As a child of the 80s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a major fixture in my life. I can vividly remember every Ninja Turtle comic book, toy, lunch box, and even the little sandwich stamp that my Mom would use on my peanut butter and jelly. The idea of a Ninja Turtle movie after almost twenty years of cinema silence has kept me motivated that great things do come around more than once.
After viewing Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Thursday night, my previous excitement was reduced to a dull golf clap. My memory receptors constantly process the Ninja Turtles with the goofy, cartoon-like heroes from the 1990 movie version that seems more like a cereal commercial than an actual motion picture. Therefore, Michael Bay’s Ninja Turtles came as a complete surprise to me when they first appeared in this 2014 remake.
The visual effects in play in this film to create the turtles was very defined. Their presence comes across as more believable if there ever was a circumstance in which baby box turtles were injected with a slimy green mutant goo. The four brothers have a very different presence in this film unlike previous adaptations. Until this film, the only real defining difference between the ninja turtles were their different colored mask and select weapons. Bay’s version portrays the heroic ninjas of the night with a much more sophomoric approach that is fitting to the “teenage” label in the movie’s title.
The plot of this movie is drastically lacking, but does contain all of the important components of ninja turtle lore that all true fans will know to look for. Perhaps the most recognizable difference in this movie is the origin of the brothers and their bond to reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox).
O’Neil is a beat reporter working the feel good stories for the early afternoon news, but she is desperately waiting for her break. She tries to turn an eye of the editor at her paper by going outside of her assignment and find a story about the criminal underworld in New York City. While spying out a suspected criminal plot involving the Shredder’s Foot Clan, O’Neil witnesses the first public sighting of the Ninja Turtles in action. This leads to her uncovering more about the turtles and their true identity, but her compassion for them grows over time as she decides to not make know to the public the true heroes of the night.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is basic and predictable. Their is a major problem in the city of New York and the citizens are frightened. The Ninja Turtles fight the Foot Clan and in the end, they defeat Shredder. There is obviously two hours of dialogue and fluff in between these instances, but that is the entire movie in a half-shell.
My childhood was not shattered with this new Ninja Turtles movie, but I was a little disappointed. I was hoping for something with a little more cultural significance that would shape the landscape for a new generation of turtle lovers. I just didn’t feel like the characters were developed enough and the entire movie seemed to have to try really hard for humor to be funny.
If you are looking for a fun movie to watch with your 9 to 14 year old or simply desire to take a fabled trip down memory lane, this movie is a win. Although, if you are looking for a paramount display of special effects and mesmerizing battle sequences this one misses the mark by at least half a shell.
Galen is a Graphic Designer in Wake Forest, NC. He is the husband of a wonderful Oklahoma girl and dad of a future Marvel Comics fan. He enjoys comic-related anything, the Boston Red Sox and sharpening his axe for the zombie apocalypse.