Review in a Flash: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
Sometimes I’m too lazy for a full-out piece. Sometimes everything I’ve got to say about a film can be summarized in a sentence or two. Sometimes it’s both. So herewith, a quick-n-dirty on the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
Nutshell: Gotta give TMNT a solid B. It’s not fine art, but then anyone going to this film expecting that is loco en la cabeza. The turtles are amazingly lifelike, proving that the Academy will have to start realizing that acting is more than getting your ownself on screen. Not a great story, but what more is needed than Bad vs. Good in a movie like this?
Before: Oh man. I don’t know anything about TMNT beyond pizza, Cowabunga, turtles, a rat and nuclear sludge. What have I done? Bonus points for the theater being filled with very, very young kids. (sarcasm) Please let the shrieking be kept to a minimum. PLEASE.
During: Okay, the beginning credits scene does exposition better than I’ve seen in awhile, and on-par with other “it’s fun to learn!” starting expo scenes like World War Z and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Plus, the moving-drawings style of animation here is beautiful, a very bare-bones Sin City, and that’s a good thing. And while I’m enjoying the film well enough, I’m definitely not enjoying it as much as Pumped Dad sitting immediately behind me. Then again this fella is probably the target demo; a 30-something dude that most likely grew up watching the original cartoons. Dude is stoked. Meanwhile, in my brain I’m loving the banter between the teen turtles, the grimy but groovy art direction and the motion-capture, which is perfect. Megan Fox & Will Arnett are great straight-humans to the turtles’ amped shenanigans and seem to be enjoying themselves. Fox does seem to take a bit of time warming up to the whole emoting thing, but she seems to be getting the hang of things quickly.
After: Hey! This wasn’t too bad. Okay, it wasn’t as amazing as Pumped Dad thought it was, but perhaps that’s because I’m not the target demographic. As I’d expected, the film was short on plot but long on quality FX and fandom shout-outs, and it’s basic “turtles save the day from Shredder’s fiendish plot” ain’t nothing new. But man, that Shredder in full battle gear may be too much for very young kids, though I heard not so much as an indrawn breath from even the tiniest kids at the screening. Guess they were as sucked in as Pumped Dad. Loved the end credits song “Shell Shocked”, a crazy blender-on-frappé tune performed by Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa and Ty Dolla $ign. Woop! Psst: no post-credits scene here. Move along once you’ve gotten your fill of the credits jam.