ByJames Porter, writer at
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James Porter

Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman.

Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner and Whoopie Goldberg.

Shredder and his evil Foot Clan reign terror over New York City, the heroes in a half shell must come out from their sewer home to put an end to Shredder's plans.

From producer Michael Bay (Transformers) and director Jonathan Liebesman (Battle Los Angeles) comes the new reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Megan Fox stars as April O Neill, a TV reporter who longs to do something more, something that matters. She starts to research into a militia group called the Foot Clan who go around New York terrorizing the city, along the way she discovers that there are vigilantes who are trying to put an end to the Foot Clan's schemes. That's where she meets the turtles; Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo.

As a life long Turtles fan I had been looking forward to seeing this film because I have such a love for the four characters and in all fairness to the film, they got the Turtles spot on....but that seems to be the only thing they got right.

The Turtles have always been incredibly simple characters; Leonardo is the leader, Raphael is the rebel, Donatello is the scientist and Michelangelo is the wisecracking clown of the group. I think the movie did a good job of representing the four characters but then again these are incredible simple characters. Whilst the designs of the characters feel clunky and hideous, the personalities were spot on.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

First and foremost this is a children's film, yes it has violence but this is a movie that kids will love, much like Michael Bay's "Transformers" films. Its filled with stupid humor, simple plot points and one dimensional characters so kids will have a lot of fun with it but I think anyone who's looking for some great writing or character development is going to be disappointed.

Jonathan Liebesman directs this film but when watching the film I couldn't help but think that this is a Michael Bay film. It may not have the over saturated color pallet and features few explosions but the story telling and characters are straight out of a Michael Bay film.

For a short while in the film I was interested, it seemed like it knew what it was, it was being jokey and meta with its characters and then it started to take itself all too seriously.....and then it tried to be self aware again, and that juxtaposition between the two tones just didn't work at all. This contrast between silly and serious is also relevant to the characters and the setting of the film. The Turtles are simple and often silly characters yet they are placed into a dark setting and they often felt out of place.

The voice actors for the Turtles do a fine job, the voice cast includes Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub as Leonardo and Master Splinter, these actors are recognizable but never add anything to the film. Noel Fisher was certainly the stand out voice performance as Michelangelo who was definitely the best character in the film.

My main problem with the film is its poor storytelling, this is a very bad script and its told horribly. There is even a scene where the villain of the film played by William Fichtner takes Megan Fox into a room that features a map which has illustrations on it that tell every part of his back story and its simply there for exposition. It really shocked me how a film with such simple characters and story could turn out so horrible.

Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The main villain of the film, 'Shredder', had a very good design to him and was animated very well but we never get any actual character out of him. It seems like he's doing these bad things purely because he's bad. And yes whilst I enjoyed the characters design, it did look exactly like a smaller version of 'Megatron' from the Transformers films.

Much like the "Transformers" films, the action scenes are competent enough when digital effects are used but whenever there is an action scene not featuring CGI, the camera is constantly shaking which often gave me a headache.

The human cast of the film are unfortunately quite bad as well, Megan Fox tries her best at being a TV reporter but never quite makes it. Will Arnett is as annoying as usual. Whoopie Goldberg frankly embarrasses herself and William Fichtner plays one of the worst characters he's ever played.

It seems like every big blockbuster now has to have a towering structure fall down and 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' is no exception, the film features an almost copied finale from 'The Amazing Spider-Man', I won't ruin the ending in case any of you want to be surprised during the film but if you saw The Amazing Spider-Man, you know how this film ends.

There isn't else much to say about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles other than I most certainly do not recommend it. It looks like a perfect kids film because it features big CGI characters punching things but the film spends way too much time on its human characters other than the characters we actually paid to see.

I'd like to say that big avalanche action sequence was memorable and fun but its as forgettable as the rest of the film, this is unfortunately one of the biggest disappointments of 2014.

Of course this is not the worst version of TMNT that we've ever seen (just go back and look at the older films) but its far from being one of the best.

The turtles in the film are very good.....but they're surrounded by one of the worst films I've seen this year. I'm giving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a 5/10.

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