Directed by Jonathan Liebesman and produced by Michael Bay, our heroes in a half shell jump onto the big screen once again to entertain the audience of all ages. Being a man child of everything cartoon, and nerd like, I grew up watching these loveable green ninjas on the Saturday morning cartoons. I also was a fan when they tried to adapt the cartoon onto the big screen back in the 1990’s with live action ninja turtles. Given these green mutants were made up of rubber suits with animatronics to give them humanistic qualities when speaking, I really enjoyed their adventures no matter how campy and cheesy they are. When I heard that they are going to bring back the turtles to the big screen again, I said to myself, this should be interesting. It seems like nowadays bringing back the old cartoons is the new trend within the movie industry. I’m waiting for Voltron and the Thundercats to pop up.
With his signature style of filming, Michael Bay stretches his imagination and attempts to improve the story and the image of these iconic characters to make them more current. To be honest, I preferred the original storyline from the comic books and cartoons to this new version. Even though it is directed by a different person, you can recognize the over the top action sequences, and the melodramatic drama that sticks to every Michael Bay film. The two good thing about this film is the CGI technology and the cast of Shredder, played by Japanese actor, Tohoru Masamune. Thank you for that Michael. Even though his face is hidden by shadows, his voice brings a sense of authenticity to this film. Everything else shouts WTF!!!!! The armor that Shredder wears is ridiculous. It looks like an oversized, steroid driven, behemoth, with way too many blades for anyone to handle. But this is a Michael Bay film, so why am I not surprised. The back story to Shredder is partially accurate to the original storyline in the comics, but having him be connected to the evil plan run by a crazy millionaire is a bit of a stretch. William Fichtner, who plays Eric Sacks, takes up the role as the villain and uses Shredder for his ultimate agenda. He’s fine playing the bad guy, but I think that he is more annoying than evil. Megan Fox is once again using her semi talent to bring the loving ambitious April Oneil to the big screen. Again, Megan takes her emotionless personality and fails to bring April’s character to life. Megan’s montone voice drones through my head like a low frequency sonar passing through the water. Despite the high octane action sequences in this film, her acting abilities never improved throughout the car chases and the fighting scenes. Yes, she did try her best, and I’ll give her that, but I think someone else would have done a better job, anyone else! The actor who voiced Splinter is Tony Shalhoub. It is a little odd hearing his voice when speaking as a mutated trained ninja rat. He did a good job though. The image of Splinter is a little weird as well. He looks like a mutated version of the Mandarin from the Iron Man 3 film. The computer generated turtles is probably the highlight of the whole film. Using motion capture to create the realistic movements of people in a turtle’s body is stellar. Each turtle is different from each other. Their appearance reflects their persona. It is amazing watching them on screen. That is the one thing I do like about the Michael Bay films, he doesn’t hold back using the latest technology in CGI in creating these amazing characters. It reminded me of the first Transformer movie where I left the theater in awe. The voices who matched up with the CGI turtles definitely made these characters stand out. I love watching these characters display their own personality and their fighting skills. The motion capture technology is essential in making the fight scenes real. It worked.
The storyline is somewhat mediocre. It is too broad and doesn’t have that intimate feel to it, like in the original. Making the story into a crime wave epidemic that leads into terrorism is way too outrageous for a film that focuses on mutated turtles with marital arts skills. I mean take it down ten notches, Michael. Don’t over think it, buddy.. The characters are developed well with a few exceptions, but I would love to have seen the rivalry between Shredder and Splinter become more in depth. My opinion of this movie is that this is a film where you can dig deep into your childhood and enjoy your favorite cartoon show come alive in film.
I give this film two and a half movie stubs out of five.