Sunday, August 10, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie review

Grade:  C
PG-13, 1 hour 41 minutes

In a Half-shell:  You’re about to get shell-shocked.  OK, first of all…I have 2 water turtles.  So there’s that.  Secondly, I raised 4 sons who were obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when the cartoon, toys, comic books, video games, and subsequent movie first came out.  We owned every plastic version of the toys with every miniature weapon accessory ever sold.  So, how could this movie be so boring?  I actually fell asleep in the theater.  Granted, I only had 4 hours of sleep the night before, but still.  Cowabunga.

Don’t worry if you don’t know the back story.  There is a short refresher in the beginning of the movie and then a new twist on the old story throughout the film.  The movie is filled with non-stop, fast action…if you can keep your eyes open.  

Uplifting theme: 
  • Believe in the impossible.
  • Don’t be a hater…unless you have to fight bad guys.
Things I liked:
  • You’ll want to see this one in 3D.  The aerial scenes are pretty amazing and there are a lot of them.
  • Shredder was pretty fierce and scary.  His samurai outfit was pretty cool.
  • New York City is featured as the main locale.  Has anyone ever counted how many times the iconic Time Square has been destroyed in movies?
  • The likable Will Arnett provides some comic relief as Vern Fenwick. 
  • There is something about William Fichtner that I’ve always liked.  Maybe it’s that I dated a guy in college who looked like him.  He was great in Prison Break: Seasons 1-4 .
Things I didn’t like:
  • Why did Megan Fox get plastic surgery?  She was gorgeous before.  Now she looks a little “off.” Madame Tussaud won’t have to create wax figures anymore if Hollywood starlets keep plasticizing themselves.  Megan Fox gets almost more screen time than the turtles themselves.  She spends most of the movie running around, panting.
  • The age of the target audience is probably 5, so of course, there are fart jokes.
  • You can’t always tell which turtle is talking.
  • I always wonder how much money companies pay for product placement in films.  This one features Pizza Hut.  You know…turtle teenagers and pizza.
  • The wise cracks are pretty mediocre…neither wise, nor particularly funny.  There were some small children laughing in the theater, but I suspect this may have been their first introduction to this franchise.
  • Some of the action scenes are so fast that you can’t enjoy everything in the frame because it has jumped on to something else already.  Don’t sit too close to the screen or it’ll be a blur.
  • Comedienne Whoopi Goldberg doesn’t get much material to work with.
  • Splinter looked pretty mangey.
  • The turtles sound more like Turtles in the Hood.  They’re super bulky and don’t look like teenagers.

Did you notice?
  • The stickers on April O’Neill’s bike helmet?
  • It’s pouring rain at the ship yard, but April’s beautiful hair doesn’t get wet.
  • Incense burning in Splinter’s lair.
  • Wall of boom boxes, reminiscent of the late 1980’s when the Ninja Turtles first became popular.

Funny lines:
  • “That is insane!  That cat is playing “Chopsticks” with chopsticks!  - one of the turtles (I couldn’t tell who said it)
  • “I so don’t understand the ending of Lost."- Michelangelo  (Yeah, you’re not the only one.) Lost: Season 6 - Final Season

  • “Hey guys, if it’s not obvious already about that girl…Dibbs!” – Michelangelo
  • “So, they’re aliens?”  - Vern

  • “No, that’s stupid.  They’re reptiles.  They help people.”  - April
    “Heroes in a half-shell.”  - Vern
    • “Maybe she’s a Jedi.”  - turtle  (I couldn’t tell who said that)
    • “Yeah, I’m a talking turtle and you’re a human nerd.”  - turtle
    • “You two are adorable.  I could just pinch your cheeks.” – Eric Sacks
    • April O’Neill:  “So, you’re ninjas…mutant turtles..teenagers?
    Donatello:  When you put it like that, it sounds ridiculous.

    Interesting lines:
    • “I don’t believe in fairy tales.”  - Shredder
    • “Whenever someone takes a flame to this city, I’ll be there to put it out.” – Eric Sacks

    Tips for parents:   There is a LOT of violent (but bloodless) fighting, but it’s mostly harmless fun for the younger set who haven’t discovered these reptilian heroes yet.  Maybe this is your chance to teach your kids about the true Renaissance masters: Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, Raphael Sanzio, and Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi.

    There was a karate school advertising their classes for kids when we walked outside the theater.  Impressionable kids in your home will want to kick and jump and chop things.  Fair warning.

    For fans who can't get enough of these heroes in a half shell:
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