Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Cow-A-Bummer
My way too long movie review about the new Ninja Turtles Film.
Growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s The Ninja turtles weren’t just a series of comic books, action figures and a cartoon program, the Ninja Turtles were a way of life. Nearly everything I owned had the Ninja Turtles logo on it, Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael not only defined my source of entertainment as a child, but they helped to define a generations source of entertainment. So, in 1990 when I was six years old and the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie came out, it was like my young life was complete. After seeing the movie in theaters my parents bought me the movie on VHS and I watched it until it didn’t work anymore. The first turtles movie was easily my favorite movie as a child.
Fast forward to 2014, The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie directed by Jonathan Liebesman is released. From what I can tell this movie is pretty much a re imagining/remake of the 1990’s version so much of my review will revolve around comparing the two. In this introduction to the Ninja Turtles television news reporter April O’Neil , played by Megan Fox, is investigating a string of robberies that she believes are being perpetrated by a gang called “The Foot”. One night she goes off on her own to investigate the robberies and comes across a robbery in progress, it is during this robbery that she first comes into contact with the vigilante Ninja Turtles, only at this point all she sees is the vigilante’s shadows so she doesn’t know that they are turtles. When she goes back to report what she found to her boss, played by Whoppi Goldberg for some reason, her boss laughs at her and doesn’t believe or care that April might have just found the answer to the question of who’s doing all the robberies in town. Without giving away too much,After doing some research April believes that her father’s old business partner Eric Sacks might know who these vigilantes are so she goes to seek his advice. After she leaves we learn that Sacks is in co hoots with Shredder who then sends of his foot gang to teach April a lesson and this is where we first see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the first time as they swoop in to save April. So the Turtles take April down to their sewer hideout were eventually some of The Foot along with Shredder storm in beat up splinter and capture all of the Ninja Turtles except for Raphael who is now on a mission to save his brothers and stop The shredder from destroying the city.
My Thoughts on the new Version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been out for a few days now and I’m sure you’ve seen reviewers say that it’s horrible, I’m here to confirm that it actually is pretty bad. Here are some of my person reasons as to why the movie is terrible.
The worst part of the movie for me is that it lacks heart. There is no emotion or feeling in this movie at all. In the first movie we are given a character by the name of Casey Jones, which I’m sure all TMNT fans are familiar with. I read somewhere, I don’t remember exactly where, that Casey was left out of the movie because instead they were replacing him with Vernon Fenwick’s character played by Wil Arnett. I guess the creators felt that Wil Arnett would supply enough comedy relief to keep the movie going and Casey wouldn’t be needed. The problem is this, In the 1990’s version of TMNT Casey Jones filled a variety of different roles. When we first meet him he has a scuffle with Raphael and throughout the rest of the movie he’s almost like another brother to Raphael. Raphael is portrayed as the hot tempered out cast in the movie who wants to be left alone and allowed to do what he wants to do. Casey Jones is the perfect pairing for him because they are both the same at first, they have the same type of personality and they clash and it eventually leads to an amazing friendship by the end of the movie. Casey Jones also plays the love interest of April in the first movie making his character multi-dimensional and complex and in my opinion very well written. Where as Fenwick is kind of thrown into the story as someone who is attractive to April O’Neil and later on is tasked at helping the turtles defeat the shredder. He has no character arch, no emotional impact on the story, he is just kid of there, giving one liners every now and then and driving a van. So where is the Casey Jones character in the movie? Which character in this movie has a character arch? There simply isn’t one. There is no character that compliments the turtles and helps to move their story along. There is also no character that any type of arch, they are all one dimensional throughout the entire movie and I feel as if it was truly a huge loss.
Danny - While we are on this subject of minor characters making a huge impact on a movie for me , I really didn’t understand the impact of Danny’s character in the first TMNT movie until I saw the second movie. In the first movie Danny is a rebellious teenager who joins the foot because it’s something to do and because it’s a way of rebelling against society. He also has a father who works a lot and he sees the first clan as kind of a second family. The foot clan in the first movie are painted as a kind of second family for teenagers who come from a broken home. In the first movie the foot kind of served as a study on gangs themselves. You kind of follow Danny as he learns what family really means through his interactions with his dad, the foot and with splinter. What does the foot clan represent in the new movie? Absolutely nothing. The foot in the new movie is just an after thought gang that is there to give the turtles trouble for about 3 minutes. Such a shame.
Second Major Problem - the Plot.
In this version of TMNT the turtles are discovered by April O’Neil, which is fine, this happened in the original movie as well. Only in this movie the turtles end up being April’s child hood pets whom she saved in a fire at her dad’s research facility. As soon as this was introduced as the back story for the turtles I completely gave up on the film. I understand that movies have a lot of coincidences in them, but come on. this is just absolutely ridiculous The back story for the Ninja Turtles was originally announced that the turtles were going to be aliens from out space until fans created an uproar and the plot had to be quickly changed to appease the viewing audience. I like the fact that they listened to the fan base and changed the back story however I just wish hey had taken some more time and thought up a better one than this. I would almost have preferred aliens to this.
My last major major gripe is with The Shredder
In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle world the Shredder is pretty much the main bad guy, although you could maybe argue Krang is the main bad guy but since he’s never been a TMNT movie we will go with Shredder for now. William Fitchner who palys Eric Sacks in this movie was originally slated to play Shredder. However, after fan backlash about a Caucasian Fitchner playing a Japanese Shredder, Fitchner was given the role of the Shredder’s sidekick and the role of the Shredder was given to Tohoru Masamune. I’ve never been a fan of an introduction comic book movie having 2 villains before and this movie really shows why I’m against it. In the 90’s version of TMNT we get a lot of information on the Shredder and he is on screen quit a bit. In my opinion the best villains are the one’s you know are lurking around and are a threat to the heroes even when they aren’t on screen and for me the original movie did this. The original movie had me fearing the shredder. In this new movie however The Shredder is hardly ever on screen and the main vileness role is mostly handed to Sacks. So when the final showdown between the Shredder and the turtles happen you almost don’t even care because you either forgot all about The Shredder or you just haven’t seen enough of him or been given enough information about him to care about him when he’s on screen. This is a huge flaw i the movie for me. If you’re going to have a main villain like the Shredder in your movie make him the only villain, give him plenty of screen time and make us feel his presence even when he’s not around. If we don’t fear him then why should we assume that the heroes fear him?
You may completely disagree with everything I have just written about this movie. This review is mostly just me remembering what I can of the first movie and of my child experience with the Ninja Turtles. I hope one day someone is able to make another decent movie about the Ninja Turtles, but this movie isn’t it.
Final Rating - D- or 2 out of 10