Our heroes-in-a-half-shell are back again, and look out world! This reboot of one of our childhood favourites – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 was one of our first movies – exceeded my expectations. Then again, this being a Michael Bay (Producer/Director – Transformers 1-4, Pearl Harbor, The Last Ship) film, my expectations were pretty low; it’s probably a great thing that it was directed by Jonathan Liebsman (Director – Wrath of the Titans, Battle of Los Angeles). After what Bay did to the aforementioned movies I’m generally surprised if there’s any kind of a decent story line or character development: something TMNT actually comes through on – a little.
The setting: current day New York, NY. The plot: local philanthropist turned resident evil mastermind Eric Sacks (William Fichtner – Armageddon, Entourage) has turned on the city in an attempt to make “like sick amounts of money” in conjunction with his master, Shredder (Tohoru Masamune – Heroes, Inception), making the Foot Clan a force to be reckoned with. Enter sewer left – our genetically modified friends and a reporter or two to stop them and save the city from almost certain doom.
Reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox – Transformers, Jennifer’s Body) is sporting her signature yellow jacket but is missing the red hair this go-round – that made us more than a little sad, but she makes up for it by really getting into her work and showing is how to get in shape – as she discovers an unknown group of vigilantes that she apparently has ties to going way back. Problem is no one believes her, so she’s ostracized as she continues in her pursuit of the truth with camera-guy, Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett – The Lego Movie, Despicable Me), in tow. She makes some connections as to our heroes’ real identities, but finds herself more deeply involved than expected as she is kidnapped and whisked away to an undisclosed, underground location to be re-introduced to the Turtles and their master, Splinter (Danny Woodburn – Seinfeld, 8 Simple Rules).
The roles of our sewer-dwelling protagonists remains the same as in the past with Leonardo (voiced by Pete Ploszek) filling the role of leader, Raphael (voiced by Alan Ritchson) being the resident bad-boy with some anger issues and problems with authority, Donatello (voiced by Jeremy Howard) nerding out every chance he gets, and Michelangelo (voiced by Noel Fisher) being the all-around class clown. While all of the Turtles have their moment to shine: Leo coming up with a plan, Raph kicking some keister, Donny saving the day – Mikey steals the show. What with his well-timed one-liners and appropriate awkward adolescent behavior, Mikey is the most relatable/laughable/loveable character by far; we’d fall in love with Megan Fox too as teenagers (not that we haven’t as adults too…).
While the cast of this show will never win a major acting award (at this point anyways) we could/would Megan Fox any day of the week, and apparently so would Arnett – who did his fair share of staring as she hung out the truck to take pictures (we would have driven into a snowbank too, just saying…); Fichtner and Masamune make passable villains; and the voice-actors do fine by me.
Turtles packs the requisite amount of action for this genre of film with the usual Bay-like explosions, car chases, a throwaway avalanche, and a couple of great fight scenes between Shredder and the boys/Splinter, but it may be that they made Shredder’s outfit just a little too much attention/beefed it up way too much for it to be believable – especially at the beginning of this legendary feud. Not only that, but it incorporates just the right amount of pizza and comedy for this to be what you would expect a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ film to be. And like E.S. Norton said – if the only things you can find wrong with a Michael Bay film are an avalanche scene and Shredder’s get-up, you’ve got a pretty good Michael Bay film.
In the end, is it worth your time and $? Here’s what I think: if you’re a fan of the Turtles (if you’re a guy between the ages of 6 and 35, you probably are) – go watch this movie, if you’re a Michael Bay fan (what is wrong with you?) – go watch this movie, if you’re a comic book/cartoon lover – go watch this movie, if you have children you’d like to introduce to this – go for it! However, if you expect a higher class of film, or any high-brow stuff – just stay at home or figure on some other film at your local cinema.
Oh yeah – and by the way, Megan… “Imagine me and you – I do….”
~ J.T. Riles ~
Categories: Turn off your Phones!