Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Posted in Reviews by - October 22, 2014
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Perfectly serviceable reboot of the Turtles franchise which is just the sort of thing you would expect from the multiplex king of blockbuster carnage Michael Bay – here acting as executive producer. It’s loud, fast and brash with dumb dialogue and obvious product placement (a goofy Victoria’s Secret gag, Skype, Google, and a particularly risible Pizza Hut commercial about a third of the way through), plus it’s marginally unsuitable for really younger crowds. The buffed computer animated Turtles have been bestowed with significant upgrades; they’re easily four foot taller and now resemble Schwarzenegger in a morph suit. But their new-age digital manifestations strike a demanding figure and stop short of completely ruining the childhood of anyone who looks back with dewy-eyed nostalgia upon their beloved “heroes in a half shell” from when they were simply crude cartoon characters, or their latter-day rubber-suited live action selves. The Shredder suit is particularly bad-ass and contains a revolving sword conception like some kind of Samurai robot blender which wouldn’t look too out of place in one of Bay’s Transformers movies.

The overall tone is much darker, attempting at times (rather foolishly) to recreate the gritty, dystopian pretension found in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, before the premise becomes far too silly for it to work. Putting Michaelangelo’s cheeky wisecracks to one side, on the whole the film forgoes slapstick (there is only one fart gag) in favour of visceral, bone-crunching battle scenes and courageous action set pieces, all of which are enormous fun. A snow chase with Shredder’s Foot Clan sees the Turtles dodge an avalanche on a hurtling truck, using their shells to traverse the terrain at breakneck speed. In the final sequence, the dudes buddy up and put their ninja skills to great use on Shredder’s turbo suit whilst trying to save New York from chemical warfare. Megan Fox’s journalist April O’Neil acts as a catalyst for the story, helping to reveal the whereabouts of the Turtles to the Foot in an attempt to bag her a big scoop, before being pushed to the peripheries once the action takes over. The film does very little to move the story forward, and only comes marginally close to engaging in the disputes within the group (see the Hong Kong/US animation TMNT for more depth there). But on the whole this is a worthy rendition, bolstered by some really exciting moments.

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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