Birthed from a slimy soup into comic book form by the creative team of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in 1984, the spoof title Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles entertained beyond its odd name and became popular enough to spawn more than one of its own its own spoofs (Radioactive Adolescent Black-Belt Hamsters anyone?)
Though a few may have lost sight of the Turtles in the past few years, devotees were still energised enough to yell outrage at the ideas suggested for their return to the big screen by giant killer-robot meister Michael Bay and his team. On initial screenings of the film, directed by Jonathan Liebesman, the early word from the critics has been mostly as fragrant as a tunnel in a New York sewer.
Eric Eisenberg from Cinema Blend says:
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is entirely hollow, poorly put together, and will require an audience on its level of stupidity to survive. Don’t be one of its supporters.”
Tim Grierson from Screen Daily also had air-freshener on full power. On the Turtles’ appearance he observes:
“Brought to life (somewhat) through motion-capture, the four reptiles have rather unpleasant, inexpressive faces, lacking the sweetness of the turtles from the 1990s films but also not looking particularly heroic or compelling.“
Eric Goldman from IGN pointed out a pet peeve with modern movies that I share:
"Also, this film falls into the same trap a ton of superhero movies have before -- really going back to 1989’s Batman -- which is feeling it’s necessary to tie all the characters’ history together in major ways."
Variety's Justin Chang however, shines a faint light on proceedings by refusing to see the film as a complete disaster:
“it’s hard to avoid the sense that Bay, Liebesman and company are hitting all the iconic beats of the franchise, but not investing them with the sort of cleverness, gravitas or feeling that would allow this movie (and presumably, the two sequels in store) to coast along on something other than fan loyalty.”
William Bibbiani of Crave Online fully acknowledges the films failings, but argues that:
“Movies for children can be just as coherent and dramatic as movies made for any other demographic. But although Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fails as a proper movie it does at least capture a certain childish energy that has a place in popular culture and in which I can find no particular fault all by itself.”
I'd say that our young folk shouldn't be excused quality for a few empty thrills just because they appear to be easily pleased. I'm yet to see this offering from Paramount Pictures, but have little doubt it will do good box office following a vigorous massage from Mr Bay's golden fingertips.