Frustrated by her designated role as the fluff or froth reporter, April O'Neil investigates the growing threat to the safety and stability of New York City, the Foot Clan. While following up on a lead, April bears witness to an attempted robbery, which is thwarted by a mysterious band of vigilantes. Finally seeing an opportunity to further her career, April inadvertently reignites a plan which could lead to the death of millions. Discovering unforeseen connections to her past, April joins forces with a teenage band of mutant ninja turtles to save the city.
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" is the latest adaptation of the graphic novel turned cartoon, which took root in the hearts of millions, in decades past. Adding to the growing catalogue of childhood reboots, Megan Fox reenters Michael Bay's sphere of merchandise driven franchises. Unlike Fox's role in the Transformer movies, Fox takes center-stage as the film's lead actor. While Fox has proven to have real acting chops, TMNT primary exhibits her photographic and physical appeal. If not counting her trampoline scene, nor the central framing of her rear, as she leans out of the window to capture footage of the turtles in action, the majority of the film focuses on her male counterparts, commenting on her hotness and making less than subtle advances. While Fox is pleasant to watch, this does very little to offer audiences much to imbibe, in regards to developing any genuine concern or understanding of the characters caught in the orbit of Fox's gravitational pull. Despite the pointed and pointless nature of most of the dialogue, Fox does a great job of driving what is ultimately a fragmented origin story, of which half is narrated during the opening credits. The rest is great visual effects, predictable action sequences, and lots of under developed subplot, with some product placement and pointless cameos.
Since Michael Bay was one of the film's primary producers, most immediately expected what we ultimately got. However, he didn't direct it. Even if he had, Bay has actually produced good movies, ones worth watching more than once. Unfortunately, TMNT is not one of those films. Like the latest Transformers, it is just a little too one sided, focused more on visuals than on the quality and balance that should exist between the story and its visual components. Regardless, the film has lots of fun moments and plenty of pretty to ogle and admire. With an opening weekend of $65 million under its belt, Paramount has already announced an impending sequel, slated for release in June of 2016. According to Adam Goodman (president of Paramount's film group), TMNT exceeded their expectations, as stated in the Hollywood Reporter (Aug 10th).
"Launching a new take on the Turtles into the feature film world was a daunting task because as fans of them ourselves, we felt a great responsibility to ensure audiences were going to experience everything they loved about the Turtles, while also getting to see them brought to life in a way they had never been seen before. The result exceeded our high expectations and the response to the film is beyond great, making it all the more fun to get started on the continuation of their story."
While the internet overflows with comments and reviews which suggests that Paramount's expectations should have been higher, it's obvious that a good weekend at the box office is as far as Bay, Goodman, and Paramount are willing to go when it comes to making a good film. Apparently, the only magic left in Hollywood comes from its chosen visual effect studios. In this case, Image Engine Design, Legacy Effects, and Industrial Light & Magic continue to amaze and astound.