Do not get me wrong! Neither am I against such movies, nor do I condemn them as bad cinema. After All, Michael Bay simply gives people what they ask for ... or is it? Lets start with a short peek at his flag-bearer series: Transformers. It existed mostly in the form of animated series and comics that were mostly known to either kids or geeks. Enter the movie version that had amazing transforming machines come to life on the big-screen and people flocked to see them, with each installment a commercial success. Jump to 2014: he tries to bring back to life a franchise that's way more popular and has been loved by people for years via different mediums. We are talking about 4 turtles who are pop culture icons! So the expectations are way higher, and the movie falls down, face first!
TMNT is an origins story (duh! of course they’re gonna make it into a trilogy) that pits the teenage turtles against their arch-enemy Shredder. And those are probably the only two things they get right. TMNT stays true to the origins of the turtles and shows how 4 baby turtles subjected to mutation turn into humanoid-ninja-talking-turtles. Yes, they grow up in sewers and are raised by their sensei Splinter, a rat subjected to similar experiments. Now, these experiments are part of the evil plan of Eric Sacks, a New York business tycoon, who is not-so-secretly associated with Shredder and his gang, the “foot-clan”. So, the movie has you in a familiar zone, not assaulting your knowledge about the turtles.
Well this just sets the premise, courtesy existing franchise material. So when you look at the movie and what it has to offer, there isn’t much to vouch for. It tries too hard to fit in the shoes of its predecessors and be realistic at same time, but all in vain. Humor has always been a strong point of the TMNT feature presentations but the only ray of hope in the movie is Mike (orange masked funny turtle) who brings back the boyish charm and other turtle antics. The remaining three turtles almost go overboard with attempting to make the characters realistic. Like, Raph is not only a hothead, but has anger issues bordering on being rude to everyone else. One of the few scenes where they do act like untamed teenagers is in an elevator, while on their way to fight Shredder, when they start making music with their weapons. Splinter, voiced by Tony Shalhoub (Men in Black), is a sight of relief who only gets a short screen time. April O’Neil (Megan Fox), the reporter who is trying to uncover the “heroes in half shell”, wins you over with looks that can melt you and that’s all she has to offer. Will Arnett (The Lego Movie) plays Vernon Fenwick, the cameraman who gets stuck with April and the turtles. William Fichtner portrays Eric Sacks convincingly as the coy businessman bank-rolling a gang and the evil plans of Shredder. And of course there’s 7 foot tall knife yielding super-swift Shredder played by Tohoru Masamune (Inception).
So if you get over the effects of really bulked-up somewhat-scary turtles, dull human characters and soggy script, there are a few things that actually make it a not-so-bad movie. To start with: the action scenes will keep you pumped-up and have a lot of fresh moves to offer. The turtles fighting the foot-clan and keeping April and Vernon safe, all while sliding off a snowy mountainside actually makes for one of the most enjoyable parts of the movie. Then there are the slick moves from Shredder and his boomerang-style use of knives (yes, they swerve back). But what it lacks is the fun and effortless humor that came along with in-the-sewers lifestyle of turtles and their escapades in the dark fighting crime and then disappearing in plain sight.
With Guardians of the Galaxy rocking the box-office for a week and still fresh, it would be interesting to see how TMNT performs. So unless you want to relive the ninja-turtles memories or wish to introduce young ones to the kick-ass turtles franchise, you might want to reconsider your options.
Like: Mike!!, Ninja-fights, Mechanised Shredder suit
Dislike: Low humor quotient, not-so-gripping dialogues