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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: That pizza though!

 Meet the new face of justice.
Meet the new face of justice.
Image from Paramount Pictures

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Rating:
Star3
Star
Star
Star
Star

Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland

Markus Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence

Now playing at Century 20 Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California:

You know that thing that happens when you thought something was amazing as a child, but then you grow up and realize that what you once thought was amazing, was pretty unspectacular? Come on kids of the 90’s (late 80’s) let’s be honest, the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon wasn’t as life-changing as those who spent money on vintage t-shirts just to watch this movie (you know who you are) may have fooled themselves into thinking. (Send all hate mail to robinson_me@yahoo.com). In saying that, despite the Michael Bay-ishness of it all, this reboot isn’t that bad. Well, not as bad as most critics are making it out to be.

Synopsis: When evil Shredder attacks…the city, the only ones who can stop him are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a pesky reporter played by Megan Fox. You know the story. And if you don’t, then you’re probably not watching this movie anyway. There is also an underlying origins story that (if I’m not mistaken) rewrites TMNT history just a tad.

Though the ending is one you can see coming from a mile away and the plot is nothing more than a half an hour television show squeezed into a 101 minute feature film, the action sequences are pretty entertaining (even though for many of them, I had no idea where one character was in correlation with the next) Megan Fox’s performance is sufficient (when she is asked to bounce on a trampoline, she bounces on a trampoline) and above all, writers Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Evan Daugherty never seemed to take a movie whose main characters are mutant teenage turtle ninjas, very seriously; injecting a fair amount of comedic one-liners throughout, as well as a few necessary tangential moments of Michelangelo (everyone’s favorite turtle) acting all “rad” (the good “radical”, not the bad “radical”). It’s only during the moments when director Jonathan Liebesman (the director of “Battle Los Angeles”. Need I say more?) introduces elements of heavy drama or forced sentimentality, that “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” verges on unwatchable. And indirectly, this aspect may be more Michael Bay’s fault (as this film’s producer) than Liebesman’s, since every visual reeks of Bay’s pan-clanking style of direction. First of all, the Shredder character looks like something out of a “Transformers” movie. Secondly, the use of needlessly dynamic camera angles and relentless swooping camera movements as characters perform mundane tasks such as: making a phone call or riding a bicycle, looks about as pointless as it sounds. And lastly, is it possible for “car flipping” to be the theme of a movie? Because “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” contains maximum car “flippage”, in the most redundant way possible.

The inherently corny premise is hard to criticize since, again, we’re talking about a movie where the protagonists happen to be turtles, ninjas and eat pizza. (Side note: The pizza in this movie looks just as good as it did in the old cartoon; no joke!). And I’m not going to lie, I was entertained for slightly more than a majority of this movie. Still, on a technical level there are a plethora of flaws which are impossible to ignore.

Final Thought: While “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” isn’t the greatest movie, if you are a TMNT fan going in, which I suspect at least 99% of those reading this are, chances are you won’t be overwhelmingly disappointed. But I was never really a fan of the original concept, so what the hell do I know?

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