OK, so I went into this film with both excitement and trepidation.
I was taking my daughter to see a film which was based on characters I had watched and loved when I was her age. Now, I know the original 1990 film was hardly an Oscar contender, but for a young child it was the right mix of action and humour. Would the new version be a load of crap? Mumblings from other reviewers had been less than positive and that worried me. However I wasn't going to be put off so it was away to the cinema with an eager 9 year old girl in tow.
The plot is simple; four brothers and [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles](movie:323027) must face the evil Shredder in order to save New York. See, how uncomplicated is that? Of course there are other elements to the story but nothing overly convoluted which is good seeing as the film's 101 minute run time is already crammed with action sequences and plot devices. The scenes speed into one another; We meet Eric Sacks (William Fichtner) and establish his relationship with April, then in the very next minute, he is meeting with Shredder and discussing their evil plans. Nothing is given a chance to build up, questions are answered as soon as they're asked.
There are also unnecessary links between the characters. Without giving away too many spoilers, the writers (Josh Appelbaun, Andre Nemec and Evan Daugherty) have tried too hard to establish a shared history. While I can understand why they have attempted to do so, it does not add anything and should have just been left alone.
The main action sequences are stunning, especially the downhill chase that has featured heavily in the trailers. Jonathan Liebesman has directed effects laden movies before (Wrath of the Titans and Battle Los Angeles) but this is probably his best attempt so far.
The turtles do not have equal screen time, with Michelangelo and Raphael receiving most of the attention. Also, I was a little put off by the fact that Leonardo was voiced by Johnny Knoxville. His voice is too recognisable above all the others (even Tony Shalhoub who I thought did a good job as the voice of Splinter). Apart from that niggle, there is a great relationship between the turtles (and the rat).
Megan Fox was not awful as April O'Neil, yet she wasn't that good either. She spent too much time being the object of various lustful comments, and not enough being the fearless reporter she is supposed to be (taking photos on a phone does not make you a journalist). And Will Arnett's character is next to useless; I'm hoping that they bring Casey Jones in to the sequel.
As a reviewer, I should probably abhor this film but as a movie lover, I walked out of the cinema having enjoyed it. Yes, the humour is immature but this is a children's film for adults. There are several references that will be certain to go over younger heads yet they can enjoy the fart jokes and physical comedy.
So, was my trepidation justified? A little. But the child inside me couldn't help but love it and I am actually looking forward to a second helping.