62%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

An unnecessary reboot is strictly for fans only.

As New York City is being plagued by the lethally evil force known as the Foot Clan, young Channel 6 reporter April O’Neil (portrayed as Megan Fox by Megan Fox) finds out about a secret vigilante group that has been living in the sewers for the last fifteen years. With little proof, April needs to seek more information before her cameo boss Whoopi Goldberg can run the story. At the same time, she reunites with her deceased father’s old partner Eric Sachs, who has apparently been funding the NYPD with his riches that also afford a mansion filled memorabilia from his home country of Japan. Sachs is portrayed by William Fichter, who has already spilled the beans about signing on for two more movies in this franchise.

As April gets in way over her head as damsel reporters are wont to do, the title hero characters and their surrogate father Splinter the rat are finally revealed to the audience. Their origin story is slowly retold in pieces spaced (quite unnecessarily) over the course of the entire 100-minute film for yet another generation of toy collectors. When they learn of the Foot Clan’s association with a ninja master called The Shredder, they are ready to shell shock the competition with their warrior training coupled with adolescent humor.

For a fifth time in the Turtles’ 30 years of existence, a feature film brings to life another adventure for the pizza-loving green machine. Considering the farfetched concept of the idea that a mutagenic ooze would transform five animals into experts of eastern martial arts, it would be rather dismissive for an objective viewer to go into this film expecting Shakespearean art.

Yes, it is a very silly story that borrows a little too much of its plot and premise from The Amazing Spider-Man. Yes, one cannot help but make comparison to the 1990 New Line Cinema film of the same name. And yes, it is produced by Michael Bay, so all the hecklers of his work will put $12 toward the box office gross just to jeer at the explosions and overuse of extras.


Characters try a little too hard too break out of two-dimensionality. Splinter feels wasted, and there is barely enough screen time given to each of the turtles to get an objective viewer to even care about them. Shredder’s apprentice Karai is also easily forgotten. Whereas Foot Soldiers of past incarnations (including the cartoon robots) have had substance, these assault-rifle toting “warriors” are little more than, well, foot soldiers. Fight choreography (like most of the film) is very rushed, leaving little time to appreciate the action.

However, true blue (or should I say green?) fans of the lore created by Eastman and Laird will find many fun points to laugh along to. One in particular involves a joke regarding mutagen testing on rabbits, a nod to Usagi Yojimbo, who had a completely different spinoff life in the comic book world. There is a lot of throwback value strategically placed throughout the film, including popular quotes from the well known characters. Generally, these fans will look past the film’s many flaws to get enough enjoyment to elicit satisfaction.

Additionally, the costume designs are particularly well thought out. Although preference may always be given to the genius of the Jim Henson studios 24 years ago, the CGI motion-captured characters do have appreciable flare. The Shredder costume as well as Donatello’s gadgetry are very overblown, but still maintain their wow factor.

Last, but not least, there are several sequences that can be fun to watch for a first-time viewer or a child seeing these guys on the screen for the first time. A vehicle sequence on a snowy mountain makes for a very fun teamwork montage between the reptilian brothers. And the final boss-themed battle with Shredder does its best to bring to life that joy most of my generation got from watching this franchise as a cartoon on random mornings.

All in all, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has what its creators wanted it to have, even if it is quite over the top and completely nonsensical. The main characters are difficult to sympathize with and the wrong characters (like Will Arnett as April’s cameraman Vernon) are more memorable than the movie itself. But at the heart of it, this is still conceivable story for pretty much any vigilante hero, so why not spread the love to New York’s favorite pizza-loving sewer-dwellers? Keep the “Cowabunga”s coming, dudes, because your real fans will never allow you to let them down.

About The Author

Contributing Writer

Herbert M. Shaw began writing movie reviews for his high school newspaper and hasn't stopped since. In 2005, his radio program "The Shaw Report" was started with WCDB Albany 90.9 FM in Albany, New York, and lives on with online streaming at www.wcdbfm.com. In addition to film and TV reviews, Herbert also covers a variety of pop culture events surrounding technology, gaming, and the arts. He has covered every single New York Comic Con since 2006, and writes an annual Oscar prediction guide.