If you did not see the movie feel safe to read the review. It is pretty much spoiler free to begin with and I will warn you when I start revealing the deets.
I saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie this morning. I must say, that going into the theater there was a little part of me that wanted to hate the movie. After all Michael Bay totally raped the Transformers so I could only imagine what he was going to be doing to my beloved turtles (even though he was only a producer of the movie and did not direct).
Surprisingly enough I did not find the movie all that horrible. There were of course plot holes and things that messed up the story telling which I will get to in a little bit., but there are those things in all movies.
Now, before I start telling you why this movie is not as bad as many have speculated, let me tell you that I am making most comparisons to the Saturday morning cartoon show. This is where I discovered the turtles. It was not until later, when I was old enough to explore the comic book stores, did I find the much better and more graphic comic books that the cartoon was based off of. I feel this comparison is the correct one to make since most fans are remembering their childhood on Saturday mornings and most have little idea of the books. Also scrap every shitty spin off and money making incarnation we have seen of the turtles. Including, but not limited to, concerts, time travelers, and female turtles with breasts. Really, why does a turtle have mammary glands?
Sorry…back to the movie.
Like I said, it was better than expected. There was plenty of action right from the jump and it never really slowed down. Two bits of exposition were worked seamlessly in at just the right moments to give us a little breather and reveal what little back story there was.
Character development was a problem. Mainly because there was none. Raphael had a slight character arc that made sense, but jumped from realistic to over-dramatic real quick. There was almost no back story to the Shredder, and as far as I can remember they never even used the name Oroku Saki. Everyone just called him Shredder.
The origin of the turtles was tweaked a little bit. Now their creation was done on purpose, although the scientists were not directly setting out to create mutant ninja turtle teenagers. They also have a connection to April O’Neil and her dad, which seems a little much at first. I mean, not everything has to have a connection.
Remember when the movie was in development and there was talk of the turtles being aliens? Thankfully they didn’t go that angle, but there was a funny little line acknowledging that was a stupid idea. I appreciated seeing that in the movie.
The look of the turtles is a far cry from the cartoon, but I like the design work. They have a rugged, much more gritty look to them which I think would have fit well in the comic series. All four of them also have distinct personalities, much like the cartoon, but more exaggerated than the cartoon. These personalities come out in the way the turtles look and interact with each other.
The movie was full of one-liners and witty banter among the turtles, but the cartoon and original movies had the same thing. Again, something done well.
It really is a good enough movie for what it is. Science-fiction/action/comedy. I would give it 3.5/5 stars.
But just as any movie out there ever made, this movie does have its flaws…and here they are.
WARNING: This is where the spoilers start. If you do not want to know details of the movie than stop reading now and instead click here to join my mailing list. This will keep you up to date of my movie watching as well as all of my creative projects I have in the pipeline.
The first thing I find wrong with this movie is April O’Neil. But it is not why you think. Megan Fox did a semi decent job at the role, but the character was just poorly written. Four years of journalism school and she can’t even put together a complete thought when trying to tell her boss about vigilantes stopping the Foot Clan? Worse than that she puts together this elaborate white board with pictures of turtles from zoos and shit, but fails to show her boss the picture of the actual ninjas jumping across a rooftop. The very picture she had on her phone and showed Sacks when telling him the failed experiment survived a fire and grew into mutant ninjas.
Speaking of Sacks, we have a man that really has no motivation to commit the crimes that he is committing. He is clearly a successful business man worth billions of dollars. A nice estate in the mountains, a private helicopter, his own building in Manhattan, and multiple businesses under the Sacks Corporation umbrella. Yet he is working with the Shredder and helping the Foot Clan so that he can get rich? What the fuck? How does that make any sense?
Oh yeah, the Foot Clan. No longer are they ninjas. Now we have special forces soldiers running around with guns and terrorizing citizens. And in the second half of the movie their guns are…yellow? What? I thought maybe this was to sell Nerf guns, but a quick search doesn’t turn up any movie tie-ins. Yet.
Another problem I have is with the big chase scene. Down the side of a mountain. In the snow. The physics are beyond impossible on this one. I can suspend disbelief for a while, especially when it comes to talking turtles, but the way they were slipping and sliding back and forth all while keeping track of each other and all of the Foot and dodging vehicles and gun fire…and still being able to have the witty banter back and forth. It is not a deal breaker, but it is pretty bad.
Guns. The turtles just happen to find out they are bullet proof at the very moment they are being shot at by the Foot. It seemed implied that the shells were bullet proof, but their skin was still vulnerable. Fine, I can buy that, but then they run into the fight like it is nothing. Raphael actually bounces bullets off the bottom of his shell. WTF?
And another thing. Splinter learned Jujitsu from reading a book he found in the sewer. He became a ninja master by teaching himself from the pages of a book. Yep.
As for the Super Shredder armor. I like it. I can deal with it. I can even understand why he would wear it to fight the turtles since they have monstrous strength from being mutants and all. But to have blades fly from the arms and then return to the arms like boomerangs, that is just too far gone.
I am sure there were other things that bothered me about this movie, but they were not serious enough to stick in my mind. It doesn’t matter anyway because as I said it wasn’t horrible and I liked it.
Even after re-hashing all those things wrong I still give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.