To be fair, watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wasn’t really a choice as much as ‘hey, it’s cheap Tuesday and I’ve already seen everything else’ kind of thing. In my defense, I was a huge fan of the animated series back in the 90’s because it was fun. Nostalgia can be tricky like that.
Well, first things first – the fact that they failed to cast a proper red-head April should have been a major red flag. Maybe it was but I missed it. Shame! How do I get two hours and $9 back? … Okay, keep the money, just give me my time.
I don’t even know where to start my very long list of things that were absolutely wrong with this film. ‘Everything’ would sum it up though.
So…. Brief intro! April O’Neil (Megan Fox) is a New York TV reporter who is not taken seriously because, apparently, she’s too pretty for that. Don’t get me started on that! Determined to leave a mark, she devotes all of her off work hours to investigating all kinds of things in shady neighborhoods trying to get herself killed find an interesting story. It doesn’t take her long to find one. Following up on a Foot Clan gang robbery story, April witnesses something fight the bandits – something big and fast and pretty much faceless, what with the dark and all that. Naturally, no pictures, no witnesses – no story! April sets on trying to find the mysterious vigilante and soon discovers that there isn’t one but four of them, and they are not people but six-foot tall Turtles with impressive combat skills.
If I were her, I’d check myself into some nice facility with padded walls right this very moment.
April quickly figures out that the Turtles and their adoptive father/spiritual master Splinter, who is also a six-foot tall rat – are a result of her late father’s biological experiments. Naturally, she’s fired the moment she so much as opens her mouth back at the station.
But who needs real job when you have mutant Turtles to hang out with? Further digging reveals that it’s April’s father’s former partner Eric Sasks (William Fichtner) who is in charge of Foot Clan and their plan to attack the city, using chemicals as a biological weapon just so that they could make a ton of money, being the only people in possession of mutagen that can cure the virus.
Everything gets messy and Splinter is almost killed by Shredder (Tohoru Masamune), the Foot Clan’s leader, but April, her lovesick puppy of a sidekick Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett) and the Turtles save the day, and everyone is happy.
That is, until June of 2016 when the second film is scheduled to be released. I do hope that the world will end by then and we won’t have to suffer through this nightmare once again.
…was, surprisingly, something that kind of, sort of, maybe worked on some level. Details aside, it wasn’t entirely implausible, for a film about giant Turtles based on an animated series created in the beginning of the 80’s and rebooted numerous times since then. Bad guys were bad, good guys were awkward but good, ‘enslave the world – save the world’ scenario was in place, the audience held its breath at all the right times, blah, blah, blah.
The whole biological weapon idea was meh because it’s so overused it’s not even funny, but, oddly enough, it wasn’t as ridiculous as I expected. I mean, with the giant Turtles running around, it almost made sense. Then again, I was tired, so many things were making sense that day, and the fact that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ premise was 95% similar to the plot of the TV show Arrow (cute reporter running around, trying to figure out who saves the city from the bad guys) only kicked in a couple of hours later. So yeah, there we go!
While the main characters were actually adorable in the first film that came out in 1990, the ones from the most recent reboot were… well, scary. And that comes from the person who watched half of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes with her eyes closed.
Anyway, they’re Turtles! They’re supposed to be adorable! It’s in the job description, I kid you not. Yet, they were creepy. Like, seriously unpleasantly creepy. Which I didn’t understand because the filmmaking technology is advanced enough these days to make the stuff we watch pleasant to the eye. So why not do it, again? Frankly, I’m not even sure whose side I was on, story-wise, because it was hard to root for some very cringe-worthy creatures. So I was technically rooting for Vernon, for the most part. Because he looked like a younger version of Kevin Costner.
…was definitely something not thought through. At all. The superhero/scifi/space saga films do not have to be entirely plausible in the ‘real life’ terms to still make sense, yet the story absolutely must be true to its setting/universe to make us all believe that what’s happening on screen is 1000% real. Thor is basically a god from another dimension and Spiderman is a result of an insect bite. Yet, when you watch them save the world – or several – it’s real, it’s there!
With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I spent 95% of my time in the theatre trying to decide what the actual hell was happening with the Turtles and the bad guys and Megan Fox who totally failed being a red-head – not that she was trying. On the one hand, the film was clearly made for preschoolers because anyone older than 5 was meant to find it absolutely ridiculous – and they did. On the other hand, it was dark and violent enough to be categorized as PG 13. That’s not to mention that it was full of sexualization [of April O’Neil, mostly] and all kinds of adult innuendos [coming from the Turtles for the most part]. The Turtles that kept pointing out over and over again that they’re TEENAGRES – for everyone who didn’t get it from the movie title, obviously.
So, to sum it up, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was made for 30-smethings that haven’t seen the light of day in the past 25 years or so. Only then can you actually enjoy or at the very least buy, somewhat, what’s going on.
Even the animated series back in the late 80’s and early 90’s wasn’t particularly non-violent, what with it being a kid program. We’re talking ninjas after all, the demonstration of their skills is implied. The film, however, took this aspect to a whole new level. With Shredder basically being a killing machine and Dr. Sacks perfecting his torturing skills, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles went to into some seriously wicked territory. Once again – who the hell were you making this film for if the majority of your target audience shouldn’t be allowed to see it for at least 10 more years?
I can’t stop thinking of all the money that went into this film and that will go into the next one, and keep imagining all the awesome films that could be made instead but that won’t actually happen because the studio picked the Turtles instead! Like, Iron Man 4, for example 😛 Hypothetically speaking. The only good thing about the whole thing was Whoopi Goldberg, all 15 seconds of her.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is not worth your time or money, and I believe that if you watched it in 3D you have every right to sue the theatre and get a refund and a life-long free access to all other films ever released. I have a strong suspicion that someone wrote the initial script, then someone else rewrote it without reading it first, and then this exact thing happened 10 more times until the production draft came to life. There’s no other explanation. Well, unless it’s aliens messing with our minds. All things considered, humankind should be ashamed of releasing something that atrocious.