Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

856118c8610e45827078b86cbe164263It’s pretty sad to see “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which understands the idea of dysfunctional warriors coming together for a common purpose and becoming heroes, while “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” gets it so wrong. Speaking as a fan of the TMNT franchise, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” not only gets it all wrong, but it accomplishes what not even the worst adaptations could in the past. It turns the Ninja Turtles in to generic heroes with almost no personality. Beyond Michelangelo, no one in the film has an actual unique personality I could think of. Director Jonathan Liebesman and Platinum Dumbs take the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” in to a whole new arena of bland, lifeless, nonsense. What’s pretty much always been a franchise meant to sell merchandise for decades, becomes even more

Director Jonathan Liebesman and Platinum Dumbs take the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” in to a whole new arena of bland, lifeless, nonsense. What’s pretty much always been a franchise meant to sell merchandise for decades, becomes even more soulless than ever. In this unnecessary rehashing, April is a fluff news reporter anxious to be taken seriously, so she begins investigating the foot clan and their reign of crime. During an investigation, she’s taken hostage, and witnesses the Ninja Turtles bring down a troop of the Foot Clan.

Despite being ninjas, April is able to follow them and sneak up on them, prompting her discovery of the four anthropomorphic turtles, all of whom are committed to fighting crime. After meeting them and their master Splinter, an anthropomorphic rat with knowledge of martial arts, the turtles are kidnapped. Apparently the turtles have magic blood, and the Foot want to spread a lethal plague across New York, synthesize the turtles’ mutagen blood as a cure, and sell it to the US government for big profits.

If you can believe it, Shredder is awkwardly shoe horned in to the movie, never really doing much but confronting and taunting the turtles, and donning robotic armor that looks like the Foot strip mined a Decepticon and used its parts for a suit. The Shreddertron 3000 is also turned in to a generic foe; it’s quite obvious the script was hastily retooled to turn Shredder and Sacks (William Fichtner) in to separate characters. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” completely re-writes the entire mythos for the sake of propping up future installments, and selling toys, never actually touching on what’s so much fun about these characters.

Splinter now becomes a martial arts master because he read a book, the turtles were once pets of April, and for some reason the turtles now look like dinosaurs. With the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, there’s always been that thin line that separates them from being moronic creations, and fun underdog superheroes, and Liebesman seems to want to embrace both sides of the coin. He mocks the characters for the adult audience, while giving them their own moments of martial arts bad assery for the sake of the kids. He also throws in a fart joke, and an honest to goodness erection joke. Shredder is barely the villain of this piece, the foot clan is generic soldiers, and (for the sole reason of Megan Fox’s sex appeal) April O’Neill is now the main character. Not to mention the entire reasoning for the turtles existing. It’s disheartening that a movie about “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” takes almost twenty minutes until we see the foursome. Even then they’re really just nothing but plot devices for April confronting her tortured past, and becoming an actual news reporter.

Not to mention the entire reasoning for the turtles existing. It’s disheartening that a movie about “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” takes almost twenty minutes until we see the foursome. Even then they’re really just nothing but plot devices for April confronting her tortured past, and becoming an actual news reporter. The movie relies on Megan Fox reacting and interacting with the turtles, and that’s a travesty considering Fox’s performance is god awful. It’s cringe inducing how she can barely deliver a worthwhile line of dialogue convincingly, and never seems at all lifelike in the role. April should be a foil, and unofficial part of the team, and yet she’s really just this pouty cardboard cut out who barely has any kind of chemistry with the computer animated mutants.

April should be a foil, and unofficial part of the team, and yet she’s really just this pouty cardboard cut out who barely has any kind of chemistry with the computer animated mutants. April should be a foil, and unofficial part of the team, and yet she’s really just this pouty cardboard cut out who barely has any kind of chemistry with the computer animated mutants. There are glimmers of fun moments between the team which include an impromptu beat box session in an elevator, and Raphael’s conflict with Leonardo. I wanted so much more of that. Instead all we get is another loud, obnoxious, ninety minute commercial with no grasp on what makes the source material it’s adapting so appealing.