Review: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 7 August 2014


2 stars
2 stars
This new TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES reboot won't make you go cowabunga.

From the original TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES movie trilogy in the '90s to the 2007 all-CGI reboot of TMNT, the Turtles franchise had its fair share of ups and downs. Then along came Paramount Pictures, who acquired the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES rights, and attempts to reboot the franchise under the guidance of producer Michael Bay and WRATH OF THE TITANS director Jonathan Liebesman. Unfortunately after all the long wait and speculations about the new TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, it ends up nothing more than just a cash grab that relies heavily on its brand recognition.

The movie begins with April O'Neil (Megan Fox), a struggling TV news reporter who's been trying hard to get solid news about the recent crime wave involving a mysterious organization known as the Foot Clan, which has been terrorizing the New York citizens. Then one night, April witnesses a vigilante single-handedly defeats a group of Foot Clan soldiers but fails to get good picture. However, she eventually comes face-to-face with the four members of the mutated talking turtles -- Leonardo (played by Pete Ploszek but voiced by Johnny Knoxville), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher) and Donatello (Jeremy Howard) -- which are all named after the four Renaissance artists. The Turtles live underneath the city's sewer system where they trained the art of ninjutsu by their mutated rat sensei named Splinter (played by Danny Woodburn but voiced by Tony Shalhoub). As April continues her investigation, she discovers that billionaire industrialist Eric Sachs (William Fichtner) where her dead scientist father used to work with him before on a scientific experiment, has something to do with the existence of the Turtles and Splinter.
The motion capture version of the Turtles and Splinter is decent enough, even though I do admit it takes more time to get used to their newly-revamped appearances. Meanwhile, the four Turtles' performances are fairly adequate, with Noel Fisher being the standout as the laid back Michelangelo.

The extended action sequence which features a series of imaginative stunts set on the snowy mountainside.

Here are some of the biggest problems that plagued the movie: Jonathan Liebesman's chaotic style of direction is haphazard with too many rapid camera movements that make us hard to enjoy the fluidity of the Turtles' ninja fighting skills. Liebesman also has little idea what makes the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES franchise such a pop-culture phenomenon at the first place, as he turns the movie almost devoid of playful personality and made everything looks strangely hollow. The movie's attempt to go both dark and funny doesn't gel each other that well. Most of the humours here are largely unfunny, while the screenplay by Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Evan Daugherty, is chock full of cliches. It doesn't help either when the radically-changed story is so heavy on exposition until it almost a chore to sit through.

Another gripe here is Brian Tyler's uninspired music score that doesn't have the certain personality of its own. At times, I just couldn't help it but feels as if I was listening to a copycat music taken from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN movies. Lula Carvalho's cinematography is murky, while the post-conversion 3D effect is simply disappointing. So a word of warning, though: if you plan to watch this in 3D, it's best to save your hard-earned money and catch it on the regular 2D version instead.

Then there's the cast. While Megan Fox looks amazingly hot as usual, it's hard to take her role as April O'Neil seriously, especially with that thick makeup on her face as well as her stilted expression. Will Arnett shows some potential with his comic performance as April's cameraman, Vernon but too bad his character is largely sidelined throughout the movie. Whoopi Goldberg is wasted in her cameo appearance as April's editor, and so does Tony Shalhoub who provides the voice as Splinter. William Fichtner delivers another typical bad-guy performance as Eric Sachs and Tohoru Masamune is equally forgettable as Shredder.


Although this TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES reboot has its moments, the overall result remains a huge disappointment and seriously needs a major overhaul if the studio wants to sustain the franchise in the future.

* This review is written courtesy from United International Pictures Malaysia 3D press screening *

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