In a Nutshell – Easy to watch, as long as you don’t take the Turtles too seriously.
Film Grade – C+
Whilst I’m sure many are familiar with the story of the Turtles in some shape or form (be it the comics, the films or the numerous cartoon series there have been over the years.) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles follows a tale of 4 giant mutant turtles; Leonard, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo, their master/father, a giant rat named splinter, and a young news reporter, April O’Neil, as they fight in the name of good. In most media’s, the primary antagonist, The Shredder, which is the same for this film (plus Eric Sacks).
Directed by Jonathan Liebesman, and produced by Michael Bay. This incarnation of the TMNT story follows the same base line, the city has a super high crime rate and April O’Neil is a young, fresh faced reporter looking to make a big scoop. After getting into trouble, she is helped by the turtles who, although they try to remain hidden, end up befriending and working with the reporter.
To go too much into the story line will probably put the origins story at risk of spoilers as it has changed to make everything in the story interconnected. However, I will say for those wondering, there will be relief in the knowledge that the Turtles AREN’T aliens!
As far as the film plays out, I treat any film with Michael Bay involved the same: Keep expectations low, sit back, and just enjoy the ride, don’t fight it, just go with it.
Any hardcore turtles fan (or anyone who grew up watching the cartoons) will probably leave this film feeling a little dirty, but generally I actually enjoyed it, the action was violent enough and entertaining, (here’s hoping parents don’t complain about it too much this time round for the sequels ) the script wasn’t TOO cheesy, and whilst the story was pretty pathetic, it gave the film the vehicle it needed to drive on.
As far as acting goes, The voice acting with all the turtles is solid enough, and their different personalities shine through nicely, You can still see Raph is the hot head, Mikey is the joker, Don is the geek and Leo is the cool headed leader. Actually, whilst we are on the differences in the turtles, what I liked most visually, is that the turtles all actually looked different beyond their eye masks and weapons. Raphael is built like Ronnie Coleman compared to Donatello who is much slimmer in build and wears several gadgets and gizmos. It really helps flesh out the characters, which has never really done before.
Megan Fox of course looks flawless the whole film, and I literally mean flawless, honestly she somehow defies injury in any shape or form (and she gets thrown about abit…) and even the smallest amount of dirt. I don’t know what they sprayed her with, but if I could get some for the kitchen surface, that would be marvellous. Oh, her acting is not too shabby either, though I was surprised to see her in this film as I thought her and Michael Bay had fallen out after Transformers 2 ( I could be wrong on that though…)
Will Arnett did a good enough job as Aprils trusty Cameraman / side-kick. Although in the cartoons he was always more rival of April’s, but hey, creative licensing right?
William Fichtner made a decent baddie, but to be honest, I felt his role was a bit unnecessary except in how it tied in to the new origins story, he essentially played second in command to Shredder ( who whilst his suit was grossly over exaggerated, was cool to watch) and didn’t really add much.
All in all, I enjoyed this film. but that is because I set my expectations low from the outset. I watched TMHT (“Heroes”, as Ninja’s were deemed “Too violent” when I was a kid) as a kid as well, and figured I would only be disappointed if I got sucked into the hype. However, the comedy worked well enough (elevator boom box scene was really fun to watch.), the action played out well, and the acting wasn’t too terrible.
If you want some easy viewing, which entertains and a film which doesn’t take itself too seriously, you could do a lot worse.