Thursday, August 7, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
Releases August 8th, 2014
1 hr 41 mins
Rated PG-13
Action/Adventure, Family


Director: Michael Bay

Pete Ploszek as Leonardo
Johnny Knoxville as the voice of Leonardo
Alan Ritchson as Raphael
Noel Fisher as Michelangelo
Jeremy Howard as Donatello
Megan Fox as April O'Neil
Malina Weissman as young April O'Neil
Will Arnett as Vernon Fenwick
William Fichtner as Eric Sachs
Danny Woodburn as Splinter
Tony Shalhoub as the voice of Splinter
Tohoru Masamune as Shredder
Whoopi Goldberg as Bernadette Thompson
Minae Noji as Karai
Abby Elliott as Taylor
Taran Killam as McNaughton
K. Todd Freeman as Dr. Baxter Stockman

Paul Fitzgerald as Dr. O'Neil

Review by Stephen M.

While Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is no Michelangelo, it's no Transformers: Age of Extinction either.  I had low expectations coming in to see the movie and that worked out great.  The film was funny while full of action as  you would hope.  So much so that you can almost forgive Megan Fox's supbar performance, Splinter's fu manchu mustache and the Turtles reminding me of the talking Annoying Orange.

Megan Fox plays junior reporter April O'Neil, who is relegated to reporting froth despite a huge crime wave occurring in her city by the criminal organization, The Foot Clan.  She pursues The Foot Clan on her own personal time despite the advice of her cameraman Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett) when he's not hitting on her.  The paths of April and the turtles eventually crosses, and from there the story doesn't really stay coherent.  But the witty banter of the Turtles and the action pack fights between Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) and the Turtles keeps your attention throughout.

The plot goes awry beginning with the Turtles' and Splinter's origins of how they were injected with an experimental chemical.  It's not so much this idea but that how convenient was it for their transformation to humanoid form occurred directly after being set free?  How was it that Splinter so conveniently stumbled upon Ninjutsu manuals in the sewer of all places?  Was able to teach himself as well as the four turtles?  Why was it that Splinter ask the Turtles to retrieve April because she was in danger when she wasn't until she was actually with them?  There are many other absurd holes with the movie, like the chemicals towards the end and how they beat Shredder but I think you get my point.

With regards to the character designs of the Turtles, Shredder, Splinter, and The Foot, I actually love the Turtles and Shredder, but not so much Splinter and The Foot soldiers.  I don't really see the necessity to over accessorize the Turtles so they have more individual looks.  But I do like their steroid looking muscular mass, and Shredder giving Edward Scissorhands jealousy fits.  With Splinter, I already mentioned the fu manchu look as being plain weird, while the Foot with their black faces looking ridiculous.

Megan Fox as I mentioned didn't wow me.  Minae Noji as Karai, Shredder's lieutenant is underutilized while William Fichtner added another decent performance as Eric Sachs who worked with April's father on the chemicals creating the Turtles.  The actors playing the Turtles does a great job in creating each of their unique personalities.  However, I wish more depth was given to their characters and their motivations.

Despite my gripes, I did still enjoy the film and would recommend it for families.  The movie despite being almost 2 hours long moved along quickly.  My favorite scenes would be when the Turtles first meet April on the roof and when the Turtles are in the elevator.  I would have liked to see The Foot be introduced as ninjas as well in accordance with the comics as instead to mostly gun toting thugs.


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