Andrews TMNT review
When you take a look at me it is quite apparent that I am a huge fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I love the TMNT so much so that I have dedicated my flesh to it with large sleeve tattoo. It takes a special kind of fan to give their body in such a way. I wear it proudly. I would be lying if I said that it was the most influential franchise in my life, because I am not sure what is, but it is one of the contenders. Like every kid who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s I was surrounded by the turtles. The cartoon, the movies, the toy lines were everything that a kid could ask for. I loved pizza because the turtles loved pizza. As I grew older and those things faded away I found other sources of Turtles related entertainment. The comic books followed shortly after by remake cartoon on Fox. The new cartoon had more serious tone, but was still undeniably meant to sell toys. Since that cartoon ended its successful run there was another brief turtleless period of time before Nickelodeon bought the property and launched their own version of the mythos. Again, aimed at children and meant to sell merchandise. A few years ago it was announced that paramount would be releasing a new live action film and that the turtles would be motion captured cgi. This drew some ire by older fans who still cherish the trilogy of their childhood. But in 2014 there is no room or need for constricting rubber suits when the digital age allows for the most lifelike cgi ever put on screen. The movie drew even more disdain when Michael Bay was announced as the producer and that Megan Fox would be playing April O’Neil. Rumors began to circulate the Bay was changing everything about the Turtles and even going so far as to make them aliens. The internet was abuzz and to quote Obi Wan kenobe you’ll never find a more vile collection of scum and Tierney.
Well this weekend the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debuted and made a cool 65 million dollars and took the number one spot. I am happy to report that 13 of those dollars came from my wallet. I will say from the start that the origin is changed, but it makes so much sense. I was once a comic elitist, and something like this would really annoy me, but the fact is I have already seen three iterations of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and three iterations of their original origin. It was a nice change of pace and plot it within the confines of this film it works.
There are so many late 20 something’s who put the original comics on to a pedestal and yes to an extent they should, but the one argument that I hear so often is that the Turtles were dark, and they want to see that original vision brought to life. Here’s why that’s really super dumb. Number one, the first film is one of the closest comic to screen adaptations ever made. That film is entirely the plot of the first issue of the comics. That’s right Shredder dies in the first issue of the comics. And the dark black and white tone didn’t last much longer. They didn’t even go ten issues before adopting the fun and light hearted personas that they have been known for for the last 30 years.
Another difference is April in the comics is a lab assistant and not a reporter. Funny how this never seems to come up when these people bitch and complain about cherishing the original comics. So now that all of that is out of the way I can focus on the remake.
Megan Fox is possibly the best April O’Neil ever put on screen. Let’s not pretend that this character is some Shakespearian example of character development. She’s well acted for the first time without any camp, and she’s wearing yellow. What else can you want? The Turtles are the stars and this film delivers on that as well. The turtles who are motion captured cgi do take a little getting used to and I think that is solely due to the fact that I am used to seeing them in their other iterations. After a few minutes I was able to see them as the turtles.
The plot moves pretty quickly and doesn’t slow down. Each turtle is featured and their personality appears effortlessly. The humor is still ever present, and at times really childish, but this is after all kids movie. The cgi was crisp and beautiful. Mainly shredders armor looked so shiny and lifelike, it was fantastic. The fight scenes and action sequences were awesome and just could not be achieved using men in rubber suits.
The ire that this film receives is from people who have only a feeling of nostalgia for this property. I quite enjoyed this movie for what it was. No it wasn’t the turtles that I remember, but it is the turtles that my daughter who sat next to me in the theater will remember. This was an opportunity to experience the turtles as I had never experienced them before, as a father. This isn’t the best film of the summer but it certainly is in the top 3. Due to its hugely successful opening weekend a sequel is already announced and I am quite excited to see where they go from here. For one I hope that Casey Jones and the Mousers are included. It would also be nice to see Beebop and Rocksteady in a live action film for once as well. Based on the tone and inclusion of the turtle van, I imagine all of these things as a possibility.
See this movie, and see with this movie without preconceived hatred and you will enjoy it.