After a long hiatus, the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” are back. This time with the help of Micheal Bay and the guys best known for producing some of the biggest horror movies this past decade.
The film follows April O’Neil (Megan Fox), a television reporter in New York City who has been relegated to cover ridiculous and laughable stories. Like most reporters, she wants to sink her teeth into a serious story, which drives her to investigate a local criminal organization, the Foot Clan. As a consequence she finds herself in danger, only to be rescued by vigilante heroes whom she has also been investigating. She ends up discovering that those vigilantes are actually the mutated turtles. Getting over the initial shock, they join forces to save everyone from the threat that the “Shredder” (Tohoru Masamune), the leader of the Foot Clan, plans on unleashing on the entire city.
As far as the plot goes, it is not the most creative nor does it require too much brain power to follow. Viewers will quickly pick up on who the “bad guy” is, in addition to the villain (aka Shredder) that the film introduces us to. The “Shredder” looks like Samurai meets Transformers. Which isn’t surprising considering Bay’s involvement, however it would have been nice if traces of Transformers were left out of this film. Putting all of that aside, this is a fun, action packed popcorn film with quite a bit of humour.
The Turtles have been re-designed from cartoonish muscular youth to super ripped and almost menacing looking characters. Although their looks have changed, their personalities remain the same. They are still the pizza loving hip hopping teenagers that they were when originally created. To add to their appeal, we get to see Splinter be a father to them as adorable babies and toddlers. For all Splinter fans, his look and character have not been changed much.
Where “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” really excel in are the actions scenes. It avoids erratic action sequences that we see all too often. While scenes can get hectic, the camerawork and editing remains smooth and extremely well engineered. This is particular evident in a scene that involves car chases and sliding down a snowy mountain. This sequence is thrilling for many reasons, not only is it well choreographed, it also happen to put the viewer right in the middle of the action. You will feel like you are sliding down the mountainside along with the turtles. It makes the 3D worth it.
As I don’t want to give away any spoilers, I’ll leave the connection between the Turtles, Splinter and April out, but it can be said that their connection makes her character more than just the fearless reporter out to get a good story. While there was initial surprise when Megan Fox was hired, she does plays the role with some force and believability. Fox definitely suits being part of a popcorn action movie. Addition of Will Arnett won’t surprise anyone as he serves to be the comedic counterpart to April, which he does well.
Knowing about production issues and having read some less than pleasant reviews prior to seeing it myself, I was worried that once again they have failed to capture the essence of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As a massive Turtles fan from the 80s, I can say that this film did not disappoint. While I am not convinced it will convert a lot non-fans, I think it is safe to say that majority of Turtle lovers will thoroughly enjoy this version. Perhaps even feel some nostalgia.
I rate it 6 stars out of 10.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hits cinemas tomorrow and our interview with Producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller will be online soon.