Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Is a reboot of the popular comic book of the same name.  The film is directed Jonathan Liebesman and produced by Michel Bay.  The film’s plot retains the origin story of the turtles.  This origin involves the turtles gaining their size and strength due to a chemical they interacted with.  April O’Neil (Megan Fox) takes on the role of nosy yet intrepid reporter in this reboot and is a friend to the turtles.

The main problem with this film lies in the characters.  None of the characters feel like genuine representations of what the teenage mutant ninja turtles would be like.  The evidence that supports this is overwhelming especially when  you look at the characters of Leonardo and Raphael.  The leader and the hothead of the group both genuinely act like adults.  One turtle may be more rebellious than the other but none of that rebellion comes across with any form of angst.  Leonardo is very clear headed and thoughtful and is always thinking of a way to work with his brothers to defeat Shredder and the Foot clan.  In contrast to those two turtles, Michelangelo and Donatello act like 15 year olds.  Donnie loves watching YouTube and trying to solve mystery behind the ending of lost while Mikey is trying to figure out the best way to get a date with April O’Neil.  The overall tone is inconsistent because the characters aren’t the same in terms of the maturity.

The film doesn’t know who its audience is.  The reason I state that is because the tone of the film is so dark.  The few moments of humorous levity that are sprinkled throughout the film come in odd places make no sense for the characters or the human beings who hear the joke.  If the film was attempting to be for kids making the tone far less serious would have helped kids get to know the turtles in a much more honest way.  If the filmmakers chose to they could then go darker in the second film and see if it works with the audience who matured after the first film.

Megan Fox is the best thing about this movie.  I know a lot of people will be shocked to hear that said but she’s actually serviceable.  As mentioned before April O’Neil is a reporter out to get the best story possible but her editor doesn’t trust her to chase down any real news stories.  The story surprise for this film is that April knew the turtles before their transformation.  She had them as pets when she was a child and took care of them before the chemical they were tested with was fully in their system.

The friendship between the turtles and April doesn’t feel real though.  I mean they aren’t even curious about the things human beings do.  What even more of an insult is that writers of this film are assuming that despite the fact that these creatures are turtles they know everything humanly possible about human culture because they saw it on the internet.  The previous attempt at a film franchise involving the TMNT always had those animals curious humans, their lives and the culture that surrounds them.  None of that curiosity seems to be present here and I believe it’s a missed opportunity.

Shredder as a villain was shrouded in mystery since the beginning of this film’s turbulent production.  Ultimately, while Shredder looks threatening there really is no reason for him to appear.  He has an entire Foot clan to take care of the turtles for him why not use them.  The Shredder as shown in the suit is CGI and so are the turtles which is a change from the Jim Henson creatures used in the first trilogy.  I am not a fan of the look and because the level of maturity between the turtles is so inconsistent I don’t believe their characters either.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an okay film for someone who is not familiar with the deep seeded lore that goes with the characters but the film alienates old fans of that set of characters and creates something different that can only be described as a passive recreation of a group of characters many seem to love.  This film should have stayed in its shell.

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