Michael Bay, from his blockbuster “Transformers” franchise to his horror remake-heavy production studio Platinum Dunes, is synonymous with bombastic filmmaking. Whenever he becomes attached to remaking or rebooting an existing brand, the finished product has a tendency to feel limp. When it was announced that Platinum Dunes would be involved in bringing “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” back to the big screen, fans became guarded and skeptical. It didn’t help that the announcement was shortly followed by the intention to rewrite the origin story that succeeded in alienating the majority of the diehard fans. With it finally in theaters this weekend, it seems like something went right.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reintroduces the world of the beloved heroes in a half-shell. April O’Neil (Megan Fox) is desperate to be taken seriously as a news reporter. On her off time, April pursues a lead into the ongoing crime wave involving The Foot Clan. Her attempts to learn about the vigilante work that is thwarting them lead her to the four turtles. Despite repeatedly losing the evidence of the turtles existence, she finds a conspiracy that reaches deep into the past of both the heroes and herself.
The latest "Turtles" film is a wild ride. The film balances the humor of the reptiles’ adolescence and the dark nature of the origin comic book. Bringing a commodity this deep with shows and history could have easily been a dud. But instead of a quiet return, the Michael Bay treatment actually elevates the film. Big action scenes and a simple, straightforward plot make for a quick and exciting return of the franchise. Though it may be a bit thin in terms of story, the characters are what will put people in the seats. And with moments for each Turtle to shine, it definitely executes the right balance of the canon and a fresh spin. No alien origin, just good old-fashioned Ninja Turtles. 3 out of 5 stars.
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