The 99% Cheese Pizza.
I, as many other longtime fans of these movies, was a little nervous going into the movie. That was mostly because of the rumors I had heard before the movie’s release and because of one name attached to the project: Michael Bay. When I’m going to see a stupid action movie, I’m perfectly comfortable seeing that name attached, but when the property is one that I’ve loved since my youth, I fear that all of the memories of the things I loved with spontaneously combust in my brain. But I could not allow the movie to pass me by because I love the property too much, and that’s why I went to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, written by Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, and Evan Daugherty, directed by Jonathan Liebesman, produced by Michael Bay, and starring Megan Fox, Tony Shalhoub, Johnny Knoxville, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Tohoru Masamune, William Fichtner, Will Arnett, Minae Noji, Whoopi Goldberg, Abby Elliott, and Taran Killam.
April O’Neil (Megan Fox) is a reporter for Channel 6 news in New York that hopes to graduate from fluff pieces into serious news by researching a gang called the Foot Clan. Her investigation eventually gets her stuck in a hostage situation that is broken up by some unseen vigilantes. She follows their trail up to a rooftop where she discovers (and photographs) 4 giant, young adult, genetically altered, unseen warrior amphibians. …They should come up with a better name. These turtles delete her pictures, but introduce themselves as Leonardo (Johnny Knoxville), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), and Donatello (Jeremy Howard). Eventually, they take April to meet their master, an elderly, mutant, sensei rodent named Splinter (Tony Shalhoub), and the group discover that the leader of the Foot Clan, the Shredder (Tohoru Masamune), is trying to poison the city and use the turtles’ blood to make sure the Foot Clan are the only ones that survive.
I predicted the outcome of seeing this movie pretty well. The movie wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible enough that it ruined my entire childhood and caused my brain to combust in my skull. That would make writing this review rather difficult. The movie was what it was. It was fairly dumb, but entirely tolerable. As with most fans of things, I found that I didn’t really appreciate some of the changes that were made. For instance, this movie decided that the Foot Clan was so named because “they step over people.” Yeah? It’s not because they’re foot soldiers? Also, since when does the Foot Clan use guns? They were supposed to be ninjas like the turtles! And since they’re ninjas, their preferred form of martial arts would obviously be karate, right? Because they decided that ninjutsu was entirely overrated and too predictable? Well that all makes perfect sense. I would also say that I normally find product placement a little icky, but it would have been a travesty to not have some form of pizza product placement in this movie. Strangely, they went with Pizza Hut, so I assume the turtle’s choices are somewhat limited by living in the sewer. I mean, they live in New York City. There must be any number of better pizza options nearby. And Papa John’s delivers too, so they have no excuse.
I’m sure we’ve all seen what the turtles look like and are capable of reaching our own conclusions based on that. But you’re reading this so I assume you’re at least vaguely interested in my opinion. I liked how they looked … except for the nostrils. That made them look weird to me. I would also argue that some of their getups were a bit too busy for my taste. They have natural armor, so why are they wearing armor on top of that? And wouldn’t it get annoying to be doing flips and such with Michelangelo’s puka shells and gold necklaces flying into his face? Also, Splinter just looked icky. And more so than usual. Besides those minor gripes, I was mostly satisfied with the look and the action in the movie, especially the downhill diesel sledding scene that can be seen in the trailer for the movie. That scene was pretty ridictacular.
The cast did a decent enough job in the movie. I wish they had played more towards Megan Fox’s sexuality as they have in every other movie of hers I’ve seen. Mainly because she’s hot and she doesn’t seem to have much more to offer than that. She certainly doesn’t play her characters as if they were intelligent, or at least good at decision making. I mean, she saved the turtles and the rat from the burning building, but it was never addressed that she attempted to save her father at all? William Fichtner did a good job too, but at one point he said, “April has arrived early,” when April O’Neil arrived. I know he didn’t write the line, but it gets associated with him because it came out of his mouth. I didn’t have too many problems with the turtles themselves. I mean, Leonardo did all the leading, Donatello did machines, Raphael was cool, but a little crude, and Michelangelo was just a party dude. I did appreciate that they did Michelangelo well enough that he leaned more towards funny than annoying. It’s a fine line to walk with that character.
I would highly recommend going into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with low expectations. It might be the only way it doesn’t disappoint, especially for fans of the Turtles. It’s not bad enough to ruin the brand, but it’s not good enough that I can fully recommend it. It’s just okay. The story is simple and unimpressive, the action is fine, the turtles look a little weird and Splinter looks icky, and the performances are fine. If you’re comfortable with that, see the movie. Otherwise, it’s probably only really worth a RedBox. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gets “So they’re aliens? No, that’s stupid. They’re turtles” out of “Hey, have you seen that video where the cat is playing Chopsticks with chopsticks?”
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