OK OK, so this one was always going to be a hard one to get right. We have been burned by a live action Turtles movie in the past and lets not even talk about the abortion of an attempt of a turtles movie that was the animated bullshit. Did anyone even see TMNT off of 2007? No, thought not. And even the people that did won’t admit it.
So, no pressure Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014… It’s never a good feeling when you know that a movie has gone through a bit of production hell and almost did, almost didn’t get made. But it’s here for us all to see, an updated version kinda remake, reboot of the Turtles series. So, Turtles have been on the scene since 1984 and the animated series has been around since 1987. Geeks of my age have loved them for a long time and as I said before we have been let down… Way down in the past so I was really hoping for a good Turtles movie and perhaps even the start of a new series of movies. But, hoping was not enough it would seem.
Now the concept of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles isn’t exactly a complicated one. It really isn’t, baby Turtles and a rat get exposed to the Ooze. Mutate and learn Ninjutsu. Pretty basic right, I mean compared to other sci-fi movies etc. So you would think this would be pretty tough to screw up. Well great job Michael Bay and crew, you managed it. Yes I know Mr. Bay wasn’t in the directors chair this time around but the whole thing stunk of him. Josh Appelbaum took the directors chair on this one, but seeing as this was only his second feature I can’t imagine him having any real power on the set. And that really does come through on the movie.
Remember when you thought the transformers were just to complicated, too many parts and you really couldn’t see what the hell was happening on screen. Well I don’t recommend you try to make sense of what the shitting hell they have done to the shredder. He’s now a horrific cross between the main bad guy at the end of ‘The Wolverine’ and any number of overly complicated Michael Bay transformers… Oh, and a knife rack. Literally for no reason at all. He just shows up like that. No background story or anything like that. It’s just like, yep that’s shredder now. Deal with it. This of course is a massive disappointment for this movie as Shredder really is one of the best villains of all time. Oh, and yes you see him without his mask. Pretty much in the first scene you see him in. Yeah, thanks for that.
Now for splinter. Even as a kid everyone had nothing but respect for Master Shredder. That guy was a freaking Jedi man, but this time round. Nope just a rat who found… FOUND a book on Ninjutsu, read it and apparently became a master?!? What the flying hell is that about? No no no, that doesn’t even come close to making any kind of sense at all. So not only does he become a Master Ninja, but hes able to teach his adopted sons the ways on the ninja all within a few short years. Fuck off. So they have managed to remove all mystery and masculinity from shredder all within a 3 minute back story scene. Excellent work numb nuts. It might sound like a bit of an obvious one but the actual Turtles are the best thing in this movie. I’m not totally against their new look (apart from Donatello but I’ll come back to that). They look pretty cool and for the most part they nailed their individual personalities. Michelangelo is exactly how you remember and expected, very funny and well played by Noel Fisher. As was Raphael, the surly lone warrior type played by Alan Ritchson. But that’s where the good work ends. Johnny Knoxville, Johnny bloody Knoxville plays the voice of Leonardo. You know, the straight man, the leader! Not the funny sidekick! What the hell was the casting department thinking when they thought that Johnny Knoxville would be ideal to this part? Worst piece of casting since Rosie O’Donnell in The Flintstones. And for Donatello, he was my favorite as a kid. Not only the smartest one but double hard and he used a kick ass staff. But no, not this time. This time he’s an ultra nerd, very smart but no an spec of hard ninja about him for the entire movie. I mean just look who they cast to play him, Jeremy Howard. They guy looks AND SOUNDS like beaker from the Muppets. I hated everything about what they have done to my beloved character. April O’neil this time round is played by Megan Fox and credit where credits due, she does a great job. However, back story? Nope, like everything else in this movie she is simply thrown into the mix and told to get on with it.
What there is of a story is just way to basic, there essentially isn’t one. The foot clan are bad, Shredder is kind of their leader apart from the evil corporate guy played by William Fichtner who by the way is in everything. It’s very clear that the effects, sets and costumes were put in place well before a script was completed. The whole concept is just way too juvenile, which I know it kind of to be expected being a Turtles movie but as I said at the beginning. These guys have been on the screen since 1987, meaning we have been waiting for this for 27 years and we know what we like. This movie would be good for a new comer to the series if the back stories were done much better but they are just not. Watch it without the sound and you will get more out of it as some of the effects are pretty cool but, it takes more than that to make a good movie. Especially one 27 years in the making.