I will admit to being one who is willing to downplay the intelligence of summer films for the entertainment they bring. With that being said, there is still no excuse to sacrifice quality. The Michael Bay-produced “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reboot is an example of this sacrifice.
Starting off with a comic stream detailing the turtles growth and development into ninjas, the film picks up with April O’Neil(Megan Fox), a reporter who aspires to more than fluff stories. Following up on her leads on a story involving the Foot Clan, April encounters the clan and discovers a potential vigilante fighting back against the crime group. When she soon realizes the vigilantes are in fact the eponymous turtles, she discovers a connection to her own past and nefarious plans by the Shredder and Eric Sacks. With her cameraman Verne(Will Arnett playing the puppy love interest), April and the turtles take on Shredder before he can implement his plans.
Barring one inspired scene when the heroes and villains are flying down a snowy mountain side, the whole movie focuses on now cliché tropes of the blockbuster machine like magic blood and “grounded” reasoning for events(sorry, no toxic goo). The effects that make up the entirety of this film are rather impressive, even if the turtles still retain that rubbery look of previous live action attempts, and the contents of the film are clearly sacrificed for the benefit of a larger effects budget. The only saving grace for this film is the personalities of the turtles. While it is hard to differentiate them, save for the coloring of their masks, they each retain some aspect of the personality from the comics and shows. Michelangelo was once again the star of the TMNT show, with one-liners, pop culture references and attempts at witticism providing enough laughs to make this a somewhat bearable experience for anyone over the age of 13. Those going for the sake of nostalgia are either going to love or hate this film, and whether it captures the feel of the original films and show or not will be up to the individual.
This was in no way a great film, but neither should it be relegated to the failure zone like last summers “R.I.P.D.,” which was abysmal both in script and effects. The definition of a dumb summer blockbuster, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is a C effort with the best of them: meeting, but not exceeding expectations. Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence with a runtime of 101 minutes, this is a movie to take the kids to on a too hot summer day, but not something that will live past its box office run.