10/26/14

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014) - REVIEW


Megan Fox sucks.

Now the elephant in the room's finally out of the way and I've clarified that for ya right off the bat: let's take a look at the new Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or, as it is also called, Ninja Turtles.

This looked set to be a disaster from the get-go with Bay attached, the casting of Fox and major changes to the Turtles' story all announced at the same time. Then came the very dumb trailer which didn't look all that amazing and actually turned off a lot of people who thought the turtles looked too freaky. Because we all know what a teenage mutant ninja LIVE ACTION turtle should look like, don't we? And what we're all picturing right now isn't weird at all, right?

Come on, mutated turtles that can talk, fight and eat pizza were always going to look bizarre not in a cartoon or a comic book.

The biggest surprise the film had to offer wasn't the new "roided-out" look of its titular characters or William Fichtner not being The Shredder at all but that some elements of the film actually sort of worked! Like it or not, when this new TMNT actually genuinely attempts to stay true to its source material and it does it well, it's pretty cool to see those turtles again doing what they do best. Oh sure, there's A LOT of stupid stuff in there you could have cut entirely, the insufferable boomboxing elevator scene for one, but the animated intro is pleasant 3D eye-candy, the action scenes are definitely entertaining, you get to see The Shredder fight Master Splinter properly, the turtle van looks cool and most of the scenes in the sewers where the turtles interact are likeable.

Sadly, a lot of these plus points are dragged down by some questionable decisions.

I mean, I've mentioned that Megan Fox sucks, I know I did, but I think a reminder is needed. She really is terrible in this and not since John Leguizamo took on the role of Luigi in Super Mario Bros. sans moustache have we seen such a blatant miscast. Surely lifeless eyes, a lifeless face and a failure to convincingly display any sort of emotion or speak properly should not land you the role of April O'Neil or any role in a big budget movie for that matter (unless you're Keanu Reeves, of course). Don't expect a yellow jumpsuit, a sense of humour, a feisty nature, don't even expect her to own a proper camera, this is the poorest excuse for an April O'Neil they could have possibly put together and it's certainly a tough error to look past. When the live-action turtles in your movie feel more real than your leading actress, you might look into recasting.

On the other hand, Will Arnett, while playing a mostly useless character you could have easily written off, totally needed to be in this movie. Whatever joke Fox can't pull off, Arnett jumps in to save the day with a well-articulated quip. He may just be some dude driving a news van but he's also kind of driving this movie so, whether he's useful or not to the plot, we needed him and I'm glad he was there to at least try to entertain us. He's basically our Casey Jones, minus that badass hockey mask. Fichtner's character is also a bit of a question mark in that even the movie forgets completely about him come the third act. This reeks of a re-write following complaints that the actor was not right for the role of Shredder or something of the sort. Luckily, the latter is appropriately intimidating and although *spoilers* he does get his ass royally kicked by the end of the flick, I do look forward to more Shredder and hopefully some Krang in the future.

Now Krang in a live-action movie would look messed-up.

I'd wanna see that!

This Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, if I'm honest, isn't terrible. It's bad in some ways but no more than the usual Michael Bay-produced (or directed) fare. It's also, shockingly, almost good at times: it's admittedly fun and harmless enough, the plot is blindingly simple so kids and adults won't have trouble following it, it's mindless, it's silly yet weirdly endearing, whenever Fox isn't on screen, that is. It could have been a whole lot worse and I, for one, enjoyed parts of it even if, on the whole, this is a messy movie with its share of flaws.

More turtles, less Foxes.


For my April Fool's joke review of the film from earlier this year, click here!

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