Culture Magazine

Movie Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

By Manofyesterday

Director: Jonathan Liebesman

Stars: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Pete Ploszek, Johnny Knoxville, Jeremy Howard, Danny Woodburn, Tony Shalhoub, Tohoru Masamune, Whoopi Goldberg

April O’Neil (Fox) is trying to get a big scoop so investigates reports about a vigilante that is fighting back against the Foot Clan, led by the enigmatic Shredder. She discovers the turtles and gets involved in a scheme that involves their history and could have consequences for the future of New York!

Okay, so, there was a lot of consternation about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while it was in production so I wasn’t sure what to expect going in. Was it going to be a complete trainwreck that completely disrespects the source material or was it actually going to be fun? I’m glad to say it’s the latter, but it’s certainly not perfect by any means.

Let me being by saying that the plot is really bad. I liked some aspects of it, like how April’s history ties in with the turtles, but the plan that Shredder is trying to accomplish makes no sense whatsoever. Basically, he wants to unleash a toxin over NYC, then his associate will come up with a cure and hold the American government ransom over it, and then somehow they will be able to rule over NYC because reasons? And why would they want to? I mean, Shredder is Japanese, why wouldn’t he wanted to take over his own country? And NYC is just one city, it’s not the center of the universe like it’s always portrayed in the movies. It’s not really developed and I don’t understand Shredder’s motivation at all.

Speaking of Shredder, that costume. Wow. Totally overkill. It does look kinda badass and there are some cool things done with it (magnets woo!) but it is over the top. Then again, we are talking about a film with giant turtles etc so I don’t mind it getting a bit cartoonish now and then, I think they could turn it down a notch though.

The action is fine although the last third of the film feels rushed. Sometimes it’s difficult to make out what’s going on, especially during the fight scenes in the sewers. But there were some good set-pieces and and there were moments where I felt genuine drama and tension.

Where the film really succeeds is in the characterisation of Splinter and the turtles. The interplay between them is perfect and they felt like the turtles I grew up with. I did think Leonardo got given the short shrift, as they all had their moments to shine but Leo got pushed aside a bit. Splinter though, wow, he’s badass. I liked Fox and Arnett as April and Vernon, and how they interacted with the turtles. There are a lot of funny moments that bring levity to proceedings too and yeah, I liked it a lot. I have many issues with the story but character-wise it’s great, there are some tender and sweet moments to go along with the humor and the action. It’s a really fun movie so I am going to recommend this. If you’re a fan of the turtles and your inner child is still alive then go for it.

Oh, and when the C-word is finally uttered it’s such a cool moment.


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