Movie Reviews

Published on August 8th, 2014 | by Joseph Saulnier


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Here are the opinions of two of our contributors. First, let’s hear from Joseph Saulnier.

I’m kind of like everyone else out there. I grew up with the Ninja Turtles. I loved the cartoons, the comics and most of all the toys. I remember the pizza shooter. Boy, did I get into some trouble with that. When the movie came out in 1990, I begged and begged by father to take me to it until he finally did. I loved that movie! And while it may not for most, it still hold up for me today.

I wish that I could speak with as much enthusiasm about 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The truth is, as I sat there and watched I found myself shaking my head “no” more often than not over the course of the hour and a half. My worst fears for the movie came true, and I am ashamed of what this may do to the franchise. And be warned, there are most definitely spoilers ahead.

TMNT is about a “gang” called the Foot Clan, who are robbing chemical shipments, banks and all sorts of places in New York City. April O’Neil, a local news reporter, is looking to make a big break and thinks she may have found it as she happens upon a robbery in progress by the Foot Clan. But before she could any good pictures or footage, mysterious vigilantes show up and save the day. This leads her to investigate and find out that none other than our favorite heroes in the half shell are said vigilantes. We find out that the partner of Shredder, the head of the Foot Clan, was running experiments using a chemical compound not of this world. They were injecting, you guessed it, four turtles and a rat. Now the turtles must stop the Foot Clan from carrying out there ultimate plan, which leads us to a final showdown between our heroes and Shredder.

First off, bad move changing the origin story like that. A mutagen made from an alien compound? It totally lacks credibility especially as it is only slight referenced in one scene, and then never spoken of again. Plus, losing “the ooze” origin totally closes doors (though maybe not all the way) on other characters in the TMNT universe (i.e. BeBop and Rocksteady). It’s just really lame to see them veer away from what was tried and true.

The turtles themselves, their new look actually grew on me. I think that some of the accessories may have been a little overboard, but the basics were there. I especially liked that the bandanas weren’t identical. However, the look is where it ended for me. I do not think that they cast the voices right. It just didn’t sound like they are supposed to sound. We’ve had the iconic voices from animated series to the old series of movies that just stand out. I didn’t get that here.

Also, I just don’t get the deal with Megan Fox. I get that some guys find her attractive, but that doesn’t mean she can act. She was the absolute worst choice for April O’Neil. She just didn’t look the part. Maybe Michael Bay was trying to prove a point about the rumors going around for why she wasn’t in Transformers 3. Will Arnett, however, did an excellent job as Vern Fenwick, O’Neil’s camera man. He had some great comedic timing and relief from the action sequences.

If you ask me, they showed Shredder’s face way too early in the movie. And then they way overdid him, right off the get go. Shredder was a formidable foe because of his cunningness and martial arts expertise. But ladies and gentleman, they introduce Super Shredder almost immediately off the bat. Or, as I like to call him in this film, Swiss Army Shredder. He looked like a freaking Transformer, in the worst way.  I swear I even heard the Transformer sound when he jumped and landed one time. They way, way over did it. I know, I’ve already said this. But it seems to be a theme of the night.

I walked out of the film wishing I had never agreed to do this. Unfortunately, though, someone’s got to take one for the team. And if it means that I can warn others, than I am glad to have done it. The movie was entirely bad; there were a couple of funny moments. It just saddens me to think that this will be some people’s first exposure to what was always such an awesome universe. I will most definitely not be picking this up on Blu-ray. I will, however, be watching 1990’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Now, I understand that some of you may see me as being a fan boy obsessing over nostalgia. But if you have read any of my reviews, you know that I always am kinder and look for the entertainment value of movies. This movie just made me sad. But if you don’t believe me, or doubt my opinion… go check it out. You’ll wish you hadn’t.

1 out of 5 Stars



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

by A 12 year old boy from 1989

This Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) review is written in two parts; the first part will be a general review with no spoilers and the second will be very specific with some spoilers. Simple enough, right?

Part 1 – Just give me a basic review of the movie with no spoilers…

This movie rehashes one of my (and many many others) favorite childhood comic books, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It runs about an hour and forty minutes and is pretty well paced. It will hold the attention of a 12 year old and is not violent or bloody.

In other words Rafael does not shank a Foot soldier in the gut and then bathe in the spewing blood.

The turtles with the sharp weapons are seen slashing at their foes which go down quickly, but it’s not stabbing… or cutting. It looks like a glancing blow at best and this of course keeps it kid friendly. Also the turtles use hand to hand combat more than their weapons in this movie. I didn’t find it distracting as I was used to this in my childhood turtle live action movies as well.

Splinter (their rat teacher) comes off as creepy and a little gross. I would say they were going for realism but I’ve had rats before… they don’t look like that. My real ones looked more like the Pixar version than whatever breed of rat Splinter was.

Shredder was more like Megatron from Transformers than a stealth ninja warrior and fans of the current Nickelodeon TMNT series will see a watered down version of Kurai that will really let you down.

Overall I would say that for the average movie goer this will be a fun last summer action movie hurrah, with a lot of stuff blowing up or crashing into each other. Some of the action sequences were pretty impressive in 3-D like the downhill snow slide fight you’ve seen in the trailers. But for the record I’m so over 3-D and I would have chosen 2-D had I been given a choice.

2.5 out of 5

Part 2 – Okay, now tell me what you really think as a TMNT fan and I don’t care if you have a few minor spoilers…

F YOU MICHAEL BAY!!! OMG how do you mess up Splinter THAT badly?! You are telling me he’s just a regular rat that randomly finds a kung fu book in the sewer and then decides to teach his over active child turtle boys Nin-Jitsu?!?!! HOLY HELL you are ruining my life! And why does Splinter look and sound like as if a child molester was fused with a rat?!

There is a template for Splinter man! Calm, classic, sensei persona, deeper commanding voice and a rat that doesn’t look like it has aids and is forbidden by the courts from coming within 1000 feet of a Chuck E Cheese!

And while we are talking about you TOTALLY ruining characters, why did you turn your crappy version of Megatron into the Shredder?!?! He’s a NINJA… not freaking Robocop. I get that the Shredder has some metal armor but you went full bore on that idea. I want to see that ninja sneak up on ANYONE.

So glad you went subtle with the outfit. I’m still blind from the sun glaring off of 400 lbs of sterling silver!

They also must have edited out a lot of the Rafael angst as not being a leader or on his own, because there is a 2 minute scene where he expresses these sentiments and then at the end of the movie he’s deeply apologizing for always doing that. What the hell? If you are going to have a climatic emotional moment with a CGI turtle then you need to invest more than 2 minutes of a side note earlier in the movie for there to be a pay off!

I will admit that I really did not want to like Megan Fox as April purely based on her lack of red hair, but she seems to have figured out that she doesn’t have to do the Zoolander face in every second of every movie she is in and wasn’t that bad.

I actually thought they did the turtles really well. I love Michelangelo and this incarnation of him was right on point. I would say the same for the other three as well. The movie stayed true to their historical character traits for the most part so I was happy about that. The elevator scene is SO money!

But there’s the problem… What they stayed true to canon felt and looked right! What Michael Bay tried to take and make in his own vision honestly just sucked…

I like when an artist takes a classic song, reboots it and makes it his or her own. When done right it’s a fresh take by a talented artist on something that is already great.

But Michael Bay is not an artist. He creates movies with clubbed, explosive hands; not the artistic, graceful hands of a Michelangelo. And for that Mr. Bay, I will never trust you with my childhood heroes.

-1000 out of 5

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