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Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: An abysmal ravaging of a classic

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Rating:
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The unremitting raping of many of the movies, cartoons, and comics from 80’s continues. It is glaringly apparent that there is nothing sacred or revered enough that someone won’t take a crack at in order to make a few bucks. Now, more than ever before, remakes, re-imaginings, and reboots have become more commonplace than ever in modern film making. There seems to be more and more each year. If one didn’t know better, it would appear as if every television show, cartoon, or profitable commodity from the past is being brought back in one form or another. Hollywood seems to remake everything that anyone over the age of 30 holds dear.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an underwhelming, substandard abomination that pillages and plunders a beloved 80’s commodity. This calamity attempts to mask its shortcomings by the use technological advances in filmmaking and a couple of exquisite action scenes to overcompensate for what is clearly a lackluster film. It reduces these cherished characters and their origin into nothing but fodder and fluff for the merchandising that will surely arise from this film. The film stars Megan Fox (Jonah Hex), Will Arnett (The Lego Movie), William Fitchner (Elysium), and Whoopi Goldberg (A Little Bit of Heaven). It features the voice talents of Johnny Knoxville (The Last Stand), Jeremy Howard (Accepted), Tony Shalhoub (Pain and Gain), Noel Fisher (Battle Los Angeles), Danny Woodburn (Mirror Mirror), and Alan Ritchson (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire).
Nearly 30 years after the debut of the first comic, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are getting a facelift. The new movie, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is the newest adaptation of the beloved characters that were created in 1984 by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman. It’s the fourth film to make use of the characters and the first live action movies since 1993.
The film is riddled with flaws that vastly outweigh its few redeeming qualities. This version is nothing short of a bust on a molecular level. “TMNT” moves at a frenetic pace. It almost feels like you’re sitting in the middle of rush hour traffic as you watch it. It’s hard to enjoy any of the action or the punch lines because as soon as one is done, it’s off to the next to keep the kids engaged. The film is clearly created for the ADHD generation of today. Secondly, the movie is really short. It has a running time of 1 hour and 41 minutes but it’s nowhere that long. The pacing comes into play as well. The film never allows for the time to get to know our heroes or for any “deep” family moments (other than a quick flashback) as what the turtles are really about.
Like any remake, you are forced to compare it to previous iterations. While the 1990 movie feels campy at times, it really allows you to get to know each of the characters. It gives us some clear time to get to know the illustrious foursome. That film embedded a number of small subtle moments for the characters to display their very distinct personalities. This new “Turtles” movie doesn’t. It’s extremely shallow and doesn’t allow much time for character development or for the story to show too much of the turtles personality. The pacing of the film really hampers the movie. The film moves too fast and never really allows for any true moments for the camaraderie of the turtles to be shown or developed. That is one of the key elements that were essential to the Ninja Turtles. This new film barely allows for each of the turtles to have a line in a scene. It’s a quick one liner or joke then off to the next. If you’d never heard of the characters then you wouldn’t know much more about them then you did prior to the film. Another fatal flaw is the depiction of The Shredder. He is also misrepresented within this version. The film turns him basically into the terminator (nowhere near as menacing). He’s flat and has no personality. The calculating, conniving leader of the foot isn’t much more than a thug in a costume. You never get a feel or since that he should be feared for anything other than his fighting prowess. The movie is strictly catered to its target audience of kids. It offers very little to anyone beyond it. Don’t expect the Pixar or Disney approach to kids’ movies that features witty dialogue and humor for adults because this film ignores the adults who are likely bringing the kids to the movies.
In spite of the limited character development, the film still attempts to entrench many of the personality traits of our treasured foursome from other iterations. Leonardo and Raphael still have issues. Michelangelo is still the fun loving, more light hearted of the quartet. He serves as the comic relief and has a number of great lines that add humor
Regardless of how bad this travesty is, it still offers a few positives in this version. The special effects and the look of the Turtles were great. The film has a good modern interpretation on their look. It’s very modern and befitting. The turtles look better than ever and the small nuances added to each character really befit them. Secondly, the film is extremely kid friendly. It does bolster some good comedic moments. It also has some very witty humor about other superhero films. The film creatively jokes about Batman, Superman, and makes mention of other superhero movies. At one point, Raphael does the “Batman growl voice” and the other Turtles joke him about it. Finally, there is a great scene where the Turtles imitate a hip hop rap group that is clearly one of the best moments of the film. The action sequences are the best that you have seen in any film that featured these characters.
I had high hopes for this film and it clearly disappoints. This is just the next attempt to murder good childhood memories for those of us old enough to remember the originals. The film is just mindless dribble and another pillaging of a good 80’s property. The movie is basically all flash and very little substance. It makes one beg for the days of the Vanilla Ice film and one chance to hear “Go, Ninja, Go Ninja Go.” It’s clearly not the worse of the four films to feature the characters however it has a long way to go to surpass the original. Personally, I’m all for remaking films. First and foremost because of the technology now and secondly because the writing is so much better but it needs to be a good remake. This is the second really bad remake this year right after Robocop. If you’re not going for your kids then save your money and wait for video.