Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The city needs heroes. Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles must work with fearless reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) and her wise-cracking cameraman Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) to save the city and unravel Shredder’s diabolical plan.

My Opinion: Even though I grew up during the height of the 90s cartoon’s popularity, I have a very limited knowledge of the series. I know enough to realize that the concept was ridiculous, but the series committed to it. I can’t say the same for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the reboot of the film franchise. It may be silly in part, but the filmmakers seem almost apologetic for it – and in the process, substantially weaken any appeal in watching it.

The ridiculousness of the series is apparent in the name, of course. Audiences are more than willing to accept the ridiculous, though. It’s not always a good idea to explain away everything in order to try and make things plausible. Take our central character, April O’Neil (yeah, not the Turtles – I’ll get to that in a minute). She’s not only the person who discovers the Turtles’ existence. She’s also the daughter of the scientist who created them, and she’s responsible for the pizza connection. And their naming. And their relocation to the sewers of New York. And…

Getting back to that earlier observation, no, the Turtles aren’t the center of this film. In fact, outside of Michelangelo, none of the Turtles even register as characters. These aren’t the four distinct, fun characters fans of the franchise grew to love. They’re CGI, “realistic” interpretations that are largely devoid of personality.

But really, what can you expect from a film produced by Michael Bay. Like his Transformers: Age of Extinction earlier this summer, characterization isn’t key. Just the visuals on screen, and maybe some product placement – the film essentially stops for a Pizza Hut commercial.

There are two key audiences for this film: children, and adults who were fans of the series as children. For the former, I’d argue that not only is this film not fun enough for children to get into, but that significant portions of this film push the PG-13 rating just enough to be considered inappropriate, mostly sexually (Megan Fox is the obvious object of desire, and the film likes to…showcase that). For the latter, I think this will tarnish fond childhood memories. There are better options out right now – choose one of them instead of this film.

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