simply beyond a few scenes and flashback sequences. The film didn’t really establish any sense of brotherhood between the characters due to its brisk pace. The characters do however dominate every scene they are in with mind bending action, one liners and great humor. Of all incarnations of the TMNT, this film truly captures the ‘teenage’ parts of their persona as, despite their individual personalities, they are all shown at times to be completely immature and downright goofy.
Despite major origin issues, as well as a slew of… common sense problems, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES is enjoyable to watch, being a fun and entertaining movie. The incredible fight sequences are realistic and extravagant, while the all out special effects and chemistry between the main leads make this the best portrayal of the Turtles in a live action format yet.