Oh, Michael Bay. First you ruin modern horror films. Then, you ruin a toy line from the 80s four times now. And now, you’re getting flack for taking a beloved comic book/cartoon, also from the 80s, and making it into a more realistic film. That property being “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, an idea so stupid, it worked. Now with this modern retelling, how has Bay screwed this one up? The answer: not really. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” from Michael Bay definitely strays from its source material, but, it’s fun nonetheless.
The story involves a reporter named April O’Neil (Megan Fox) who discovers four genetically altered turtles who are named after the Italian Renaissance masters trying to stop a a businessman and a robot named Shredder from destroying New York.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is technically a bad film. So, let’s get the negative aspects out of the way first. First off: the story. Based on the comic by Eastman and Laird, the film adaptation does a terrible job at providing the backstory for our main heroes, as well as a generic plot that we have seen before. But, hey, it’s a popcorn flick, so what? The cast is all right, but nothing to spectacular. Especially from Fox who plays one of the most well-known damsels in distress. Another gripe is that the filmmakers totally forgot to include one of the most popular characters from the comic: Casey Jones. It would have been much better than Vernon Fenwick played by Will Arnett. Speaking of characters, don’t even get me started on Shredder; just don’t. The camera work in the film is horrible, as there are constant helicopter shots throughout the majority of the film. But what really kills the movie is the actual character designs.
Where do I begin? Well, instead of a cartoonish design for the turtles, we get a more realistic approach for them. The end result is really, really, really creepy. The turtles are so realistic, it makes the animated cartoon from the 1980s look like a masterpiece by comparison. Even Splinter, the turtles master, who is a talking rat, looks ugly when compared to his comic book counterpart. While it looks cool, the end result is a bad mess that could have gone better in the early stages of production.
But with that being said, there are some good things about the movie. The direction isn’t that bad. Speaking of which, Michael Bay is only serving as producer for the film. Hmm, I wonder why? But all joking aside, Jonathan Liebesman did a good job at handling the entire production. As stated before, the effects are good to look at; ILM did a great job at providing a nice atmosphere to the movie. But it’s mostly eye candy to keep young boys entertained throughout the majority of the film. The music fits the tone of the movie well, and the entire production is well paced. Yet the action scenes really stand out, and are well choreographed.
One minor gripe: while the film is rated PG-13 for action, there could have been more darker content, just like the comic books. But that’s just a little nitpick.
In conclusion, this version of “Ninja Turtles” is stupid and full of flaws, but it’s entertaining to say the least. It’s not the worst reboot, but we’ll see how Michael Bay can milk the franchise.