Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

My son and I went to see the new TMNT movie the other day.  He's gotten into the Turtles, and really wanted to see it, so even though I could have easily skipped it, we went.  And per usual, those wondering if there are "curse words" in the movie, there are a few, but nothing too bad.

And I was not blown away by it, but it wasn't all that bad, either.  Capsule review - don't bother unless you have kids that want to see it, like me.  I want to add "or unless you're a massive TMNT fan" but then I wonder if actually that might be a reason to skip it...

Spoilerish commentary below.  Click away if you don't want to have the rather weak plot spoiled for you.

Still with me?  I'll start with the good parts.

There were plenty of funny moments, lots of callbacks to the original comics (maybe more than I caught, as I've not read that many of the original issues yet) and to the 80's/90's Saturday morning cartoon.  And lots of general pop-culture references.  My son was really excited when he picked up on them. 

The action scenes were a mix, some fun to watch, others either too fast or too drawn out. 

The voice acting for the turtles and Splinter were all pretty good.  And the turtles definitely were written as, and performed as, teenagers!  Leo and Raph are at each other's throats most of the movie, Mikey has an annoying crush on April O'Neil, and Donatello is a big stereotypical nerd.

Big spoiler (I think, based off of the trailers/promo material I'd seen going into it) - The Shredder actually IS Japanese!  They made it look like the William Fichtner character was the Shredder, but he's actually Shredder's minion. 

Not so good stuff?  Well, I wasn't fond of the turtles being 6' plus tall, nor of their weird facial animation/rendering.  I think it's that the eyes were too human.  Splinter looked pretty cool, though.

The "Foot Clan" really only has two ninja, Shredder and Karai.  Everyone else is just a mercenary with guns and occasionally melee weapons. 

Maybe the cartoons have made Baxter Stockman seem too incompetent, but they could have used the original comics version of the character rather than Eric Sachs as the main villain (yeah, Shredder is really the secondary villain in this one, even though the climactic battle is against him, and plays out similarly to TMNT #1).

Was the cartoon that influential that April O'Neil needs to be a TV reporter?  And why was Whoopie Goldberg as her producer not given any funny lines?  And why didn't April show her cell phone video of the turtles to Whoopie to save her job/prove she's not crazy when in the very next scene with her she's showing it to Sachs?

Hmm, I could go on, but that' probably enough.  It wasn't a great movie, but it wasn't dreadful either.  My son really enjoyed it, so that's worth something.  We got to spend a quality afternoon doing something together that he enjoyed.  I won't recommend seeing it, but I won't judge you if you watch it and find you like it.

1 comment:

  1. I'm considering checking it out. Despite not really caring for Michael Bay's recent contributions to the silver screen, I was quite the TMNT junkie in my youth.

    Chances are I'll just go see Guardians of the Galaxy again.