Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you will know that Michael Bay and I are best friends. You would also know from my social media accounts and the previous sentence, I can be a sarcastic knucklehead, as well. Yes, I’ve blamed Bay for ruining my childhood on numerous occasions with the Transformers franchise and I figured the same thing would happen again with the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. Luckily, the only difference now is that Bay is only producing TMNT, not directing, and boy does it show.

Turns out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a fun and campy ride helmed by director Jonathan Liebsman. Notice I used the words “fun” and “campy.” Please don’t go into this movie expecting serious cinema like The Dark Knight or a mind-blowing experience like Guardians of the Galaxy. TMNT isn’t trying to be that kind of film, nor should it be. The Turtles are supposed to be goofballs that will karate kick you into shell shock while earning some chuckles with clever one-liners.

That is exactly what you get with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A film any generation should be able to smile at. Plus, there’s a good deal of content Liebsman gets right with the Turtles. For one thing, they capture Michelangelo perfectly. The most popular turtle is a hard character to get right without making him too annoying, but TMNT gets the pizza loving, party dude just right.

We also get a different take on Splinter that reminded me of the first time we actually got to see Yoda show off his skills in Star Wars. Personally, I dug the focus on Raphael who was always my favorite rogue Ninja Turtle. Raphael brings a much-needed edge preventing TMNT from becoming a cute Saturday morning cartoon on film. The action scenes are a spectacle, which is exactly what you would expect from a film Bay is producing. I would say skip the 3D. It’s not worth the extra money.

What you don’t expect from a movie involving Michael Bay is the amount of laughs. TMNT actually has some nice moments of laughter which stays true to the Turtles from our past. The Turtle brothers were always a bunch of cut ups and this film mixes the giggles with the punches to the face quite well. I was expecting lame jokes, but turns out the Turtles have a nice funny bone.

Is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a perfect film? No. Megan Fox is pretty bad as April O’Neil and it looked as if Michael Bay had some notes for his director concerning the amount of chrome and flying knives Shredder should be equipped with. Unfortunately, Shredder is given zero character development. For the most part he’s just a guy the mutated heroes have a beef with. Still Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles kept me entertained and was much better than I expected it to be. I can imagine little boys between the ages of seven and thirteen will go nuts for this movie, which will bring a smile to parents’ faces, knowing they passed something down to their kids from their youth. Just don’t expect The Shawshank Redemption and you will enjoy the heroes in a half shell. Remember everybody, this is a kid’s movie at heart.

Overall, I just barely give Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 out of 4 cheesy, but charming stars.

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