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'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' review: Frothy filler and overdone action

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" will be playing in conventional and 3D theaters nation wide starting today.

Michelangelo, Leonardo, April O'Neil (Megan Fox), Raphael, and Donatello.
Michelangelo, Leonardo, April O'Neil (Megan Fox), Raphael, and Donatello.Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures, used with permission.
The official one-sheet theatrical poster for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
The official one-sheet theatrical poster for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures, used with permission.

Four turtles and a rat get subjected to a mysterious ooze that transforms them into human-sized miracles. They live in the sewer, teach themselves ninjutsu, and eventually become heroes. Everyone knows the story of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," but everyone is expecting this new reboot to permanently clog up the sewers. The Nickelodeon produced and Jonathan Liebesman ("Wrath of the Titans," "Battle Los Angeles") directed summer blockbuster may not click with adults, but is sure to be a cowabunga hit with kids.

The film's opening is like the pages of a comic book put to very basic animation and only utilizes black, white, and yellow for a very striking appearance. After the title credits, It isn't long before you witness April O'Neil (Megan Fox) attempting to find the one incredible story that will allow her to climb up the ranks of the Channel 6 news team and be taken as a serious reporter. Her cameraman and chauffeur Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett) just wants to take her out to dinner.

Shredder and the Foot Clan have taken over the streets of New York City and a vigilante (or a group of four of them) has taken it upon himself to stop them. It's around this point that the film takes a slight detour from what you're used to. April's father and her partner Eric Sachs (William Fichtner) created a mutagen that they injected into the pets of a young April O'Neil; four turtles and a rat. The mutagen could be used to cure the entire city of a dangerous outbreak that would otherwise leave the city in ruins. Until now that was all thought to be lost in a fire years ago that also resulted in April's father's death.

The reasoning behind Eric Sachs' actions is beyond idiocy. The man is completely rich; owns a mansion, his own helicopter, and several companies including an entire science wing and various forms of technological laboratories. Sachs simply says that he's doing all of this to get "stupid rich." How much more rich can you get?

The action typically has too much going on to be fully enjoyable. Most of the action sequences in the first half of the film are too dark as the action gets so hectic it all kind of just blurs together. Shredder's armor is ridiculous. It's as if he saw a Swiss army knife and tried to duplicate it. The most impressive action sequence adds absolutely nothing to the story while the film has no earthly idea how gravity and physics work.

Were the Ninja Turtles always super strong and bulletproof? They are now. The humor is mostly extremely juvenile with highlights being a fart, Michelangelo's undying love for April, and a beatbox elevator sequence that is completely unnecessary. Lens flares rain down from the heavens aplenty to try to make the film seem even more hip and cool. Judging by the reaction in the movie theater, it worked.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" will be entertaining for anyone who can look past the nearly nonexistent storyline. Half of Shredder's plan is essentially a carbon copy of The Lizard's from "The Amazing Spider-Man." The film is goofy and exciting enough to appeal to young ones, but its halfhearted and mindless action leaves a lot to be desired for a more sophisticated mind.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" is a very basic and upfront comedic action film that is likely to disappoint if you expect anything other than outrageous homage.