Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was full of action, explosions and goofy teenage humour. Sadly though it came up short, which is a disappointment as I really wanted to like it.
We meet April O’Neil, a Channel 6 reporter who is frustrated of doing mundane news stories. Her main interest is digging deep into activities which require a high level of investigative journalism. That opportunity comes one evening when she witnesses an illegal distribution of chemicals which is linked to a crime organisation known as The Foot Clan. Without warning an unknown When O’Neill informs her editor in chief she raises her eyebrows. However lightning strikes twice, when the gang launches an attack in the underground. For the first time we get a proper look at what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles look like as they disband the gang members and set everyone free.
No one reason can be singled out for why the movie is not up to snuff; rather it is a collective series of failures. Notice that straight after the subway scene, Michaelangelo (Noel Fisher), Leonardo (Pete Ploszek & Johnny Knoxville), Raphael (Alan Ritchson) and Donatello (Jeremy Howard) are riding down the underground pipeline back into the turtle lair. Accompanying them is a musical score more suitable for an intense battle sequence. How on earth did it get placed there? And the turtles look way too much like creepy capers. If I’d watched this film in silence I’d almost wander who the bad guys were. See the picture below of the TMNT cartoon version and put it against the film’s turtles and you might begin to understand the frustration.
After taking photos and talking with them on a rooftop, April tries persuading her boss that these turtles are real she fires her; even her cameraman and secret admirer Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) does not believe it. From there she drives out to the estate of Erik Sacks, the former lab partner of April’s father who now runs a massive health company. Sacks tells her that their lab was destroyed, spoiling many months of hard work to find a mutagen cure for certain ailments. He assures April that things will come around eventually.
Once again though it is a disappointment to find the main Villian Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) can neither be taken seriously or even be seen as a threat. An inside informant tells him about the plan to send New York City into lockdown with a deadly virus. A suprise any active watcher knew was coming sooner or later.
By now you can hopefully see where the movie falls. Despite a lot of great action scenes which follow, including a wild trip down the side of a mountain there is very little actual excitement.
The turtle voice actors were simply fantastic. Every line was delivered with the same energy and enthusiasm as the previous one. Even Megan Fox turns in an alright performance, as does Will Arnett. But then there are flat performances from everyone else.
Many people were defending the film saying you can’t expect too much from it as this is a fun ride full of laughs. Not so. Batman, Superman and Ironman among others have been the forefront examples that cartoons and comic books can successfully be turned into well told, easy to watch films. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes up short because the journey was too predictable, too unexciting as well as too bizarre.