MOVIE REVIEW: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

By Patricia Hului


THE CITY OF NEW YORK HAS has been terrorized so many times: it was destroyed by a zombie apocalypse in ‘I Am Legend’, caught in the battle of superheroes and supervillains in ‘The Avengers’, even destroyed by tsunami and ice age in ‘The Day After Tomorrow’.



Once again, the Big Apple has to suffer through another ordeal when Shredder and the Foot Clan try to take over the city in Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT).

In an effort to make you relive your childhood memories, Nickelodeon Movies and Michael Bay’s production company Platinum Dunes brings to you mutated reptiles in a film reboot.

I’m a late 80s baby living in Malaysia, and the only source of TV channels that featured Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back then was TV2.

I have a vague memory of the cartoon version and all I can remember is the soundtrack’s repetitive and catchy chorus: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… Turtles in a half-shell…” You get my drift.

So my judgement of the film is as not fierce as those who lived and breathed the cartoons as a kid.

This reboot of TMNT starts with a partly reimagined origin story of the reptilian heroes, their Master Splinter, their relationship to O’Neil amidst their battle against Shredder and his Foot Clan.

First, I think they should have renamed the movie ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with April O’Neil’ because O’Neil, played by a long-haired brunette with slightly reddish undertone Megan Fox, dominated at least half of the screen time.

What is a movie starring Fox without some sexual innuendos? Fox jumping on a trampoline wearing a tight outfit or her leaning out a truck window displaying her rear end to her colleague Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnet)’s admiration are scenes that harvested on Fox’s bombshell image.
The young journalist part of me was cringing in embarrassment as I watched her trying to convince her boss, Bernadette Thompson (Whoopi Goldberg) on the turtles’ existence without having solid proof.

That is a big no-no in real life but I guess Fox does what the script requires her to do: be an obsessive-and-without-common-sense journalist.

Without prior knowledge of the cartoons, it is hard to get which turtle is which in the movie because little effort was done to differentiate the turtles’ characters.

For me, all I could get was the angry Raphael, tech-savvy Donatello, playful and funny Michelangelo, and unmemorable Leonardo.

For die-hard fans of TMNT, watch how Hollywood ruins your childhood memories.

The problem with bringing any adult’s childhood heroes to the big screen is trying to satisfy every version of the audience’s memories of the cartoons.

This version of the TMNT does not do well in the satisfying department. A few witty lines here and there from Michelangelo however, could garner a new generation of followers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Plus it is a Michael Bay-produced movie, so be ready for flying vehicles and robotic action. Even Shredder’s rebooted image looks more Transformer-ish.

Action scenes-wise, as the camera rolls from the foursome’s point of view jumping from one building to another in their ninja ways, it kind of reminds me of a Spiderman movie.

What sets this movie apart in terms of action are the fighting scenes as TMNT roll down a snowy hill escaping from the Foot Clan in vehicles just as you see in the trailers.

Well, that is an original.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (2014)
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Starring: Megan Fox, Johnny Knoxville, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, Danny Woodburn, Tony Shalhoub, William Fichtner and Will Arnett.
Rating: PG-13
Running time: 101 minutes.

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