WRITTEN BY: Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, Evan Daugherty
DIRECTED BY: Jonathan Liebesman
STARRING: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Tohoru Masamune
RATING: 3 stars
It barely even matters that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is only an average film. If you loved the characters as a child, chances are you will still find some delight as an adult watching this reboot. You will probably roll your eyes during parts, but you will also laugh and feel like a child again. Fans will enjoy the nods to the previous films, cartoons and arcade games, as well as pop culture references to other superhero stories and television shows. The plot is quite a stretch and the 3D is not really worth the extra money, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is silly fun.
April O'Neil (Megan Fox) is a young reporter at Channel 6, trying to catch her big break, while her cameraman Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett) just wants to take her out on a date. April begins investigating a case involving Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) and the Foot Clan who are taking over the streets of New York. Only four vigilantes seem to be able to stop them. Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, trained by their "father" a mutated rat named Splinter. Their history is where the story deviates from what we have previously known about the tale and involves April's scientific father and his partner Eric Sachs (William Fichtner) who create a mutagen.
My main problem with the plot, other than its deviation from the original story, is the motivation for the villain. He wants to be very rich, but he already has a massive science and technology lab, a mansion and his own helicopter. How much more money does he really need? Much has been said on the way the turtles look with their menacing faces and bulky bodies. They look tougher, which is great, but then the film is funny and that does not always match up well with the darker look. The action sequences are at least thrilling in parts including some fight scenes involving Shredder, who looks great and terrifying.
Fox has never been known as a particularly good actress and throughout the entire film I kept thinking it would have been better without her. There is not one scene where she is dressed like a journalist and her face is devoid of any expression. Arnett has a thankless role and does not even have much opportunity to be funny. Fichtner is also capable of much more. It is fortunate that the film does not rely on good acting.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may be ridiculous, but surely no one expected it to be more than light fluff?