Saturday, January 24, 2015

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) (PG-13)

Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Johnny Knoxville, and Tony Shalhoub

I will preface this review with a confession of sorts. I am a tad geeky when it comes to certain pop culture properties. With that, I find it sad when a film tries to get witty with the writing and origins of characters that where just fine the way they were. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) has become the latest victim in a long line of travesties where a property is given over to those who have no clue how to handle it. Not that TMNT is Shakespeare mind you, but what was done here can been seen as nothing short of mind boggling.

First off, this film was craptacularly bad. I mean, really bad. We are talking like if Ang Lee's Hulk (2003) had sex with the Super Mario Bros. Movie (1993), had a child, fed it sugar, gave it sharp objects and told it to go play in a crowded city park. The script is completely off the rails and takes the genesis of our titular heroes to places that are so ludicrous that I makes the Ninja Turtles original origin story (as ridiculous as it may be) seem plausible. Now, if you decide to take this movie on, be warned, you could fall down any one of a thousand plot holes along the way. I may even break my "No Spoiler" rule for this one, because honestly, at this point, who cares.

Why this movie is garbage:

-The Turtles and Master Splinter are nothing sort of terrifying. The rat, once cutely badass, now looks like a monster. A literal monster. The turtles are no better. (We miss you Jim Henson.) Who thought children would like this? Oh, yeah. Michael Bay produced it. Question answered.

-They learn Ninjitsu from a book. A BOOK! Seriously?

-April O'Neil is more of a conspiracy nut than a reporter who helped to raise the Turtles and Splinter in a lab with her father and an evil scientist. She even recorded her time with them with a video camera that has Bluetooth in big letters across the side of it. (I'm going to nit pick this, 'cause f*$& this movie.) Bluetooth wasn't even a thing when she was a child.

-Shredder is basically a cumbersome knife show robot-man.

-The Foot Clan (Remember, they're Ninjas) have a small army worth of guns. But don't worry, the Turtles are "Bullet Proof." These ballsey writers actually have Raphael say it in the movie at one point. Although, they can crack their shells if they get kicked too hard. What the what!

-The Turtles also seem to be able to travel by sliding everywhere on their shells like a Slip and Slide. Because, you know, that's how turtles get around. Duh.

-They even made a Turtle Van. Because nothing says 'hiding in the shadows' like a disco ball and green neon trim.

Swiss Army Knives has come a long way. 

You know what... I can't do this. It would take a Sherpa guide to navigate the plot holes in this flick. Speaking of Sherpas, the Turtles actually spend about ten minutes sliding down a snowy mountain, because the bad guy evidentially lives in a castle a top Mount Everest or some such shit. (Everest is in upstate New York, right?)

I just had the worst dream...Oh, God!

The acting is abominable. So many great actors, Megan Fox excluded, (Sorry, girl. You seem nice but I can't abide by this) given the worst dialogue ever to spew at the audience. The story, dumb. The camera, never stops moving for a second. (Most likely to hid the cartoonishly laughable Mo-Cap.) The action, so out of control that it makes the Transformers look tame. None of it makes sense. It's a mess.

Now, I am all for a bad movie. Hell, I sat through Winter's Tale (2014) and I, Frankenstein (2014) as a laugh for God sakes, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is definitely in the pantheon of cinematic missteps taken in 2014. I knew going in it was gonna blow and blow hard, but this almost felt intentional. The end credits were vast, and in that abyss of film professionals nobody took a step back and said, "You know this is terrible, right? Oh, okay. Just checking." If you have a strong stomach for shlock and don't mind breaking the heart of your inner child I say give it a watch, if only as a cautionary tale on how to thoroughly ruin a popular franchise.

Being a fan of the 1990 version, as dated as it may be, at least it had heart. And a script. And non-terrifying main characters. And, well, you get the point. So, in summation, Cowabunga... I guess.

Put... the mask... back on.

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