Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Michael Bay hates me. Possibly not me personally, but people like me who had relatively happy beginnings with Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Saturday morning cartoons. He has already ruined Transformers with the rapidly declining series of movies that isn't even done now, when the franchise doesn't have much room to drop.

TMNT was originally designed to be a parody of other comic books, but they have since (much like the Scream series of movies) become part of the normal landscape that it was originally intended to lampoon. Even more than Scream, TMNT has enjoyed several waves of popularity from which to sell lots and lots of merchandise and seemingly squander what little uniqueness they had in the first place. The turtles shift from personality to personality, one more extreme than the last, to try to cater to all comers. By individualizing their personas so dramatically, the effect is to homogenize the team as a whole, as they just seem like another incarnation of the band of idiots like Voltron or Power Rangers or a thousand others.

At least this one didn't have Vanilla Ice in it. Instead, we get yet another retelling of their origin story, and that origin is completely different than every other time it has been told. I get why they did that, but it speaks to the fundamental issue I have with the Turtles these days. See, the original origin story was that they got caught in radioactive goop that transformed them all. The reason it is important is that it is supposed to be the same strange radioactive goop that gave Daredevil his powers. Eastman and Laird saw how utterly ridiculous Daredevil's random encounter was, and they decided that the goop, once cast into the sewer by Daredevil, continued to give creatures superpowers.

This time around, though, they have to wrap this whole story up with a bow, so they needlessly link April O'Neil to the origin of the Turtles. As soon as I saw April, played by the talentless Megan Fox, I knew we were going to have problems. She was quickly joined by her cameraman, played by Will Arnett, and it became obvious pretty quickly that Will had decided to ham it up for this role. All of the actors seemed to treat their role as if they were one of the kids on Barney - big, overdone reactions and overly enunciated lines.

On the plus side, the animation for the Turtles was pretty good. Yes, there are times when the characters seems to have no weight to them, but that seems like a common problem with CG on CG violence for some reason. The fact that they made the Turtles bulletproof and inhumanly strong? I guess you can't take yourself seriously when you've got ninja turtles on the screen for most of the movie.

Oh, and damn everyone involved for the robotic CG Shredder with magnetic blades.

Effects were good
Direction was bad
Story was terrible
Dialogue was bad
Acting was bad

Bottom Line: The kids might like it. The sexual innuendos seemed out of place, though.



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