Movie Review: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a 2014 American action comedy filmed based on the franchise of the same name. The film is a reboot of the Ninja Turtles film franchise and the first live action turtles film in over twenty years. 

The film was directed by Jonathan Liebesman, and stars Megan Fox, Johnny Knoxville, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, Danny Woodburn, Tony Shalhoub, William Fichtner, and Will Arnett. 

Have you ever heard the saying that if you watch a film expecting for it to be terrible, it most likely will be? I mean, it’s a fair statement, but what if the opposite is true? I enjoyed TMNT a lot when I was younger, particularly the older films. The concept was outlandish, but I didn’t care. I wanted to see this film in theaters, and I wanted to see it badly. In-fact, I feel like it might have been might most anticipated film in the summer, even over Guardians of the Galaxy.

    Everybody knows of the millions variables that were working against it. The film was produced by Michael Bay, it stars Megan Fox, and then before that there were also of these spiraling rumors about them being from space, or that they would do this or that they would do that. By the end of it, after seeing the trailers, I was hoping that the turtles would at least manage to make it an entertaining experience. And even if it wasn’t exactly a critical darling, I would still enjoy it.

    The film follows April O’Neil, a young reporter that is trying to be taken more seriously as a broadcast journalist. She spends a lot of her time looking for some sort-of case that will bring her to fame, and when she witnesses a vigilante stopping the Foot Clan from committing a robbery, it seems as though she has found it. Unfortunately, her boss doesn’t buy into all of her proclaiming because she doesn’t have any legitimate evidence.

    Later on, she officially becomes acquainted with the turtles. Trained by Splinter, the brothers are trained in numerous different ways of fighting. And they’ll need it, because the Foot Clan is being led by a vicious warrior named Shredder, and with the help of April, it is their job to stop him.

    There was never a plausible way to make something like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into something more edgy. Not while maintaining themes like skateboarding and eating pizza, and the film mostly realizes it. The tone is mostly based toward comedy, with little else interfering with that. However, there are moments throughout that focus entirely too much on other aspects.

    For starters, from the very beginning of the film, I started having this bad feeling after the first ten minutes. Mostly because all that happened was Megan Fox’s character. I don’t believe her acting is absolutely terrible in this film, she doesn’t have very much to work with from her dialogue or character-development, but she doesn’t do much with any of it either. It feels impossible to ever connect with the character on any level because there is never any time for chemistry between her with anyone or anything. Which wouldn’t be too big of a deal except for the fact that for a large-portion of the film she is positioned in-front of the turtles.

    The first chunk of the film is completely dull and dreary, it legitimately feels like I am witnessing a low-budget film from Nickelodeon. Finally, after a slow time, the film finally becomes focused on the turtles front-and-center.

    This should be considered as heaven for any fan of the Turtles, correct? 

    Unfortunately, the turtles suck.

    They aren’t funny, they aren’t likeable, and in-fact, a lot of the time they’re douches. Mikey is the first time that I ever wanted to stand up out of my seat and walk out of the theater. Their personalities aren’t the only thing that I dislike. The humor is bad. Terribly bad, in-fact. The film is meant to appeal to younger viewers, but other 2014 films like The Lego Movie have recently once again proven the fact that clean-comedy doesn’t have to be fart-jokes or campy. That’s exactly what this film represents, fart jokes and campy humor. In what was meant to be comic-book entertainment feels like a sequel to Grown Ups 2.

    What’s even more bizarre is the action sequences that come with it. There is actually a lot of violence. It doesn’t feel like comic-book violence either. People were hit by cars, people were thrown into trains, and one of my friends said they even saw what looked like one of the turtles slipping a Foot Clan member’s throat. 

    I don’t care about what the kids see. In-fact, when I was six years old, I would watch A Nightmare on Elm Street (another film that Michael Bays’ fuckers remade by the way.) The reason that I bring it up is because it feels so disproportionate. It is like watching the humor of a bad kids’ movie with the themes and demeanor of Man of Steel.

    The special-effects aren’t too shabby in most cases, Shredder, although a little excessive, looks cool. The turtles feel much too bulky, although they obviously look more realistic, I actually think that I prefer the older ‘rubber suit’ approach. While it didn’t look amazing, it let them move a lot more. At the very least, I would have liked them to be slimmed down. If they did that, they would look perfect with appearance-details that would’ve helped them be with more personality if it they would have done more with the film itself.

    In conclusion, I went into this film wanting to love it, but to my surprise, I walked out hating it. I don’t mean, ‘well, it wasn’t for me,’ I mean, this was a terrible film. The humor is atrocious, the characters are bad and unlikeable, the themes are disproportionate, and even more than that, I wasn’t entertained.

    The film was a huge success, so much that a sequel is already in the works, planned for 2016. As an enabler, I will be letting Michael Bay continue to make these films in the same way that so many let him make the Transformers films. I can only hope that they do something better with the turtles, and perhaps take a focus on our old familiar anthropomorphic friends rather than the human-side of things.

Thanks for reading…

Rating: – 1.0 out of 5.0