Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014): Movie Review

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles poster

I didn’t grow up with the TMNT comics. Before their first feature film in 1990, I hadn’t even heard of them. That didn’t stop me from loving the original film and its’ first sequel (the third film in the series blew). Like most fans of the original, I wasn’t clamoring for a reboot, but I knew it was only a matter of time. The 2007 animated feature failed to connect with audiences (even though I dug it), so a live action remake was inevitable. I went into the new TMNT with low expectations after hearing the rants of more than a few of my peers who attended earlier screenings. Maybe it was because my expectations were so low that they were basically in the sewer, that I wound up enjoying the new incarnation of the heroes in a half-shell.

Let me first start out by laying out the problems I had with TMNT before I get into what I enjoyed about it. First off, Megan Fox. Yeah, she is pretty to look at….really pretty. She can be serviceable in a supporting role without doing any major damage, but giving this non-acting actress the role of a tough-as-nails news reporter just doesn’t work. Not once did I believe that she knew the slightest thing about how to get a story.

Tony Shalhoub as the voice of Splinter. The talented actor has a great voice, don’t get me wrong, but I just kept hearing Monk when the rat opened his mouth. Many will complain that the voices of the Turtles themselves feel off. At first, I honestly felt that way, but then I realize that this generation is quite different than that of the original and the voices of Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Pete Ploszek, and Johnny Knoxville are ok enough for this version of the comic book characters. I didn’t love the voices, but I didn’t hate them either.

William Fichtner who plays business man Eric Sacks and student to the evil Shredder is completely wasted here, which is a shame. Also having Shredder’s foot clan pack guns instead of swords is another misfire in my opinion. Ninjas should be fighting other ninjas, not thugs with guns.

As for what I liked? Well, I liked the Turtles themselves. They were fun and every so often one of their many attempts as humor actually worked. “That cat is playing chopsticks, with chopsticks” one of them yells out in amazement when watching a youtube video. I don’t know why that made me laugh, but it did. It made me laugh again when he repeated it later on. There are also some great action sequences, but nothing beats the sequence in which the Turtles battle the foot clan while racing down a snow-covered mountain. The final fight between the heroes and Shredder is quite fun as well.

The ones who will get the most enjoyment out of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” are the kids and even if the parents don’t like it, I can assure you it is less painful and much shorter than the recent installment of the “Transformers” franchise. Yes, TMNT is stupid but it’s also entertaining.

By: Marc Ferman

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