Monday, August 11, 2014

What I Really Think: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

(Spoilers Ahead)

I’ve been a bit of a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles most of my life.  I liked the original cartoon as a kid, and have kept one eye on the property since then.  Trying to watch the new versions that have come out along the way.  The property has had low and hight points it’s entire life.  There most recent outing is…okay.  

Overall, I enjoyed the movie.  It was fun to watch in the moment but it’s certainly not a good movie.  There were some missed opportunities, and some interesting innovations.  This movie’s base is with the original cartoon.  This is unfortunate, because there have been a lot of interesting story innovations since then that I would’ve liked to have seen used.  

I liked that they connected to the turtle’s history to April’s own.  It’s an innovation that I’m surprised hadn’t been used before.  I’m still disappointed they didn’t find a proper redhead to paly April, but her yellow jacket was a nice node to the original yellow jumpsuit.  April’s O’Neil is one of the aspects that changes the most between TMNT incarnations.  And while I liked the new backstory, April herself wasn’t very interesting.  

The villains are a weak point as well.  The plan doesn’t make much sense, but I could excuse that.  What really pains me is seeing Shredder sidelined to boring side villain status.  His mecha armor wasn’t quite terrible, but it was really over the top.  One of the strengths of the TMNT story, especially over recent years, has been the dynamic and history between Splinter and Shredder.  There was none of that here, they were essentially strangers.  And that just left both of the characters feeling flat.  I really wished they would’ve played up that emotional connection between the two, it could’ve added a lot to the movie.  They didn’t need this whole plot to infect people and then cure them to make even more money. Money is not an interesting motivation for villains.  

The turtles themselves, I liked.  They all had the expected personalities and bounced off each other nicely.  I do feel like Donatello was underutilized though.  I liked the humor Michelangelo brought (as expected).  A little more character motivations and growth would’ve been nice, but as it was okay as-is.  

Overall, I enjoyed the movie.   I would be willing to see it again sometime.  But definitely not a high point for the franchise. 

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