CGI and Overexplaining – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

For the kids, although I doubt they care.  An origins story that is similar to most superhero movies, this shows how everybody’s favorite turtles came to be.  Now I would like to preface this review by stating that I did not grow up with the turtles; the cartoon first came out on television when I was 1 year old, but I really wasn’t allowed to watch a whole lot of TV as a child, so I would like to think that I viewed this 2014 movie as objectively as possible.

wishbonesuitCome to think about it, in my youngest years, the only thing I really was allowed to watch on TV was Wishbone, which probably explains a lot about me.

Now I do understand that this property has a huge, rabid fan base, and Michael Bay has been catching serious shrapnel for this.  I almost feel guilty for defending the guy, as the only movie of his that I’ve ever felt passionately about is Pain & Gain, but this is really not his fault; it’s just his production company, Platinum Dunes, and it’s actually Jonathan Liebesman’s movie, but Bay is the biggest name tied to this, so I suppose it is his responsibility to take the bulk of the glory/blame that’s associated with whatever movies his company puts out.  I thought the trailers to this looked worse than the actual end product is, so at least it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it is still pretty mediocre.  There’s just something about the design of these mutated animals that is a little off, and you would think they would have learned from the live action movies from the 90’s where they featured actors in rubber suits.  They actually tease it for the first 20 minutes, and when they first hit the screen, it’s pretty jarring.

tmntI could talk about it, or I could just show you, and I think this picture speaks for itself.

This is not terrible, it’s just very much for kids; these four turtles are essentially stooges, and as characters, they are very broad, playing the nerd, the jock, the cut-up and the leader.  It’s very silly and lighthearted, and it’s more of a comedy aimed at kids than anything else.  I would say that it benefits from being well-paced, and there is a pretty cool action scene on a mountain towards the end that gives you a boost of adrenaline.  Where I deduct points is the need they felt to overexplain everything, and you get answers to questions that would have better to remain a mystery.  For example, do we really need to know why they have an affinity for pizza, or what sort of experiments were done on them as turtle children to make them the way that they are?  This is 90 minutes if you subtract the credits, and while it’s nowhere near as bad as it looks, I have the feeling that this will not resonate with the grown adults who look fondly back upon the cartoon.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) **1/2

– Critic for Hire

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