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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) Review

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Age Restriction:
Studio: Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies, Platinum Dunes
Running Time: 101 mins

Verdict: 3 / 5

The Turtles are back in an action packed adventure that screams Nickelodeon. And thank the Lord they are not aliens. Much like the current TV series, this film offers fast pace action, some good jokes and memorable moments. It has been two decades since we last saw the brothers in live action, but is this reboot worthy?

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April O’ Neil (Megan Fox) witnesses the infamous Foot Clan suffer a vicious beating at the hands of an unknown vigilante. The problem is that it was quiet dark and she captured no evidence. All she is left with is a very familiar looking calling card.

April is determined to become a serious reporter. She is tired of her usual pointless reports and this story looks like an exclusive that will lead to her becoming one of the top notch reporters at Channel 6. The only problem is that nobody believes her story, especially not her boss Bernadette Thompson (Whoopi Goldberg). This leads April to take it upon herself in order to prove that she has a worthwhile story, setting up for her first encounter with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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A new origin is introduced. The Mutagen story is re-hashed in order to create a more “plausible” reason for the existence of four giant humanoid turtles and their father/sensei, Splinter. Splinter also receives a bit of an origin change. However, his story change is not that far off. The comic has changed its publisher a number of times, with each publisher re-telling the classic story in their own way. So it is safe to say that this film continues the trend.

With the plot being so simple, we’re thrown into the origin quite quickly and the scriptwriters explain everything so that very little thinking is required. It makes ties and connections apparent and then it jumps straight into the usual over the top Michael Bay action sequences, which were actually enjoyable. Far-fetched? For sure, but actually enjoyable.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014 review

The reasons for the baddies being bad comes down to wanting to be “stupid rich” and powerful. This is so silly, as they are already rich as is and the Foot Clan are feared by all. So in a sense Shredder and his lackey are being evil for… well… nothing. I would have preferred the original motivation behind the rivalry between Shredder and Splinter. Instead, this motivation is a fickle one that is not really believable or necessary.

Both Tohoru Masamune and William Fichtner are good as bad guys but they are far from great. The Shredder looks daunting. He is big, dangerous and filled with rage but his battle with The Turtles is not personal and this also makes the plot a little less intriguing. Karai also features as an antagonist in this film, but I wonder what agreement Megan Fox had with Michael Bay. The movie contains no other good looking women whatsoever. Karai looks far too old to be bothered by teenagers and Whoopi Goldberg… well, one a good day she looks like a Ninja Turtle with wig on. Whilst Megan Fox attempts to prove that she can act and is more than eye candy on screen, the movie does play to her looks quite a bit, using her as the butt of some sexually charged jokes… literally.

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On to the good things: The turtles do not look as bad on screen and those nostrils are hardly even noticeable. Each turtle looks different and not just because of their colour coding.

Mikey looks younger than the others, thanks to his stature and youthful grin. You can see he is the baby of the bunch.

Donnie, much like the Nickelodeon cartoon version, is tall and thinner than the other turtles. His slender structure and oversized glasses scream “nerd alert”. Plus he has added tech to prove that he is the go-to-geek in the group.

Leonardo is bigger and looks more confident in his abilities. This is highlighted by his movements and his towering, upright structure.

The biggest of the group is Raphael. He looks like the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the group with his over developed muscles. Raphael is angry, reckless and just about everything the comics make him out to be. This film puts him in the lime light and he is given the chance to grow. His character definitely stands out from the rest of the group.

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The new look of The Turtles make them more believable and threatening. Viewers immediately realise that The Foot Clan are dealing with formidable opponents. The humor was a strong point as well. Mikey lived up to the role that he was created for, dropping some rather funny one liners more often than not. The venue was clever enough to invite kids to the pre-screening and I was able to come to the conclusion that they have reached their target audience. The kids were laughing, having fun and hanging on to Mikey’s every last word. Whilst some jokes may be a little adult, this film for the most part is good, clean and simple fun. It aims to entertain firstly and it gets its primary objective done. Whilst many fan boys might think it doesn’t do justice to the originals and ruins their feelings of nostalgia, others will find this film to be a breath of fresh air and a break from the usual over convoluted plots that go hand in hand with the onscreen adaptation.

With big budget action scenes, good jokes and great references, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is better than Bay’s other comic based films. While it is far from being great, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a worthwhile re-boot that will lead to many new adventures and opportunities for the famous four, hopefully all in Live Action!


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