TMNT (2007)

Posted in Reviews by - September 11, 2014
TMNT (2007)

Writer/director Kevin Munroe dispenses with formalities and lands us in the midst of a Turtle tumult, with teacher’s pet Leonardo (‘Leo’ to his mates) banished to the wilds of central America to meditate on the responsibilities of leadership, leaving his mutant brothers in disarray back in the sewers of New York. Donatello is putting his nerd skills to good use as an IT technician on a telephone help desk and Michelangelo works as a children’s entertainer. But it is Raphael who has fractured the most. He dons vigilante biker garb and fights crime as the anonymous Nightwatcher, much to Leo’s chagrin. The awesome foursome must settle their differences, however, before a British tycoon can unite 13 monsters and complete a bonkers 3000 year old prophecy with the help of a red-eyed army of moving statues.

The fourth Turtles film is a far cry from the cuddly rubber banter of Jim Henson’s original creature shop comedies, which finished up 14 years previously. This computer generated animation is darker, serious and more in keeping with the leaner 2003 cartoon series. The narrative follows developments in the TV show, so here’s the skinny for the benefit of those who haven’t been paying attention. Shredder has been defeated, leaving his ninja foot clan at the mercy of Zhang Ziyi’s broken English. April and Casey are now a superhero couple in fancy dress, and Splinter (voiced by Mako) resembles a forerunner to Shifu from Kung Fu Panda. No time is wasted in providing supplementary back story to characters which are already ingrained on the public psyche, and if you don’t know the concept by now, then, quite frankly, what are you doing watching this?

The animation and script lack the sharpness of a Pixar or DreamWorks film (this was the first feature length work by Hong Kong based digital studio Imagi), but fans of the franchise should still appreciate spending time in the company of these characters, and reassured in their continuing appeal to successive crowds of younger audiences.

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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