Pete Ploszek as Leonardo
Alan Ritchson as Raphael
Jeremy Howard as Donatello
Noel Fisher as Michelangelo
Megan Fox as April O’neill
Danny Woodburn as Splinter
Tohoru Masamune as The Shredder
Will Arnett as Vern Fenwick
William Fichtner as Eric Sacks
Minae Noji as Karai
Some people I know have been surprised that I didn’t see the most recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film in the theater. While I, like most who were children in the late 1980s, was a fan back then, the promos left a sour taste in my mouth. When I heard that mediocre-at-best director Michael Bay was producing it, I became even more skeptical of this movie. Based on these past and present indications, I figured that you couldn’t expect much and gave this film a pass.
And yet, I finally broke down and rented it from Netflix when the home versions came out. How is it? Well, it’s not as bad as I expected. In fact, hundreds upon hundreds of films have been worse. At the same time, I can’t say that I had a good time.
You can probably guess that this opener of a new series is an origin movie. What’s odd is that, in an attempt to create a deeper link between April and the Turtles, it is revealed that April many years ago(before the mutation) saved Splinter and the Turtles from being killed in a fire and freed them into the sewers of New York City. Some filmmakers go too far in creating these kinds of connections. Tim Burton making The Joker the murderer of Batman’s parents is a classic example of this. Thing is, it just seems too contrived by half.
Acting is fine as far as humans go. It’s bad half the time when it comes to the voices for Splinter and the Turtles. Sometimes they do their lines right. Sometimes they don’t. And it’s really unconvincing when they don’t, so the performances for their voices are weak.
The biggest problem is the script in two ways. The first is the dialogue. With shades of the awful Batman and Robin, we’ve got lots of jokes intended to be cool that are actually just lame.
The bigger issue with the script is that the plotting isn’t the best in the world. For example, The Shredder kidnaps Leo, Donnie, and Mikey so as to get the mutagen in their blood at one point. Raph breaks into The Shredder’s hideout pretty easily. How does Shredder not figure out that Raph will miss and come looking for his brothers and beef up security? Logical fallacies like this have Michael Bay’s prints all over them.
This movie is not without its good points. Character development is quite acceptable. And the film does have some nice moments. All in all, though, I’d say that it gets more stuff wrong than right.
The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles isn’t horrible, but it really could have been better. As something of a TMNT fan (although it’s not aimed at adults either, I do enjoy the show that’s on the air right now, especially compared to this), I have to admit disappointment.
Overall: 4 out of 10