When the latest live action film for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was announced it was immediately met with anger from the hardcore fans with various rumors and supposed changes to the property. Now the film is finally here and the trailers split some down the middle, some loving it and others hating it. With Michael Bay on board as producer those that hate the Transformers franchise have already made up their minds, but does this latest incarnation of TMNT deliver or is it everything fans feared it would be?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles follows four unlikely outcast brothers who rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles must work with fearless reporter April O'Neil and her cameraman Vern Fenwick to save the city and unravel Shredder's diabolical plan and save New York. To shock and surprise this movie is a lot of fun and works really well. The story isn’t the strongest it could have been and not something we haven’t seen on some level in other films like Amazing Spider-Man or Avengers in regards to the final act, but it does still work. They stick to the original origin with a few tweaks, but have no fear they are not aliens and Shredder is Japanese. They kick the film off with a cool comic style opening that sets everything up and lets you know that this is a TMNT film. Despite all of us already knowing what they look like and their story they still builds up the reveal allowing Megan Fox to lead the charge for a bit getting everything in place for the direction it is headed and she doesn’t do a bad job. Fox has never been known for being a great actress, but takes on the role and carries much of the beginning of the film decent enough complete with cheesy dialogue which most of the cast has. The rest of the cast do fine with what they have which isn’t all that much. Will Arnett tries to bring some fun to the role and does his typical thing, but it never really feels like it totally works. Whoopi Goldberg is here for what is basically an extended cameo and does a fine job, but serves little use to the story in the bigger picture. The always great William Fichtner chews up the screen as always, but is way more toned down than normal and no he is not Shredder as many feared.
One of the biggest complaints was the designs of the turtles this time around and while they are bigger and do have nostrils just like some actual turtles they actually work great. While they are all obviously bigger, each of them is a different size and build matching up with their personalities, which they nailed perfectly. The trailers don’t showcase too much of their actual interaction, but these are the same turtles we all grew up in that manner. Everything that made each of them who they are is intact right down to Mikey’s goofy quips and them saying Cowabunga. This time around each has a lot more accessories than ever before and just adds even more to each of their personalities creating a great new incarnation of the characters. The action is high octane fun and perfectly handled. Each of them has their own fighting style, but it is clear they train together keeping them a cohesive unit, when they are willing to work together. There are numerous great moments when it comes to the action, but one of the coolest is Splinter getting his own moment to shine similar to Yoda stepping into action and unleashing a whirlwind of fury, just with more brutality. The look of Shredder is reminiscent of the robot samurai suit from The Wolverine, but still works. He is still the same character as before, just with updated armor.
In the end this is a great, fun popcorn flick that will no doubt make a killing with the kids and hardcore fans that are willing to allow the changes will no doubt enjoy it as well. Those that have already made up their mind about the film should just stay away as your close minded mentality will take all the enjoyment out of the fun that is here. This film won’t be winning any awards and has mentioned doesn’t have the strongest story, but with great action and a spot on interpretation of the characters (outside the design change) this makes for a fun time at the movies. With director Jonathan Liebesman already talking about wanting to bring Beebop and Rocksteady into the mix, let’s hope this film does great at the box office so we can get more of them in action.