“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” — A Slice of SciFi Review

This is Daren’s first solo review for Slice of SciFi!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Cowabunga dude! Does the world really need another TMNT movie? Do we really need Turtles that love pizza and act like ninjas? Apparently Hollywood thinks we do. So, here we are, blessed with yet another reboot of those beloved Turtles.

Once upon a time in 1984, TMNT was a black and white comic book, self-published by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. These two young artists used money from a tax refund and a loan from Eastman’s uncle to finance the first issue. Slowly, word spread about this offbeat comic and collectors and distributors everywhere started to take notice. The TNMT franchise really took off once merchandising opportunities started in 1986. From toys to cartoons the turtles were everywhere. In fact, I’d be willing to bet most of the kids who grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s are quite familiar with the TNMT’s.

In 1990, the first live action movie was released followed by two more sequels. These movies were quite successful and helped generate millions in merchandise sales. Had the world had enough? While the last live action TMNT was released in 1993, the franchise continued to thrive on TV and merchandise sales for the next 20 years. It’s actually amazing that it took 21 years for another live TMNT movie to be produced. How does this reboot fair? In one word: poorly.

The film starts off with news reporter April O’Neill (Megan Fox) investigating a wave of crimes hitting the city. April longs to be a legitimate reporter and feels this could be her big break. Instead, she ends up reporting about trampolines. Feeling this is not real reporting, she tells her cameraman (Will Arnett) about an ongoing investigation about the Foot Clan. April’s personal investigation ends up getting her fired and in turn motivates her to pursue the story. With the aid of her cameraman, they start a personal quest of learning the real truth behind Shredder and the Foot Clan.

Leading up to this movie, many TMNT fans were excited for this release and I’m curious what a true fan would say about these Turtles. Are they a worthy representation of the fabled franchise? In my opinion, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Ralphael, feel like 7-foot-tall cardboard cutouts with no personality. These guys tower over their human counterparts in a monster-like appearance. What happened to the classic look and feel that we’re accustomed to? Unlike previous live action TMNT movies, this version feels stale and lifeless. Gone is the humor and wonderful interplay between the Turtles. The relationships between each turtle is supposed to fun and loving but instead, it’s downright irritating. Maybe things would’ve been different if the turtles had more screen time to help develop and improve upon this weakness.

For the majority of the film, Megan Fox dominates screen time leaving me wonder if this movie should’ve been called April O’Neill guest starring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In addition to these boring turtles, the action sequences felt forced and uninspired save for one chase scene on a snowy mountain. You’d think with modern CGI technology, there would be awesome set pieces and wonderful special effects but instead, we’re left with dark boring scenes. For most of the movie, I was bored and felt like leaving the theater because of the paper-thin plot and poorly executed fight scenes.

If there are sequels planned for the future, I think I’ll pass on the next release.


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