TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014) : MOVIE REVIEW

August 12, 2014

"But heroes are not born, they're created. That's what your father and I were trying to do: create heroes."

Was a hit animation series on Nickelodeon in the late 80s, which later rebooted into a live action movie under the care of director Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath Of The Titans, Battle of LA) and producer Michael Bay (Transformers, Armageddon), the four mutant, turtle, ninja, and also teenagers are back in the midst of Big Apple busy street (ehm sewer), chasing down bad guys and reuniting with old supermodel-esque friend. I can vaguely remember the time when I was watching TMNT rerun on Nickelodeon, to tell the truth that I wasn't quite a fan of the super turtles myself. With that, I walked into the theatre with no expectations at all. So, how was it?

New York City is being terrorized by a gruesome criminal gang called Foot Clan, led by darth robot ninja called Shredder (Tohoru Masamune). Journalist April O'Neil (Megan Fox) is eager to uncover all about Foot Clan activities and the vigilante who is helping the people of New York to fight against them, all in favor to have her noticed by her boss, Bernadette Thompson (Whoopi Goldberg). Her curiosity led to an event when she finally spotted the vigilante whom she later found out to be her childhoot pet turtles, which were injected by super mutagen by her now-dead scientist father. The turtles, which were named after the four Renaissance painters Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), Leonardo (Pete Ploszek, Johnny Knoxville) and Donatello (Jeremy Howard), are living in the undergeround sewer and was taught Ninjitsu by the mutant lab-rat Splinter (Tony Shalhoub, Danny Woodburn), which all five were saved  by O'neil when her father's lab was on fire. On the other hand, billionaire slash scientist Erick Sacks (William Fichtner) is secretly working with Shredder on his mission to capture the four turtles, to later drain their blood to be converted as an antidote to the soon-to-be-sprayed-all-over-NYC-air deadly toxin, so Sacks will become rich and Shredder will rule the city. With the help of her clumsy cameraman Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett), O'Neil and the four TMNT will later be battling Sacks and Shredder in order to save the city.

First to say, this movie makes no sense at all. The plot is messy with holes nearly everywhere. It's missing out details and backstories; things just happened and gone unexplained in quite fast pace. It's undermotivated, lousy and dull. It's trying too hard it feels rather insistent. For example, why O'Neil saved the turtles, why was she doing in the lab when it was on fire and how did she get out are all left unexplained. If New York is really in danger, why there isn't any Foot Clan terror shown? And how is it possible that New York has a snowy mountain nearby, especially when sunshine shines throughout the city? And where in New York can we find an underground sewer with that kind of waterslide? I can keep going on here folks.

I didn't see it in 3D so I can't pretty much comment on it. The CGI  is dark and heavy; apparently they tried to make NYC looked like Gotham with post-Decepticon destructions a la Bay. The movements of the turtles are OK in terms of mo-cap execution (though after seeing Dawn's Caesar, it looks like a joke), but their faces look kinda creepy and unappealing. Yeah, they're ugly reptilian Hulk and it's hard to root for them. The action sequences are OK. The humors are a little bit flat and rude, like when Mikey hit on Fox (everyone seems to hit on her in this movie). Fortunately, there's one scene stood out of other; right when they beatbox in the elevator (if only the whole movie was like that!). Last, I really have to comment on the shaky-cam on some scenes; really, REALLY? She was just standing there and you shot the scene in such movements?

This movie clearly has no heart; it's one of the most heartless movie I've seen in ages. It's missing out the core of what TMNT was widely known for; their wackyness and their heroic bond. Sure, Mikey is still a clown, Raph is still strong, Leo is still the wise leader and Donnie is still the geek, but I can't really understand nor root for them in such ways (especially with that appearances) that I sometimes couldn't remember which one was which. As for Fox, she is not right for the character April O'Neil. She's annoying, out of place, and what was her storyline and motivation anyway? Her zero chemistry with Arnett is also to be sorry for. As for Arnett, well he could have stole the entire scenes if only they gave him a better script. As for the rest? Ridiculous and flat.

Finally, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a dissapointment hidden inside a bulletproof shell. Such an ambition with missing intention. A failed childhood nostalgia and a spark to the new ones. It's quite fun but more to forgettable. RENTAL.



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