Real Talk By: KJ
The road to the rebooted Turtles was indeed chaotic. Everything from who would direct, to the plot itself. Would they be extraterrestrials? Did your childhood heroes get buried in the name of the mighty dollar? People give Michael Bay flack all the time. Disagreeing with his version of Transformers. The concern is that he would take the TMNT down too. Well, contrary to popular belief he is not handling direction duties. That job goes to Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of The Titans). It’s simply Bay money being tossed at the project. His Studio Platinum Dunes, and Industrial Light and Magic have put together some nice effects in the past. Still, Robots and Explosions are entirely different from sewer dwelling mutants. Right?
The super modernized designs threw people off. They have nostrils now. You know, like real turtles! Keep in mind they are mutated freaks, so the new appearances do make sense. Each Ninja has a unique look, that matches their personality. In hindsight, the results aren’t bad once you see everything play out on-screen. Enemy designs work too. The shredder always looks like a boss, regardless of the adaptation. Given some new tricks in this flick, he remains one of the toughest comic book villains. His foot soldiers, are less Ninja-like, using firearms instead of traditional weapons. They are thieves and crooks with obviously no honor. Sir Cmack brought that to my attention. We weren’t bothered by this update at all. Like all other versions, expect these thugs to get mangled by the good guys. Since the Turtles are the biggest they have ever been, each hit does serious damage. Watch the foot get tossed around like rag dolls.
Megan Fox plays News reporter April O’ Neil. She witnesses the TMNT fighting the foot, and wants to prove their existence. O’ Neil and her colleague Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett), work together in the film to uncover this force. The human interactions while not as weak as a typical Transformers flick, certainly leave much to be desired. Arnett’s character was clearly intended to be a huge part of the comedic relief. Too many of his lines fall flat. Several supporting cast members have the same issue.
Thankfully Michelangelo’s (Noel Fisher) material was much better. He had plenty of laugh out loud moments, with his brothers trying everything just to get him to shut up. Despite their newer looks, how the turtles behave has been faithfully represented. Donatello (Jeremy Howard) is loaded-up with cool gizmos and gadgets. They are put to good use. Leonardo (Johnny Knoxville) is just trying his best to keep every one together. His character design is actually my favorite. Of course hot-head Raphael is in here as well. His aggressive nature was properly conveyed do to the solid performance by Alan Ritchson. Their voices match the CGI counterparts I have to say. Splinter (Tony Shalhoub) has his moments as well. The Big Rat is always ready to educate a friend or foe.
The origin of the ninjas has been tweaked. While it didn’t outright disappoint, the changes seemed unnecessary. It felt more like “It’s 2014 so we need to have our own version of the story. Just because”. The bad guys’ master plan wasn’t a shocker by any means. More of just a generic Saturday morning cartoon plot. If that was the goal, then mission accomplished.
Despite the 2014 look, the filmmakers clearly did some digging. There are nice references from the 30 year history of this franchise. The hardcore and casual will find some solid stuff. The games, comics, and a nice nod to the 1990 film can be witnessed.
Ultimately Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014 was developed with the kids in mind. You knew it from the moment the Nickelodeon logo popped up on the screen. The movie has its violence, but doesn’t step out-of-bounds. Families can go see it and enjoy. We’re here to watch our four favorite turtles at the end of the day. Leo, Mikey, Don, and Raph, behave just as you remember them. In that regard, Liebesman keeps TMNT true to the source. If only the human element could have been as well-developed. While certainly flawed, at the end of the day it’s just a fun movie. So Laugh a little and see evil get shell-shocked.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Gets
3.5 out of Five
+Turtles you know and love
-Mixed performances from the humans