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TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (review)

Review by Benn Robbins
Produced by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller, 
Galen Walker, Scott Mednick, Ian Bryce
Screenplay by Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, Evan Daugherty
Based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles  by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman
Directed by Jonathan Liebesman
Starring Megan Fox, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, 
Jeremy Howard, William Fichtner, Danny Woodburn, Will Arnett

First off I am going to say that this current incarnation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is EXACTLY what you would expect from Nickelodeon Movies. This is not as damning a statement as you might think.

Secondly, with all the brouhaha over the evil and soulless  Michael Bay being attached to this film, one must remember that he IS NOT DIRECTING this film. He is the producer.

Much like George Lucas in the 80’s, Bay has reached his fingers into his pockets and uses his influence to get films made.

I have three words for you.

Howard The Duck.

That film will forever go down in the annals of film history as a George Lucas fiasco. The truth being, however, that Howard’s true evil mastermind was Lucas protégés, Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz.

Who you say?

Why the writing team that brought us Best Defense with Dudley Moore and Eddie Murphy and both American Graffiti films (yes, there was a second one) and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

But I digress.

Michael Bay had about as much to do with this film as Spielberg did with the Transformers franchise. (Why yes, he DID produce those films)

So now that we have gotten that little bit of information and MIS-information, out of the way, let me say that TMNT is not a film made for me. Me being someone who grew up reading the newsprint black and white comic books of the early 1980’s.

This film is also not made for you late 80’s early 90’s kids who remember the old pizza ridden, cowabunga filled animated saturday morning cartoon and/or the live-action films with brilliant animatronics and puppetry of Jim Henson Studios.

Hell, this film isn’t even really for the few and far between fans of the very cool, I may add, 2007 CGI, fourth installment (which I loved BTW).

This film is for the current Nick Kids crowd. In fact the crowd I saw it with were about 75% children from the age of 5-12 and they LOVED IT. They were cheering, yelling and gasping, all at the appropriate times. Their parents, who were, to be fair, all about my age, chuckled at the “easter eggs” and nostalgia bits thrown in and were, overall, entertained.

The only spoilers I will reveal in this review are very important for you all to know going into this film so I am putting them all in bold type.

THEY ARE NOT ALIENS!

SHREDDER IS NOT SOME CRAZY ROBOT!

YES, PIZZA!

YES, COWABUNGA!

YES, RAPHAEL IS STILL THE BADASS!

YES TURTLE PARTY VAN!

YES, THEIR MOUTHS HAVE LIPS! (in that mouths have lips inherent in most any anatomy)

ALSO TURTLE POWER!

Did/will this film ruin the well loved 30-year old franchise?

I don’t think so. At least no more than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures published by Archie Comics back in 1988, based on the Saturday morning cartoon, did decades ago. (Yeah I am one of THOSE guys)

This film was basically everything you would want, story wise, from a TMNT movie. It hit all the major points you would want them to tell.

Yes, they re-vamped a portion of their origin by making them April O’Neil’s pets.

Totally unnecessary but definitely not a ruin worthy editorial choice. But at it’s basic core this is a TMNT movie. It was silly, stupid at parts, action packed, full of groan worthy dialog and mediocre, at best, acting. Not sure you remember those Henson live-action films but those films aren’t any kind of good once you take off the nostalgia tinted glasses.

So the big question, do I recommend this film? To this I give a very reserved, yes.

Most of you will think me crazy, or call me a Bay apologist.

I won’t lie. I LOVE Michael Bay.

He makes movies about explosions, fighting, yelling, destruction, sexy ladies, sexy dudes, fast cars, asteroids, Nicholas Cage, swearing Sean Connery, robots and robots fighting and exploding while being fast cars with hot ladies in them.

Do I recommend this film to people who are looking for their childhood wrapped up in a loving candy coated kiss?

Absolutely not. This film will be a steaming pile of turtle dung.

If you have kids who love the new Nickelodeon cartoon and you, yourself, have a fleeting nostalgic curiosity? Then yes.

It isn’t a GOOD movie by any stretch of the imagination.

It is, however fun and an adequate installment to the already varied and ever mutating franchise of “Heroes in a Half Shell”.

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