If you were a kid growing up in the ’90s it’s safe to assume that you liked the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Well things are a little different now.
I owned the movies, watched the cartoon religiously, had pretty much every toy imaginable, wore the pajamas and the light-up shoes from Payless, I celebrated another year of my life with a Ninja Turtles themed birthday, hell I even had the lunch box. Needless to say, I’m a huge fan of the franchise. That being said, this new Michael Bay produced reboot was not made for people like me.
Don’t take that as me saying that I disliked the film because I actually quite enjoyed it for what it is, and what it is is a way of introducing characters that my generation paved the way for to a whole new generation of kids that need a little more flair to keep them interested. Sometimes actual flares. Lens flares.
The film centers around April O’Neil (Megan Fox) as she tries to establish herself as a respectable journalist. After frequently putting herself in danger in hopes of finding her big story, she eventually gets held hostage in the subway by the Foot Clan, one of New York City’s most ruthless criminal groups. Ultimately she gets rescued by our beloved Turtles, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and for some strange reason the overly horny Michelangelo. They tell O’Neil to keep her mouth shut about what she saw, but of course she does the opposite and spends the next 15 minutes of the movie trying to convince everyone about the existence of 6-foot-tall talking vigilante mutant turtles that do karate.
The story moves along once April puts two and two together and links the Turtles to some old science experiments that she remembers her father doing before his passing. Dr. O’Neil and his partner Eric Sacks (William Fichtner) were developing some sort of mutagen and used turtles and a rat as test subjects. April manages to get in contact with Sacks who believes her story and comes to the conclusion that the mutagen from the old lab must have somehow turned their subjects into humanoids.
The Turtles then kidnap April O’Neil per Splinter, their master/father’s request and bring her down into their home, also known as the sewer. Splinter shares the story of how they’re all connected and how Eric Sacks really wants to use the mutagen and by that time the Foot Clan and their leader Shredder have tracked them down. A fight breaks out between the Turtles, Splinter, Shredder, and the Foot that ultimately leaves Splinter for dead, and leads to the capturing of Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo. It’s then up to Raphael, and April to find the other Turtles and stop Shredder before he has a chance to extract the mutagen from their veins with the intent of using it to infect all of New York City.
Director Jonathan Liebesman does his best Michael Bay impersonation with this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on steroids reboot. It’s full of over-the-top action sequences that sometimes might last a little longer than they should, cheesy one-liners, mediocre acting, a few easter eggs including a very well-placed nod to Arrested Development courtesy of Will Arnett, a goofy storyline, tons of product placement, and a Splinter that was quoted as being “too ugly” by our very own Marc Dorris. None of which can really be seen as a complaint though, as I can apply almost every one of those comments to the original films as well. It was fun to see the Turtles on the big screen again, and even more fun knowing that their legacy still lives on.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stars Megan Fox, Alan Ritchson, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard, Noel Fisher, Will Arnett, Danny Woodburn, William Fichtner, Tohoru Masamune, Whoopi Goldberg, and the voices of Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub. Written by Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, and Evan Daugherty. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman. In theaters now.