Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014 (Review)


Apparently the first TMNT film was so good, so groundbreaking and so perfect that it didn’t need changing? Maybe my memory of the entire thing is fuzzy, but I kinda remembered it being a gimmicky suck-fest with MC Hammer on the soundtrack?

But as so many others have said before this what I think doesn’t matter. The evil overlord Michael Bay and his minions have rushed ahead and made pretty much the same film, only with high tech CGI turtles that might be more realistic, but… let’s face it when the conceit is mutant turtles with ninja skills is realism really at the forefront of your thinking?

We don’t even meet the turtles for a good 20 minutes. Unfortunately this gives us a solid quarter hour with ‘intrepid reporter’ April O’Neill, so we can gaze upon what Lindsay Lohan might look like if she had a better surgeon. April is positive that she has a lead on the much feared Foot clan, a group of mysterious criminals who hold the city in the grip of their… feet?

A pretty faced entertainment reporter, April resents the scoffing of her boss (Whoopi Goldberg) at her request of more serious subject matter andhgjjtyctjyyyyjaj…

Oh sorry I was just choking on irony; the pretty girl who wants to be taken seriously, coming from the botoxed lips of the woman who rose to fame in robot arms and was most recently seen in… *crickets*

Even her cameraman (Will Arnett) is a non-believer. Arnett should look at himself in the mirror too. This is a role where his primary responsibility is to ogle Megan Fox and occasionally act as the voice of the audience; ‘So they’re turtles. Six-foot tall. With ninja skills?’

But don’t worry we eventually meet the turtles, only now we have a different but equally vexing problem. The first fart joke hits four minutes later, but the stench remains for the duration. The turtles neck down are an effective creation, but like this film the issue is from the neck up. Round heads are just odd, they look like a quartet of green Karl Pilkingtons, only without the guileless charm.

They make Batman jokes as they rip the central premise from Batman Begins. They talk a lot about ‘laying low’ then spend half the film talking loudly on rooftops. They eventually deal with Shredder, who now looks an awful lot like a Transformer. They wear different coloured ninja masks – so that we don’t confuse them with the other ninja turtles? And the less said about the creepy and offputting Splinter the better. The janky puppet from the first film was weird and awkward looking, this CGI version is just wrong.

In an amazing parallel with GI Joe 2, a film that has no reason to live has one reasonably effective sequence that takes place on a mountain-side. Is it also ironic that the most telling sequence has the ‘heroes’ going downhill uncontrollably?

You saw it in the trailer, there’s no reason to spend money on the other 87 minutes now. But then again if you saw it in the trailer you should know well enough to steer clear anyway. I was only in attendance thanks to an 8 year old who wants to find something cool to call his own, and he was only lukewarm on even the most tubular of scenes.

Sadly but entirely expectedly, TMNT 2014 is only for these 8-10 year olds in your life. It might be wiser to fill out for the next year or two with re-runs of Pixar films and a book or two. Then you can introduce them to the Guardians of the Galaxy… and that’s where the fun starts.

I used to pride myself on being able to draw a cartoon teenage mutant ninja turtle head with some competence. Thanks to this film even that faded memory has lost a little more lustre.

Final Rating – 5 / 10. Proof positive that remaking the classics is unnecessary.

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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