Saturday, November 07, 2015

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

April O'Neil: So, you're…Ninja Mutant Turtle Teenagers?
Donatello: When you put it like that, it sounds ridiculous!

It seems like everything I grew up with is being made (or remade) as a movie.  There’s supposed to be a new live-action He-Man movie.  Pee-Wee Herman is getting a new movie courtesy Netflix.  Star Trek has a reboot of the movie franchise and will apparently be getting a new TV series.  Even Battleship was made into a movie, and a somewhat decent one at that.  I guess it should come as no surprise that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was rebooted.  You get to use a proven idea on a whole new audience.

I don’t recall the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a kid.  I remember watching the show, but not regularly.  I wasn’t even sure I wanted to watch the new movie.  However, like a lot of movies I’ve seen recently, the fact that Netflix had it streaming played a big part in my decision.  I didn’t have to wait for the DVD to come by mail and I didn’t have to pay for it at Redbox.  I could watch it the first chance I had a few hours to spare.

The basic story is the same.  Four turtles are mutated and subsequently trained by a mutated rat.  The turtles are named for Renaissance artists:  Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Donatello.  (For some reason, the rat is called Splinter.)  A reporter named April O’Neil discovers their secret and helps them in fighting Shredder and his Foot Clan.

A good chunk of the movie is buildup.  We get to see how the Turtles (and Splinter) came from their humble beginnings in a lab experiment.  At a young age, they were dumped in the sewer and left to fend for themselves, which they did.  Splinter has always been protective of them, but the Turtles feel that they’re ready to go out and fight crime, being that they’re teenagers and all.  Enter Shredder and his Foot Clan.  Shredder is very evil and very powerful while the Turtles have very little practical experience of their own.  Ready or not, the Turtles have to step up.  Will they save the day and live to see a sequel?

Like the prior media, this movie is geared towards a younger audience.  I don’t recall much that would have been geared towards adults, but I don’t think most adults would be watching the clock.  I understand having to introduce the universe to a new audience and have April find the Turtles and all.   At least it was handled well.  If this is your first TMNT movie, I don‘t think anything will drag.

The second half does have some nice action sequences.  Being that they’re Ninja Turtles, this is to be expected.  My only complaint would be that they saved the one big battle for the end.  You’d think we’d get to see more fighting than we did.

There were a few scenes that I think were meant for 3-D.  I wonder how hard it would be to make a set of durable 3-D glasses that could be used for DVD rentals.  I’m thinking that the big obstacle is that 3-D movies are far enough between that people would lose them before using them a second time.  There’s also the issue of possibly needing to have a separate disc for the 3-D version.

It’s kind of hard for me to pan the movie.  For what it is, it was pretty good.  I doubt many people my age will be renting it for themselves, except out of curiosity like I did.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  (When you can get the movie streaming, it’s a lot easier to give it a try.)

I wondered if this was another case of someone trying to cash in on the name.  I don’t know that I’m far off.  There are a few throwaway references to the TV shows.   (Vernon Fenwick: So, they're heroes in a half shell?)  For the most part, though, it seems like the movie is trying to stand on its own ad set up a new franchise.  I’m not sure I’ll be sticking around for the sequels, though.

No comments :