The exciting action adventure ensemble of movies like Marvel’s The Avengers meets the silly, fun and comical misadventures of The Muppets in the new version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Full of tongue-in-cheek humor, great jeopardy, perilous action, and terrific character insights, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of the best-plotted popcorn movies in recent memory.
The beginning gives the back-story of the turtles and how they got to be humanoid without the usual didactic, long-winded openings in many fanciful stories. Quickly, the movie moves into high gear.
There is an evil gang called the Foot Clan Gang because they step over people while trying to take over New York City. A very ambitious young female reporter, April, wants to get out of doing fluff pieces for a local TV channel and into serious reporting. Her partner, Vern, who drives the TV truck, just wants to date her. April, however, wants to find out about the Foot Clan. In doing so, she sees this incredibly strong vigilante stopping an arms smuggling heist on the docks of the Big Apple.
While covering a police ball, she hears the wealthy Eric Sacks, who used to be her late father’s partner, discuss his goal of protecting and saving the city. When the Foot Clan holds some hostages in the subway, she tracks the vigilante, who turns out to be four six-foot-tall speaking turtles. When she says something like, “So, you’re teenagers who are mutant turtles who know ninja,” their reply is, “Well, that sounds awfully silly when you say it that way.”
Nobody believes April’s eyewitness story at the TV channel, so she goes to visit Sacks, who does believe her. April also tracks down old footage of her father experimenting on four turtles and a rat. Now, the game is on.
Eric asks April to find the mutant turtles. When she does, their mentor, Splinter, tells April that Eric is actually the villain. He also tells the four adolescents that April rescued them when Eric killed April’s father. Before you can say, “Cowabunga,” Eric’s evil legions come to capture the turtles and drain all their blood to get the mutant serum. One turtle escapes and teams up with April and Vern to rescue his brothers and stop the destruction of New York.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has some very funny moments, such as an elevator scene where the turtles start to play imaginary instruments to the elevator music, just like a bunch of teenagers would. The banter among the turtles and among the humans is funny. In fact, some of it is just laugh-out-loud enjoyable. Megan Fox can act (which is quite surprising) and doesn’t just rely on her natural attributes. At a press conference MOVIEGUIDE® attended, she said having actors on set to perform as the turtles helped immensely.
Some of the adventure scenes are classic filmmaking, such as a chase through the snow-covered hills in New York. In fact, the snow chase scene is probably the best action sequence of the whole year, not just the summer. Of course, if you examine the scenes too carefully, you could ask silly questions like, how could they survive. These questions would be just as silly as if asking if the mutant turtles are aliens. As April says, that would be absurd, because they’re turtles!
So, get over it. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is lowbrow but exciting entertainment with highbrow values. After some clunky action adventure movies, it’s nice to see a movie as well crafted and as clean as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There are some scary moments, however. Also, the menacing henchman called Shredder is a scary character. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for children, especially younger ones.
MPAA RATING: PG
RELEASE: August 8, 2014
TIME: 101 minutes
STARRING: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Danny Woodburn, Abby Elliott, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Minae Noji, Whoopi Goldberg
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Liebesman
PRODUCERS: Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller, Galen Walker, Scott Mednick, Ian Bryce
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Denis L. Stewart, Eric Crown, Napoleon Smith III, Jason T. Reed
WRITER: Josh Applebaum, André Nemec, Evan Daugherty
BASED ON COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS CREATED BY: Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird
DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount Pictures/Viacom
This movie review has been provided courtesy of MOVIEGUIDE®. For more movie reviews from a faith-friendly, family-friendly world view, visit www.movieguide.org.