Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the latest incarnation of the series that began as comic books and then achieved massive mainstream success in the late 80’s and 90’s after expanding into television cartoons, merchandise and films. This reboot is a $125 million dollar special-effects laden blockbuster with a clear objective of starting a new multi-installment franchise. It achieves that goal, but little else.
TMNT has producer Michael Bay’s fingerprints all over it. From the frenetic action scenes, to the casting of Megan Fox as heroine April O’Neil, it is apparent that Bay had a heavy hand in the making of the film and it comes very much like a Transformers movie. The visual effects are outstanding of course, especially considering that 5 of the main characters are completely cgi. There is one particularly long action sequence that sees the main characters sliding down a snowy mountain in a large truck, while being pursued by villians in various vehicles, and the turtles are sliding down the mountain on their shells. It’s a dizzying scene and was not doubt very technically difficult and challenging, but these types of action sequences are so common now it isn’t really breaking much new ground. I did enjoy the fight scene between Shredder and the turtle’s sensei master Splinter, and there are some other very good combat scenes, but again nothing ground-breaking.
The biggest disappointment of TMNT is the very basic, formulaic superhero storyline. It’s your standard “brilliant scientist turns evil and decides to release a poison that will kill everyone” type of story that, of course, leads to a showdown between the turtles and the lead henchman Shredder. The comedic elements are good for a few chuckles, but the movie clearly is afraid to make anything beyond a superficial commitment to being funny. I found myself engrossed in the special-effects at times, but mildly detached at the same time, as if I were watching a move I had seen several times before. There really was very little attempt made for the movie to distinguish itself from all the other super-hero films, and it comes off as a step-by-step recipe for making this type of film. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will not doubt entertain younger audiences and, though not a bad movie, really doesn’t have much to offer that we have seen in a dozen other big-budget comic book hero films.
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::: Renowned For Sound Technical Director and Film Reviewer ::: Robert is an IT geek, movie fan and part-time movie reviewer/editor. Robert also looks after the ‘behind the scenes’ technical elements of Renowned For Sound.