"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" Review

If you’re of my generation or older you remember going to the theater twenty four years ago to see the original turtles movie. If you’re anything like me you had the pajamas, action figures, halloween costume and more as a kid. So how does the new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” stack up? Well, if you’re going to see the movie with the next generation (your kids) they’re going to love it, but “us adults” won’t be fooled!

April O’Neil (Megan Fox) is a determined investigative reporter who wants her first big break. Tired of doing puff pieces for her network, she goes after the biggest problem in New York, the Foot Clan. The Clan is a group of gun totting militia that seems to be invincible except for the fact that some of their crimes have recently been thwarted. As April pushes her way into dangerous situations she shouldn’t be in, she finds out that the “vigilantes” (is this a Charles Bronson film?) doing the crime stopping are turtles.

The film is all about the teenage turtles taking their first steps out of the shadows and becoming the unsung saviors of New York. Donatello (Jeremy Howard), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), and Leonardo (Johnny Knoxville) all fit a certain personality type: the smart one, the arrogant one, the party dude, and the leader respectively. As the story moves forward they find out that the mastermind behind the Foot Clan, Shredder (Tohoru Masamune), has aligned himself with industrialist Eric Sacks (William Fichtner) with a plot to devastate the masses. So it’s up to the gang to derail their intentions.

As long as the turtles are on screen, it’s a fun time. Writers Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec, and Evan Daugherty nailed the tone as far as the bond of teenage brothers having fun fighting while telling light hearted jokes. I thought the CG turtles would be a scary distraction, but director Jonathan Liebesman purposefully, slowly reveals the new look so that you are able to settle in comfortably. Unlike Jim Henson’s 1990 practical creations, the turtles do things that are hard to follow visually at times with frenetic camera work. However, with the CG turtles we’re given bullet proof and super strong heroes in a half shell, which I think worked for the reboot.

Megan Fox was seriously miscast as April O’Neil. First, her acting ability and range is limited and it shows in the film. Second, it’s hard to take her seriously when she wears a bike helmet with pink stickers on it (childlike), everyone around her comments repeatedly on how hot she is, there is a gratuitous shot of her buttocks for us to gawk at during the height of an action scene, and she does some of the most annoying screaming that seems like it was a nightmare for the sound mixer. So with her sadly being objectified and her limited dramatic skills, it pulled me out of the film numerous times when she received the “Weeds” treatment as the beautiful girl in dangerous situations, making dumb decisions, but still making it to the end of the movie because of the wonderful men and mutants that come to her rescue. Excuse me as I throw up.

There’s no denying that there will likely be another installment in this long lived franchise. If they can work on the story, and get rid of Megan Fox I think the next one will be even more enjoyable. If you don’t have to take your kids this weekend, I’d suggest waiting to see this on DVD rather then shelling out dough (see what I did there?). If you’re exposing the next generation to the film, have fun building new memories while reminiscing!

Rating: C

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Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.