a/perture Cinema, Amazon Prime, Disney, ILM, IMDb, Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm, Megan Fox, Michael Bay, Netflix, Rotten Tomatoes, Sheamus, Stephen Amell, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Less Desirables, TMNT, Tohoru Mesamune, Will Arnett, William Fitchner, WWE
a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), The Less Desirables Movie of the Week. It stars Megan Fox, Will Arnett and William Fitchner.
Per IMDb: “When a kingpin threatens New York City, a group of mutated turtle warriors must emerge from the shadows to protect their home.”
Ok, so let me say that there have been about 8 different versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles origin stories (that may or may not be an exaggeration). This is just the latest. Each have their own merits but to me, the original movie in 1990 version as it was still in the height of the original series created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. This film actually gives a fairly faithful, canonical story about the turtles and Splinter’s origin as well as their connection to Shredder, albeit stylized for a more updated feel. Also, about each of the origin stories have different scenarios where Shredder is trying to rule the world.
Michael Bay produced this film so you can figure there’s actually a shload of CGI happening. In 1990, there were costumes that made the turtles look encumbered, although the actors within made it somewhat believable. The updated version has actors who can move more freely and allow the CGI to create a more fluid visual. I think it works. The voice actors, some of which are also the actors doing the motion capture work, are more free to move about in this film and the fluidity is remarkable. The special effects and CGI were handled by Disney’s (Lucasfilm’s) Industrial Light & Magic or ILM. So, the same outfit that brings you all the Star Wars Magic also brings it here.
I hate that there was no Casey Jones character in this one, although he will be in the sequel coming out later this year and I believe he will be played by television’s Arrow actor, Stephen Amell. Also, in that sequel the WWE Superstar, Sheamus (Stephen Ferrelly) will play Rocksteady. Megan Fox’s April O’Neal was a surprise to many of the “purists” out there and co-creater Laird though someone else would have been better but he wasn’t raising a stink about it. I thought she did an okay job but she’s no Judith Hoag (1990 version). William Fitchner’s character, Eric Sacks, was a great heel. Yes, Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) is the actual bad guy but he needs help in the civilian world and what better than a criminal businessman? Anything that Fitchner’s in, no matter how ‘good’ he seems he is always turns out to be the bad guy; he just has that look.
So, I’ve eluded the basic plot. It’s classic TMNT fare, really: Sacks and April’s father were lab partners who were working on a mutagen to cure disease and all the research was destroyed in a fire, that killed April’s dad. In reality, Sacks and Shredder along with his Foot Clan are trying to put a virus through the city and the Turtle’s blood is the key to the cure. So, why not unleash a virus on the city via a large radio tower in NYC then offer them the cure at a substantial price? Well, why not? That’s about the gist of the story.
Rotten Tomatoes rates it a a very lowly 21% Fresh with an Audience Score of only 52%. The critics offer up the following consensus: “Neither entertaining enough to recommend nor remarkably awful, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may bear the distinction of being the dullest movie ever made about talking bipedal reptiles.” Ouch. IMDb has it at 5.9 stars out of 10. It’s obvious that it didn’t get a great critical response but it made some money. I think the only thing that really saved it for me was the history and knowing where the show came from and seeing where it has the capability to go. Also, I thought the personalities of the turtles were funny and pretty accurate. Tony Shahloub as Splinter? What’s not funny about that? Anywhat! I saw this on Amazon Prime because it wasn’t available on Netflix at the time. Again, really, it’s not at all a great film. It’s not even really a good film unless you’re a fan of the TMNT canon and in that case, this will at least be better than the parts II and III from the 90s (c’mon… Secret of the Ooze?). I’m rating it at 3 stars because I can’t go higher on this and I don’t have the heart to go under.
Have you seen it? What do you think? Let me know. Give me some recommendations for future reviews!
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“COWABUNGA!” – Michelangelo