For the past few months, fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been blasting producer Michael Bay and director Jonathon Liebesman about their reboot of the popular franchise. While a lot of the comic purists cringe at the thought of Bay heading another unnecessary reboot, the outcome is actually pretty enjoyable.
Lieberman’s TMNT is very different from the first film, which is nearly 25 years old. While the original film stuck to the comic for the most part, the 2014 version has nearly a brand new take on the turtles. Liebesman and Bay change up how the turtles were created, as well as their look. I think this is what pissed fans off the most. Those who worry that the film might try to portray the turtles as aliens, fear not, as there is even a joke about it in the film.
As the film opens, the Turtles are still in training, but have been sneaking out to fight the Foot Clan. April O’Neil is a television reporter, trying to land a major story. She just happens to stumble upon the Clan committing a crime one night. That’s where she first sees the turtles. O’Neil then turns to family friend Eric Sacks, played by William Fichtner, to try to figure out where the Turtles came from. It just so happens that Sacks has a secret alliance with Shredder. It’s now up to O’Neil and the Turtles to try to thwart Sacks’ and Shredder’s plan to destroy New York.
So, what did and did not work in the film? While the origin of the turtles is not true to the comic, I personally felt it worked well, tying in with April O’Neil’s character. The Clan is also different, as it’s more like a military faction, rather than ninjas. But, I had no problem with this either, as it seems more realistic in this day and age of our world, than a bunch of ninjas running around committing crimes. The look of the turtles, while criticized by many, really worked for me in the actual film. They came across as larger than life figures, which they are. I really liked the look for Shredder as well. Megan Fox was effective as April O’Neil. She does a much better job in TMNT than she ever did in Transformers. Will Arnett’s character, Vern, was good for what it was. He provided a bit of comic relief. Speaking of comic relief, Michelangelo was the funniest of the turtles. He has a number of great one-liners in the film. There are also a number of references to the cartoon to watch and listen for. As for the voices of the Turtles, this may be one of my only gripes. I thought Donatello’s voice was a bit annoying and childish. The rest were fine, especially Johnny Knoxville as Leonardo. The action scenes were very well done. The action sequence on the snow-covered mountain is pretty damn cool to see.
TMNT was a very enjoyable film, for fans of all ages. I think the older fans of the Turtles can still enjoy the film, even though it may not be true to the comic or cartoons of the past. Younger fans will enjoy the film as well, due to its fast-paced action scenes, and the likableness of the Turtles themselves.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gets a B.