Here it is, the controversial Michael Bay-produced remake of the beloved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise! Is it just like any other Michael Bay flicks? Or is this one different, perhaps better? Find out.
The film is actually…… not bad. I can’t believe I just said that to a Michael Bay related movie. I mean each and every of his films, be it directed or produced only, always get negative reviews. And this one is no exception if you see Rotten Tomatoes’ rating. Since people have been bashing it primarily because of the designs, I went into the movie expecting to give it an Art of Shit rating for my review, but later and later it gets better.
Now that’s not to say that the movie is actually awesome. No, it’s understandable on why the low rating but my point is that I’m saying the movie is not bad is because it doesn’t deserve the intense hatred people have been giving it.
This is primarily because the movie is nothing more than an action-heavy Ninja Turtles flick, and because of that the plot is thin and the characters aren’t the best. Now, I will say what is the reason I will defend the movie: It’s a good adaptation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. It is different, but it’s still the same. It’s basically like RoboCop 2014, they’re going a different route while still having the same premise, hence the term reboot.
I said that because the movie has different origins than the original, but still retain elements of the franchise that we all know and love. The change is drastically different to the point that I feel like this is an alternate universe of the Turtles, if you remember Turtles Forever it showed other multiverses of the franchise, like the live action movies, the 1987 series and the 2003 series. And this is basically another one of it. It may be different but you will accept it.
Comparing this movie to other Bay movies let’s say, Transformers, they did a better job this time because the movie is called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and it’s really about the Ninja Turtles. Yeah, April O’Neil is the main character but they didn’t make it like the Transformers franchise where the humans are the protagonist and the Transformers are supporting characters. No, this time it’s both April and the Turtles are the protagonist. Kinda sucks but to me that’s an improvement especially for something that comes from Michael Bay.
And as such the Turtles here, even though they are ugly which I will talk, is represented faithfully to what we know and love. The Turtles retain their personalities, loves pizzas and still crack jokes, that’s what I appreciated on what they’re doing. And as for the Turtles’ performance, they are spot on. Johnny Knoxville playing Leonardo sounded EXACTLY like Jason Biggs, which is awesome since the CGI series is my primary focus on the show. Also, Alan Ritchson (who played Gloss in Hunger Games: Catching Fire) sounded a lot like Nolan North’s take on Raphael. It is way more serious than Sean Astin’s take which is fitting because the series is geared towards the children and this one is for the general audiences. As for Mikey and Donatello, they are different and okay, I just preferred the CGI series counterparts more.
Next is Megan Fox as April O’Neil. You know, seeing her in Transformers series gave me a boner mostly because I was 14 and was the target audience for Michael Bay for fueling my desire of seeing hot girls. But I grew up and realize that Megan Fox is a shitty actress despite getting pissed that she didn’t reprise her role in the third movie. And you know what? She is still NOT a good choice for April at all (my choice was Mao Ichimichi speaking English or Olivia Thirlby because she looks like April). And she is still a shitty actress. But you know what? She showed some SLIGHT improvement in her performance here. Slight. The thing is when she needs to act normally, she overacts and when they need her to give a facial expression, she looks emotionless and making pornstar facial expression. It’s a shame, I half liked her and half hated her (because I was her victim and also I realize that she is a shitty actress). But to be honest I would rather see someone else who can do the job better.
And then comes Splinter. He’s origins is also changed in the movie, and I don’t want to tell much but I’ll give you one tiny detail: he doesn’t have a Japanese accent. At first I was outraged but they explained it in the movie.
Let’s talk about the bad things of this movie because there are plenty. First is the notorious design of the Turtles. Maybe I was drunk or maybe Megan Fox charmed me, but I actually got used to the design later in the movie. But it’s still ugly as hell. The thing is they make it looked like ogres, and adds the nostrils and lips. Take a look at the design above thanks to this website, makes the Turtles look really, really good and, just really good! I mean imagine them making a Batman costume but without the ears or maybe do something significantly alters the cowl, it would be bad. They should just make it look like that. But the design takes some getting used to. I’m okay with Leo and Raph’s but Mikey basically looks like a fat kid.
Second: the plot. The plot is simplistic and the bad guy plan is just very, very stupid. Okay here’s what it is:William Fitchner’s character wants to release a toxin that will spread disease, and offer the government to use a mutagen that will cure it, and it will make him rich. I’m not kidding, he literally said it. Evil plans to be ritcher is just so dated cliche, it’s really bad. At that point I realized that the movie, while darker it’s still geared towards kids. Because they also included fart jokes. And speaking of William Fitchner, I don’t want to say anything because of spoilers, just watch the movie.
If the villain plans are stupid, then look at the villains. While Fitchner is doing his job perfectly, that’s not to say his character is good, it’s so bad it’s generic and one dimensional. And the bad guys are reduced to mere punching bags and video game bosses. I mean the Foot are reduced to soldiers which that, I will say is a huge slap to the face, and Karai is just a right hand woman! She’s just there to have more female characters and commands the army. That’s it. And as for Shredd- I’m sorry I mean Mecha-Shredder, he’s just that video game boss like they did in the Underworld Awakening. Unlike the usual Shredder that provides a though challenge to the Turtles, he’s just there without giving the Turtles any real beating not just physically but mentally as well. That’s what makes Shredder awesome and this one didn’t utilize it. They were probably saving that for the sequel.
But needless to say, the movie excels in its action scenes because it is an action flick. While Shredder is just that guy who wants to fuck things up, but when he fights man it is awesome! Yeah, the blades thing is toyetic but I especially loved the way he moves. it’s so fluid and intense. And not to mention that the Turtles fought well too. Also, the majority of the action takes place on daylight which is great because I hated it when it’s dark, it’s dark that you can only see the action by blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment.
Overall Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is two things. First it’s a faithful but different adaptation of the beloved series, and it actually does it justice, to the Turtles at least because the bad guys are treated poorly. Second, this is a Michael Bay flick even though it’s not directed by him. Thus, the film primarily excels in its thankfully terrific action sequences, but as usual suffered by thin plot. So going to the movie, you have to be a TMNT fan to enjoy the movie or otherwise you will hate it because it’s a Michael Bay flick. As for me I enjoyed it way more than Transformers: Age of Extinction.
In that case Teenage Mutant Ninja Turltes (2014) is surprisingly a Good Ol’Popcorn Movie!