Sunday, August 10, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Year: 2014
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Cast: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Danny Woodburn

Plot: Four mutant turtles team up with aspiring reporter April O'Neil to stop a devastating attack on New York City.

Review: It's been seven years since the last TMNT film, and that last one was an animated version. This time they're going back to live versions, but thankfully the level of CGI has improved a lot since then.

Being a Michael Bay production, the turtles in this film is reminiscent of the robots in the Transformers films, only less annoying. At the very least, their humor hits the mark more often than not. But it still isn't as sharp as the humor in the original cartoon of the 80s.

Anyway, in this story, April O'Neil, struggling reporter for Channel 6 News, discovers acts of vigilantism performed by mysterious people, but no one believes her, not even her fellow cameraman Vern Fenwick. Then one night she runs into them and finds out they're mutant turtles, and they come from something her late father worked on in a lab many years ago. In the meantime, the treacherous Foot Clan led by Shredder, have a plan to destroy New York City, and the turtles are pertinent to the plan.

If one were to make comparisons between this and the Transformers films, it can be said that this TMNT adaptation is much closer to the original than the former ever was to their cartoon. They may have changed the turtles origins a bit, including Splinter's origins too, but the general feel of the film is pretty close to the cartoon. The action sequences are also not too shabby, though it doesn't really pick up until the third act when the turtles are sliding down a snow mountain in a huge truck with the bad guys in pursuit.

Megan Fox, still looking as hot as ever, does a decent job as April, though I wished there was more depth to her character, as in more chances for dramatic impact. Will Arnett provides good comic relief as Vern while William Fichtner as always does not disappoint in the villain role of Eric Sacks. The four guys playing the turtles also deserve credit, as well as Johnny Knoxville, who lends his voice to Leonardo.

The villains however are rather weak. Sacks, although a textbook villain in the way he conducts business, is the only one that stands out. Shredder, played by Tohoru Masamune, comes off like a caricature, and with that heavy costume on, resembles a rejected version of the Silver Samurai from last year's Wolverine film. The CGI for Splinter is also rather disappointing. And one can't help but feel that the entire plot is really simplified so the kids will get it and enjoy it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles overall is a lot like the 2007 animated cartoon in terms of quality. It's not bad, it's enjoyable enough and has plenty of entertaining elements. But brain food this certainly isn't, and you should keep that in mind. (3.5/5)

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