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Heroes emerge from their shells in ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’

'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' invokes youthful memories


Just mention the phrase ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ and long-lost days of youth pop into your head. Well now you can re-live your youth because Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies are bringing your old friends Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Donatello once again to the silver screen.

Left to right: Raphael, Splinter, Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Megan Fox as April O'Neil.
Left to right: Raphael, Splinter, Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Megan Fox as April O'Neil.
Used with permission. Photo credit: Industrial Light & Magic / Paramount Pictures All Rights Reserved.
Heroes on the half shell.
Used with permission. Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. (c) MMXIV Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Based on the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ (‘TMNT’) characters created by Peter Laird and Evin Eastman with a screenplay by Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec and Evan Daughert. ‘TMNT’ is directed by Jonathan Liebesman (‘Wrath of the Titans’).

The city needs heroes. Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) and his evil Foot lan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until our unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The Turtles must work with fearless reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) and her wise-cracking cameraman Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) to save the city and unravel Shredder’s diabolical plan.

2014 version of ‘TMNT’ is a slicker bigger and scarier rendering than the original. But it still continues to be entertaining (they still have a penchant for pizza). To those naysayers who said that young children would be afraid of the towering turtles, I witnessed firsthand the little tots thoroughly enjoying the same characters that their parents who grew up in the 80s enjoyed. My own preteen niece who had to be convinced to come to the movie enjoyed it so much she went home and renamed her pet turtle Donatello.

Splinter (Tony Shalhoub) is the loving father/sensei to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The fact that he is a rat doesn’t diminish his authority. It is through his strict guidance the boys learn the ways of the ninja warrior.

April is central to the story even though it takes a while to learn her significance. We learn that they became buff ninja warriors, TMNT were her pet turtles in her father’s lab. When her father is tragically killed in a fire , she rescues the rat and turtles and sets them free in the city sewer. It is here that they grow up beneath the city.

Megan Fox is no stranger to big box office franchises having taken part in the ‘Transformers.’ She holds her own the film as she proves that she is more than a beautiful face. She is able to portray the determined reporter with ease.

The movie is entertaining although there were a few overly long fight scenes. But the turtles themselves were still as witty as their predecessors (there have been four movies). They are mischievous and playful among themselves as any teenage boys. In fact, Michelangelo’s crush on April reminds one of a young teenager who obsesses over an unattainable beauty. One of the funniest scenes is when the boys on the way to confront their foe break out into an impromptu rap.

The plot is less than original due the fact that it is reminiscent of ‘The Amazing Spiderman’ complete with a canister ready to expose citizens of New York City to a poisonous substance. But the action scenes and CGI effects and motion capture turtles are more than enough to make up for the weak plot.

The cast includes: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Danny Woodburn, Abby Elliott, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Minae Noji

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ is sure to ignite memories of the youthful 80’s. It will be in theaters August 8, 2014. It has been rated PG-13 for Sci-fi Action, Violence.

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