It's been seven years since the last Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film hit theaters titled TMNT. Many turtle diehards have been waiting and pleading for a live action reboot to bring this franchise back to life. August 8th it's finally here for us! Too bad it just wasn't what we were hoping... For my complete video review of this movie please click on the video right below!
[Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles](movie:323027) was produced by the brilliant mind who brought us not one, not two, not three but FOUR Transformer films Michael Bay. Lol sorry I love sarcasm. Instead of a full on animation like TMNT or a bunch of guys in turtle suits, the creators of this 2014 version decided to go full CGI in the motion capture technology. Yes, the same type of technology they used for the summer hit movie [Dawn of the Planet of the Apes](movie:322904). However, the use of the motion capture is NOWHERE NEAR as crisp looking as Dawn. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes gave us apes that could show real emotion and left audiences in awe whether or not apes truly were on the screen or people were dressed in ape costumes. If you would like to check out my full video review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes go ahead and click on the video below.
It's funny how just one month after Dawn was released we are given a film that has just dreadful CGI. Director Jonathan Liebesman tries to go for a dark gritty look for the turtles and honestly it doesn't pay off. These turtles simply do not come off well at all. Sure, I enjoyed how Liebesman worked with his team to make each turtle have their own look that showed their personality but that doesn't excuse the overall style and god-awful CGI. These turtles looked just as good as the CGI job from Scooby-Doo movie that came out back in 2002. Yeah, over 12 years ago. It was sh*tty then and it looks sh*tty now.
Anyways, let me step away from discussing the CGI and make fun of some other stuff like Megan Fox and the writing. Megan Fox really just shouldn't be April O'Neil. I know fans have been saying this forever but I really wanted to give her a chance and see if she would show us up in this movie. NOPE! She is so unbelievably annoying in this movie. Not only because she's April but also because the writers felt they had to give her almost the entire first 30 minutes without seeing the turtles. Megan Fox and Will Arnett had zero chemistry and I feel bad for Arnett. I'm sure if the writing was actually worthy of him he would've stole the show but he really could've been played by any extra they had on the lot that day.
I talk about it in my video review but Megan Fox also does this thing where in almost every scene she is breathing so heavily for so long it's unbearable. Why is she so tired? Why does the sound department have to amplify it so much that it has to make us feel uncomfortable? I'll never know. Here are a couple spoiler things I guess, but not really. It's not HUGE or anything but I didn't want comments below of people angry I didn't warn them.
There was a lot of controversy about whether or not the writers would totally change the origin stories of the turtles. They basically did a slight tweaking but the same basic format. The turtles were mutated with a rat and grew up in the sewers is the same. The only change is about an hour into the movie we find out April O'Neil's father was part of a team experimenting on turtles and a rat. April not only knew the turtles when they were babies but also saved them from a fire and set them by a sewer drain to escape. This all sounds fine on paper... I guess? The issue is HOW ON EARTH CAN APRIL JUST FORGET THAT?????? April O'Neil encounters giant mutated turtles and a giant mutated rat and like 15-20 minutes later it FINALLY clicks with her that HEY maybe those could be the same ones my dad experimented on? You know the ones I dropped down a sewer? Jesus Christ that is just sloppy ass writing. Writing like this just offends me. Why couldn't she have thought of that when she first met them? She's supposed to be a strong, intelligent journalist. This kind of backstory where all the main characters are connected is stupid. They might as well have had Will Arnett be a kid who dropped some pizza down the sewer that turned out to be the first slice the turtles ever ate! See how easy that was? Took me literally 3 seconds to come up with.
As far as the directing goes, it's not much better than the writing. Liebesman almost tries to homage Bay to the point that we forget that Bay isn't REALLY the one at the helm of it all. There were so many unnecessary spinning shots and shaky cam that I just burying my hands in my face in disappointment. From THE FIRST scene we are introduced to April interviewing some man at the docks and the camera is shaking all over the place. Why? This isn't her grilling him or him about to hurt her or anything like that. This wasn't something that required epic angles to convey the intensity. This was a simple walk-and-talk scene that we've all seen a billion times in Aaron Sorkin stuff or in 30 Rock this is directing 101. Jesus Christ Liebesman you anger me. Pretty much every single action sequence I found myself struggling to keep track of where all the turtles were and what was occurring. I shouldn't be comparing them but in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles released back in 1990, they gave you wide and medium shots so you could see all of the awesome kung-fu turtle action. That's what we paid to see Liebesman. Way to rob us of that.
There were brief moments whenever JUST the turtles were on screen I really wanted to love this movie but I just couldn't. The voices for all the turtles were decent and occasionally Mikey might've made me chuckle but that was it. One more question. Why did they choose Johnny Knoxville to voice Leonardo? He didn't do as awful job as I thought but it was such an odd choice. It was the only turtle voice that stuck out. I had so many questions in this film like where was this mountain that was only 20 minutes from New York City? Why was it covered in snow while New York looked to be in spring? Why can all the turtles slide on their shells through the sewers like our sewer systems are made like gigantic tube slides at a waterpark? What was the REAL point of William Fichtner's character? What did these characters really learn in the end? Were there any character arcs at all? Why did the turtles discover they were bullet proof only to be scared of guns 5 minutes later? I can go on and on and on here guys.
Overall, I felt this movie had conflicting tones jumping from trying to appeal to kids with goofball-like antics over to a brooding Nolan-wannabe dark feel. This almighty mountain action piece stunned some fans but honestly I kept laughing at it. This film upset me not only because of the writing, directing, casting and CGI but also because it'll probably make a ton of money to churn out a sequel that will be equally sh*tty or worse.
I guess I'll just have to remember the good ol' days like every other kid who grew up in the 90's. Remember when turtles weren't 7-feet tall freaks who look unrealistic? We should just thank Steve Barron for giving us the 1990 live action version that found a pretty great blend of humor, drama, and action to leave us satisfied. I really should've just watched the original or paid to go see Guardians of the Galaxy again. Can you believe I saw someone post on facebook that they liked this Ninja Turtles movie JUST AS MUCH as Guardians? I almost peed myself on the spot. I don't mean to sound so harsh but I feel betrayed and honestly feel Guardians is not in the same league as this movie. Only thing they have in common is they came out in August of 2014.
If you couldn't have guessed or didn't watch my video review I give the 2014 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles my lowest rating I can hand out which is "Aw Sh*t... F*ck that!" It's the first one I've given out this summer and I hope I don't see too many more movies that come close to that award. If you feel I was too harsh on this movie please comment below and let's debate this joke of a film. If you wanna trash it more with me comment and we can have a grand time poking holes in this bag of crap.
If you want to check out more of my written reviews and articles go ahead and click on my profile above. If you want to check out more of my video reviews with the "So I Saw Show" like these two I posted above then click on the link to my youtube page www.youtube.com/entertainmentbuffet1. You can also see my sketch comedy, web series and stand up comedy on that channel as well so please subscribe and share! I'm on Twitter of course @TheProze and finally you can like us on facebook. Facebook.com/EntertainmentBuffet