Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) movie review
Michael Bay has quite a reputation in Hollywood. He is the king of explosions and gran action sequences, and not much else done right. After his work on the Transformers franchise, audiences think any franchise he touches will be destroyed. That brings us to this new TMNT film. In its early stages, rumors were abound about things like the Turtles were going to be aliens and things like that. Naturally fans were hesitant and sentencing this movie to mediocrity before it even came out. It didn't help things when it was announced that the official theme song would be a rap from Wiz Khalifa. So, how is it? Is it a disgrace to the beloved Turtles? It's quite the opposite.
After an opening of images showcasing our Turtles' origins, we open up on a New York under the terror of The Foot Clan. A group of terrorists that control all crime in the town, led by the villainous Shredder. We see April O'Neil (Megan Fox), as an outgoing journalist trying to uncover the story of The Foot, yet stuck with low tier stories. She works with Vern (Will Arnett), who is constantly hitting on her, and they work for Whoopi Goldberg. Her character has a name, but she will just see Whoopi Goldberg. Meanwhile, a business man named Eric Sacks (William Fitcher), who claims to the city that he will what he can to help clean up crime, even though his intentions may not be what they seem. It turns out as well, that Will Sacks worked with April's father before he passed away.
April while out in the field, sees mysterious vigilantes defeating The Foot. She even gets a picture of them, and they call her out on it. It is here we finally see our Turtles in their full glory. While they certainly don't harm April, but they warn her to not show anyone or let anyone know. For they are still in the sewer in training until their Master Splinter (Tony Shalhoub) deems it safe to emerge. But soon, Shredder learns of their existence and their meddling in his plans. Will Shredder take down the Turtles? Will they rise up as the team they are destined to be to stop The Shredder?
Let's address the elephant in the room, the Turtles are great. With the exception of Johnny Knoxville voicing Leonardo, the voice acting from them are actors that aren't relatively well known. But these guys, including Knoxville, nail the parts. Even if you go into this movie knowing nothing of the Turtles, they are a lot of fun and well acted. The CGI may turn some people away, but I think it is impressive. For the first time in a long time in their history, the Turtles look DISTINCTLY different from each other, not just their colored bands. They are even pretty big guys, like, mutant turtles you could even say. I think Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael not only look great, but act and sound great. I wish Donnie was given a bit more character than being the nerd, but it wasn't insulting or anything. I think the Turtles are done great justice here.
Megan Fox is considered a terrible actress and is just on screen because of her looks. Guess what, she actually gives a decent performance here. She captures the spunk and eagerness of April's character, and actually manages to be a strong and independent woman, and not just the damsel in distress from series' past (mainly the 80's cartoon.) I was happy with her performance. Shredder is AWESOME. Man, he is one of my favorite comic book villains, and here, he looks incredible. They capture such an intimidating Shredder here, and we actually see him in action a lot! What a welcome treat, something not a lot of super hero movies can claim. Would I like to actually hear them talk about his back story? Yea, people that don't know about him and watch this movie will be confused, but he looks awesome!
Splinter is such a mix here. His CGI is a little off, yet he is awesome as well and kicks a lot of butt. he is voiced b Tony Shalhoub, which is done well, but it's so odd hearing this voice with Splinter. It's just such an odd choice, but it isn't bad. The Foot clan is so disappointing here. It would be odd to have ninjas, yes, but just gun-toting terrorists with no skills fall like dominoes before the Turtles, and provide little threat or challenge. Will Arnett is a funny man, but here, he is kind of lackluster. And it is not his fault honestly, he is never really given funny things to say, yet he is giving it his all. The rest of the supporting cast is decent, they get their jobs done, but nothing exciting. They are kind of just there.
The story is good, seriously. The origins of the Turtles here are justifiable and honestly better than some interpretations from the past. With it being understandable and destiny as apposed to just random chance. Now, the only real problems here involve the villains' plan. Now I won't spoil it here, but there is a gaping flaw in the plan. Like, I'm surprised this one wasn't caught. And yes, the whole "all of the main characters are connected conveniently" might irk some, but it's fine here. The action is also great. There are several great action sequences, especially the climax. These are well choreographed and action packed scenes, and I loved them. They are the highlight of the film.
Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. The Turtles have always been great, silly and entertaining fun, and those feelings are captured here on spot. Anyone hesitant about Bay's name being near this movie shouldn't worry. The Turtles are done justice here, and it is a film worthy of their legacy. There are problems with the plot, and hopefully the human cast will be a little stronger next time, but I can't wait for more, because these Turtles are enjoyable enough for the ride.
I give Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 4 pizza slices out of 5
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