Directed by Jonathan Liebesman and produced by Michael Bay, these two work hand in hand, with Bay's fingerprint clearly stamped over a lot of the film. Liebesman is similar to Bay, with past works like Wrath of The Titans and Battle: Los Angeles, action and explosions come in guns blazing and it's pretty spectacular. However, this 2014 reboot lacks a strong narrative and memorable villains.
The story in this film is a carbon copy of the plot from The Amazing Spider-Man, that being the bad guy using a central city tower as a device to disperse a deadly virus that will infect anyone that comes into contact with it. It's a very bland story with clearly no structure of effort put in, mix that in with a flimsy explanation of how the turtles got their abilities and current cultural knowledge, and how Splinter became a ninja fighting teacher, leads to a lacklustre and very unrewarding story with many groan inducing moments.
William Fichtner, a very likeable and good actor, plays probably the most generic and irritating bland antagonist. His motives are so boring, only for money is the reason he wants to release the toxin so the government will buy his cure at an extortionate rate. His quick quips and one liners he drops are very, very lame, as opposed to threatening or charmingly menacing. The worst part is when he takes a shot at April and Vern, and out of nowhere states "You two are adorable. I could just pinch your cheeks!". This bad dialogue cheapens his character even further, such a badly written role for an actor capable of great things.
With the bad out of the way, TMNT is good fun albeit very silly. As someone who was never a big fan of the originals, watching a CGI, fully grown talking rat takes some getting used to. The whole origin sequence of the turtles is naff, like really naff, as is the majority of Shredder's dialogue, who may be a bulky beast of metal blades but he's not an authoritative or menacing baddy. Thankfully the turtles, and their human allies make up for all the flaws, as well as some thrilling action scenes and a good balance of humour.
The turtles are funny, comically over the top and each of the actors behind the mo-caps and CGI do a great job of bringing different characteristics and personalities to the four fighters. Megan Fox, who was unfairly criticised for her role here, does a wonderful job as April O'Neill. Fox darts around the screen with charisma and spark, I liked the way she played an aspiring TV reporter determined to get her big break and big story, but never seems to get traction until she uncovers the turtles. Will Arnett is fine as comic relief, if sometimes a bit forced into every scene.
The subway scene is pretty cool and well shot, glimpses of the turtles appear in split seconds and the crash zoom into Fox' stunned face is awesome.
The best bit of the movie, hands down, is the snowy mountain escape. With outstanding special effects, the turtles, April and Vern slide down a steep mountain in a big rig, chased by Foot Clan soldiers! The breakneck pace comes out of nowhere which is a refreshing change of pace considering some of the previous scenes of the film feel slower. The action shots, seamless one shot takes and 3D all come together for one of the best action sequences of 2014. If you don't want to watch this film, at least YouTube this part in particular. The finale is wonderful too, there are plenty of in your face 3D moments, superb green/blue screen work and many vertigo type shots that will have you on edge.
Overall, this is a fun and harmless movie that has its flaws, mostly concerning story and weak antagonists. However, the action, 3D, cast performances and special effects make up for a lot of the faults. I am excited for the sequel, my only concern is the director and how he approaches the tone and 12A action, as the director worked on kid friendly flick Earth To Echo.