Micheal Bay follows up his summer blockbuster Transformers: Age of Extinction with a modern take on the beloved TMNT franchise. It’s no surprise that many long-time fans of the turtles have been apprehensive about Bay’s take on their cherished, childhood memories. Though Bay’s influence is seen throughout this film, Jonathan Liebesman takes the lead as the films director. Several people I know were not sure whether or not to make the trip to see this film. While it’s not a particularly great, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has some redeeming qualities that may even place it a step above Age of Extinction, in my opinion.
The film deviates from the original storyline a bit while retaining enough of the traditional material to satisfy most audiences. The former pets of April O’Neil are transformed by a mysterious mutagen, and thus the mutant turtles are born. With the help of their adoptive father – Master Splinter – the boys are trained in the art of ninjutsu and learn to never roam the world above. This is all basic information when having a discussion about this topic, and that’s about how deep the plot is.. which means it isn’t very deep at all. What you see is what you get, which sadly means that the film’s story is extremely shallow. However, adults such as myself should keep in mind that this is really a kids movie. I felt that I got what I paid for, a modern origin story about these mutant turtles and their battle against the big, bad Shredder.
Speaking of the villain, the new-and-improved Shredder was a really impressive take on the turtles’ nemesis. The Shredder suit was modified to be almost completely robotic, with the ability to not only shoot multiple knives at the turtles but also a magnetized arm to pull them back. One-on-one, the turtles didn’t stand a chance against this menacing foe. Instead, they worked together as a joint force to take down the Foot Clan’s leader. Probably the film’s most redeeming quality was the over-exaggerated personalities of the turtles. Raphael was the obvious tough one, Leo the leader, Donatello the super-nerd, and Michelangelo the hilarious wise-guy. Though many adults, and critics of the film, will hate on the film due to these flamboyant characters. Still, it’s the chemistry between these four that really makes the movie enjoyable and funny.
TMNT won’t be heralded as one of 2014’s best, but you’ll get what you paid for: an action-packed movie with laughs, and some heart. Catch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at a theatre near you, and leave your thoughts in the comments down below!