For fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, there was such hope surrounding the release of their latest cinematic reincarnation.
The accurately named, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” directed by Jonathan Liebesman, was meant to be the rebirth of the franchise. Instead it comes up short of what it could have been.
In spite of early rumors (which may have been true, at some point) that the Turtles would be aliens in this rendition, they’re still mutants. Although, aside from that small detail the film does take some unnecessary liberties with their story.
April O’Neil (Megan Fox), a young reporter looking for her big break, discovers the Turtles while investigating the Foot Clan, a local gang that’s been terrorizing New York City.
When she hears their names, Raphael (Alan Ritchson), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), and Leonardo (Johnny Knoxville – voice, Pete Ploszek – performer), she realizes that these are the turtles she rescued from her father’s lab.
In spite of the Turtles request that she keep their existence a secret, O’Neil decides to pitch their story to her boss in an attempt to jumpstart her career. Needless to say, she looks more than a little crazy, and is promptly fired.
Desperate to find at least one person who will believe her story, and hopefully get her job back, she reaches out to her fathers old boss (William Fichtner), who, it turns out, is in league with the Foot Clan.
Lucky for her (and New York), the Turtles are able to save the day.
The story itself is alright. However, it’s the horrible dialogue that really weighs it down, particularly that of the human characters. While I’m a fan of the intentionally drawn out villain’s monologue, it doesn’t come across as intentional in this film.
Plus, it’s not just the villains who are just a tad too chatty. There’s more than a few scenes where the human characters really need to be cut a few words short. I’m all for exposition, but at a certain point you have to have some faith that your audience will be able to figure some things out all on their own.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have its redeeming, and entertaining qualities. While the non-reptile characters are, for the most part, less than riveting, the film gets the Turtles right.
The dynamic between these heroes in a half shell is perfect, and with their motion-capture makeover, they look amazing, too. They’re the smart, funny, pizza-loving, ninjas, and unlikely heroes that fans have all come to know and love.
Unfortunately, overall the film falls short. If you’re a huge Turtles fan, it’s worth seeing. Just be prepared to not love everything about this latest reincarnation.
…just for fun: