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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)


No Vanilla Ice, no dice.

News reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) aspires to be more than just a soft-core journalist that has to cover stories about “staying in shape”, or “doing pilates”; she wants to make a difference, even if that said difference goes exactly against everything her editor (Whoopi Goldberg) stands for. That’s why, during her night of casually strolling around, she stumbles upon a possible story about a band of trusty superheroes saving the day from the almighty powerful and evil Shredder, April jumps right on it. Probably more so than she originally wanted to, because what she eventually finds out is that these so-called “superheroes” happen to be four life-sized, walking, talking, HGH-fueled, pizza-lovin’, witty, ass-kickin’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They take orders from their rat father (Master Splinter) and set out to save NYC from total mass destruction. This is when April and her level of expertise come into play when she finds out that wealthy businessman, and her deceased father’s old lab-partner, Eric Sacks (William Fichtner) is setting out to wipe out the Turtles, sell their blood, make lots of money, take over the world, and something else, too. Either way, it’s something bad that he wants and the Turtles won’t stand for it. Not as long as they’re still happenin’ and cool.

90’s nostalgia, man: It gets me every time.

That said, I was in no way looking forward to another re-boot of the TMNT franchise, especially one that’s come out twenty years after the fact. Sure, there was that 2007 animated-flick, but to a true Turtles fan like myself, it doesn’t count. What does count, however, are the life-sized, dudes-in-costumes Turtles that kicked ass, ate pizza, danced with Vanilla Ice (see link up top), and befriended Elias Koteas.

Aaaah!

Aaaah!

These new, and I guess, slightly improved, CGI-versions? Eh, not so much! But hey, I’m a guy who loves film and most of all, I like to be entertained. So yeah, it doesn’t really matter if somebody’s defecating on my childhood or not, as long as you’re fun, then I’m pleased! I may not be totally ecstatic beyond belief that you’re somewhat destroying any sense of childhood I may still hold onto, but I will at least take your hand, come off to never, never land and yes, maybe even crack a smile or two.

And even if Michael Bay does just so happen to have his greedy, numbly paws in it, I’ll still stay along for the ride. Because in the summer, that’s all you need: Fun. If you can add a certain layer of nostalgia, then yeah, it’s definitely a little bit better than something like, well, I don’t know, say the Transformers franchise.

But that said, this movie is not perfect in the least bit. For the most part, it can be kind of a mess that doesn’t know whether it wants to take its story, its characters, or even its whole universe seriously, or if it just wants to be one, long, running-gag about how these turtles cannot only just say goofy things, but can also drop new millennium references every so often, too. Most of that stems from the fact that Johnathan Liebesman isn’t a very good director, and more or less, seems like he’s just copying each and every trademark we’ve come to expect from a Michael Bay movie. That’s not to say that the humor borders on racist or downright misogynistic (okay, maybe more of the later), but it is to say that you have to wonder just where exactly they were trying to go with this tone at certain points.

Cause sometimes, it’s a light, fun and frothy movie that seems to be tailor-made for the next generation of kiddies who may not have a single clue what a Vanilla Ice is; but other times, it seems like the movie wants to be exactly like the Transformers franchise, except without any robots or side-boobage. Instead, we have humans, Asians and turtles, constantly kickin’ the crap out of one another, without any blood shown. Meaning, it’s an extremely violent PG-13 movie, which is strange considering that this mostly seems to be advertised towards the younger ones who will want to rope their adoring, yet miserable parents into going to see it.

Does that make it a bad movie? Nope, not at all. But does it make it a confused movie that doesn’t quite know where it wants to go, who it wants to be for, or where exactly it wants to land? Most definitely. And although I’m glad to see that Bay didn’t produce a movie that borders being downright offensive, I still wish that he got a more than credible enough director to carry-out a job that could have just been laid down to “impersonate me and my directorial-style”. Because, when you get right down to it, that’s exactly what this movie is: A Michael Bay movie.

For better, and also for worse. Take with that what you will, parents.

And considering that Bay does have more than a few fingers involved with this movie, it may seem totally strange that Megan Fox would even bother to be apart of another project of his (of course, with all things considering), but whatever the stipulations behind her appearance here may have been, I have to say, the gal’s fine as O’Neil. Sure, she’s a lot foxier (pun intended) than you’d expect an April O’Neil-type to look like, but Fox does fine with just delivering her lines in a charming manner, that lets us know that she’s not only in on the joke, but doesn’t want to be just laughed at and pointed at either. She’s a woman, dammit!

Putting the silverware to good use.

Putting the silverware to good use.

Same goes for Will Arnett, too (except for the woman part), who easily steals the show as her cameraman/side-kick/creepy-dude-who-constantly-wants-to-get-in-her-pants, Vernon Fenwick. He’s funny, sarcastic and seems perfectly-suitable for Bay’s strange sense of humor. And I think it’s pretty easy to know exactly what kind of character William Fichtner’s is going to turn out to be when he shows up, but, as usual with him, he’s fine at just playing him. He’s a dick, he knows it and he has some fun with it. Well, at least as much fun as one can have in a Michael Bay-ish movie.

Now, of course, I’ve saved the best aspect for the last, meaning that the main attraction most people are going to want to see and know all about are our titled-characters themselves: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And like you’ve probably fondly remembered them as being way back when in your childhood, each one has their own respective personality, to decipher which one is which – Michelangelo (or “Mikey”), is the stoner that says stuff like “brah” and other witty stuff; Leonardo, the leader, who takes control of the group when everybody and everything seems to get a bit too out-of-hand; Donatello, the nerd, who wears large bifocals over his head/face to remind you every so often; and Raphael, the team’s bad boy who always promises that whatever mission he’s on, is his “last one”, before he branches off on his own, presumably to become the owner of a major trust-fund for roided-out turtles or something.

Anyway, all of them, with the inclusion of everybody’s favorite, metaphor-dropping rodent, Master Splinter, are fine and as charming as you expect them to be. They’re one-note throughout the whole movie, sure, but for what they are (which is, a bunch of turtles who can talk and do stuff like you or I), they’re nice. They’re not insulting to anybody out there and they sure as hell can’t be categorized on which race they may, or may not be.

And yes, coming from a Michael Bay-ish movie, that means a whole heck of a lot.

Consensus: Inoffensive, short, fun and somewhat charming for the time its on screen, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles won’t have you remembering the good old days of the cartoons or previous movies, but it will have you entertained for a short time.

5.5 / 10 = Rental!!

BAG has got some major competition on his hands now.

BAG has got some major competition on his hands now.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbizGoggle Images

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22 responses to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

  1. Mr. Movie August 11, 2014 at 5:54 am

    Took you a while to get this one up, I was waiting to check out your thoughts seeing as TMNT doesn’t come out in Oz until September!

  2. Writer Loves Movies August 11, 2014 at 7:18 am

    I’m really not sure what to make of this one based on the trailer but it sounds like it might not be too bad. Nice review Dan.

  3. akshayravi August 11, 2014 at 8:33 am

    thanks for this review Dan..good one..

  4. davecrewe August 11, 2014 at 9:47 am

    GO NINJA GO NINJA GO

  5. angie chui August 11, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Thanks Dan, I have my reservations about this one because the new look of the turtles truly scare the living daylights out of me. I’ll see if nostalgia wins out in the end :D

  6. MovieManJackson August 11, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Yep, sounds like a rental. If it entertains just half of the time I’ll be fine with that, and it sounds like it does. Nice review Dan.

  7. Shawn Eastridge August 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    A colleague of mine mentioned that the movie is good “As long as you forget everything you’ve ever known about the Turtles!”

    …I’m confused as to how or why that would be good?

    – Shawndorman

  8. elina August 11, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    I love the shit out of the actor behind Mikey and that’s what I’m going to watch this for. I think you have too much history behind this film to truly enjoy it, though — which is not a problem for me as they never showed TMNT here when I was a kid. Really excited to explore those teenage mutant ninja turtles (it honestly gets better with every word haha).

  9. keith7198 August 11, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    “Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go”. That’s all I have to say about that.

  10. drakulus23 August 11, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Excellent review. I don’t think I want to go and watch this movie. I might wait for it to hit Netflix or come to blu ray. I just really don’t want to see Megan Fox on the big screen.

  11. apuffofjack August 11, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I am tempted to go see this, but I have very little nostalgia for the Turtles in the first place, and since ‘Pain and Gain’ I don’t ever want to watch anything that Michael Bay has dug his dirty little claws into. I’d rather spend my money on Guardians of the Galaxy….again.

  12. Kristin August 11, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    I think at best, I’ll rent this movie. Your review is really good, Dan, but I’m not sure if it can convince me to see another Transform – Ninja Turtles movie. Truly, if they hadn’t cast someone as weak an actor as Megan Fox, I’d be more interested in this. I was born in the late 80s, so I’m definitely a child of the 90s, and I have a lot of love for the Ninja Turtles. Unfortunately, I have a hard time knowing that Michael Bay got his hands on this. I think I’ll just settle with your review :)

  13. Chris August 11, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Nice review, Dan. This one wasn’t good, but still nowhere near as bad as I was expecting.

  14. denisareviews August 11, 2014 at 10:36 pm

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  15. denisareviews August 11, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    hey this is my new blog — thanks– https://theoneeyedreview.wordpress.com/

  16. imbrettscott August 11, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Hey Dan. Do you think this new Turtles deserves the 17 or so percent on Rotten Tomatoes? It sounds like it’s not great, but every review I’ve seen doesn’t hate on it. Do you trust Rotten Tomatoes’ scores, or are you more an IMDb or MetaCritic guy?

  17. moviestudio August 13, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Dan,
    Sad to hear that. I was expecting a total Michael Bay fireworks lightup, anyway thanks for sharing. Will be watching it soon. Hope it gets the childhood out of me. :-)
    Cheers!

  18. Mark Hobin August 15, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Why did they have to make the turtles so darn ugly? They looked like roided-up hulks…bleech.

  19. Alex James Maddison September 3, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Great review! Ive been reading your blog. I wouldn’t mind you checking mine out and letting me know what you think..

    its alexjamesmaddison.wordpress.con

    thanks

  20. Evan Crean September 6, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    This movie is just plain awful. It’s not directed by Michael Bay, but it might as well be considering it rips off all the worst trademarks of his style. I totally agree that it’s a confused movie that doesn’t know what it wants to be. When it’s frothy and cartoony it’s fun and really works well (like the elevator scene). But the rest is a total mess and I hate how the movie brings April O’Neill into their origin story. It’s unnecessary and stupid.

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