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Movie review: 'Turtles' comes up dry in reboot of popular franchise

Having read a Variety piece from today that called the reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the summer’s best guilty pleasure of the summer, I had to take notice.

'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' return to the screen after nearly 20 years.
Used with permission of Paramount.

The movie, resurrected from the comics from the late ‘80s, is guilty. Guilty of being bad. As for pleasure? Having toe nails extracted via pliers comes across as more pleasurable. The movie opens Friday (Aug. 8) with preview screenings Thursday night.

To the credit of the filmmakers, Jonathan Liebesman and writers, Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec and Evan Daugherty, the got the primary attraction in this series perfect tonally and in look. Beyond that? This is one big mess aimed squarely at one audience – kids.

Is that necessarily a bad thing? When dealing with most material in the category of family films? No. But with the TMNTs? It’s absolutely horrific.

A little perspective: more adults showed in '90s-era Turtle gear in the screening that rolled the press screening in my area. Part of its appeal lies in the fact that it always attractive to an older audience. That huge draw is virtually non-existent in this drivel that will likely make piles of cash.

It’s an origin story so some of this is to be expected, but Liebesman and crew could have put together something more entertaining that didn’t play like a nearly two-hour exercise in hyperactivity.

Yes, it’s made for kids. Edited for kids and, yes, written for kids.

Unfortunately, outside of the four Ninja Turtles, Donatello, Michaelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo), that’s not a good thing. Will Arnett, a normally funny guy, is reduced to nothing and Megan Fox is practically statuesque – meaning she’s as appealing as statue - as the Turtles’ human ally April.

Kids will love it. As for moms and dads? Consider it to be the cost of parenthood.

Movie: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Cast: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner
Studio: Paramount
Rated: PG for sci-fi action violence
Running time: 101 minutes
George’s rating: 2-of-5 stars
Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, Cleveland Cinemas, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com