I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

tn_tmnt14TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014) is director Jonathan Liebesman (BATTLE LOS ANGELES, WRATH OF THE TITANS, TEXAS CHAINSAW BEGINNINGS: THE FINDING OF THE SAW) and the Platinum Dunes company’s modernized retelling of the classic tale of Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Donatello, the humanoid turtle monsters who are discovered by a human reporter living in a giant underground sewer home and are trained in ninjitsu by a talking rat so they enjoy pizza but at night they sneak out to fight crime and there’s this Japanese guy with armour who wants to kill them because–

You know what, on second thought this is not a story, this is a half-assed explanation for a joke title some guys came up with in the ’80s that, through some bizarre series of mishaps and coincidences, accidentally became a multi-million dollar pop culture/merchandising juggernaut. Nobody knows why or ever will. It was even on Unsolved Mysteries.

Seriously, I saw part of a documentary on these turtles, and it explained how the hugely popular cartoon show was built around the toys they wanted to sell. The people who made the cartoon seemed totally surprised and confused that it was something that people liked so much. It’s funny to see them try to explain in retrospect that historic moment when a voice actor said “Cowabunga!” and they decided to use it. It seems like they figure it must’ve been brilliant, but I don’t think they get it any more than I do.

This new version is pretty much a simplified rehash of the previous movie version, from what I can remember. You still got TV reporter April O’Neil (like the porn star), now played by Megan Fox, and she discovers that “a vigilante” stopped an attempted chemical robbery by “The Foot Clan,” who are masked paramilitary guys now instead of ninjas, except for Shredder and a couple other people at the top. Here’s the thing though: she keeps trying to take pictures and video on her phone. That’s why they had to do a remake. THIS IS HOW WE LIVE TODAY.

mp_tmnt14It’s 20 minutes in before we see the turtles’ faces, so be ready for some bullshit about April being an anchor of fluffy Today Show type segments trying to be taken seriously as a journalist and her cameraman/van driver played by Will Arnett (and insultingly named Vern) lamely trying to make moves on her. Whoopi Goldberg shows up as her producer and does that requisite, lazy comedy scene where April tries to explain that she saw teenage mutant turtle ninjas and everybody makes fun of how stupid that is, ha ha what a ridiculous idea, we would never believe such a thing, let’s keep laughing about what a terrible idea that is, you must be stupid to even come up with that lie to tell, because why would that even be a thing, it makes no sense. (There is probly a deleted subplot about all the psychological and drug testing she has to do to keep her job.)

Poor Megan Fox finally gets to play a character who’s supposed to be smart, but they still make her seem like an idiot by not having her understand that people won’t believe her when she tells them that she figured out her childhood pets were experimented on and now talk and wear armor and fight crime.

Turtles must just have a natural affinity for martial arts, because they were trained by the rat, who just learned by reading a book about it. And he seems to mostly do moves involving his tail, which I doubt was even in the book. (Humans don’t have tails.) But they’re good. They really know how to wail on some guys.

These turtles are much uglier and more frog-like now that they’re digital creations by Industrial Light and/or Magic instead of rubber suits. They have different body types from each other and kind of a post-apocalyptic fashion sense with all kinds of crap attached to them: beat up pieces of armor, sticks, beads, pins, tools. One has taped together glasses and various goggles and gadgets and shit, to show he’s the tech guy.

They should be easier to tell apart now, because they actually do look different from each other, but to be honest I could only remember that one guy had Johnny Knoxville’s voice and one had bigger shoulders. The red one. He’s like a macho coach or something, he wears a doo rag, chews a toothpick, yells angry commands at the stupid humans, flexes his pecs to return bullets to their senders and grunts “cowabunga” like it’s a badass one-liner. Best detail: his douchey sunglasses, only ever worn on the top of his head, I believe. So accurate. It’s true, these are the exact sunglasses that this fuckin turtle would wear.

still_tmnt
As characters they aren’t any more compelling to me than the old ones, with the same kind of dialogue where I can tell it’s supposed to be funny but I’m not totally sure why. I’m happy to say, though, that there’s only one fart. I don’t remember if there were any in the original, but you know. There was lots of room here, you could expect them to put in more than one.

There’s one kind of cool character moment that I enjoyed: when the guy with the wooden staff manages to wedge it under a truck and somehow pole vault the vehicle into the air, Liebesman switches to slow motion to take in the gleeful pride on his face. I also have to admit I like the scene where they’re going up an elevator and one of them starts nervously beat boxing, then they one by one decide to join in banging their weapons together and adding noises and basically doing their own little STOMP! number until they get to their floor to fight some guys. That was cute.

Here’s how this is like the old movie to me: it’s shitty and dumb and I don’t get the appeal and then there are a couple of elaborate action sequences that are technically impressive enough to drag me into the spirit of the thing. In fact, the big showstopper set piece, a chase and battle down a mountain almost as tall as the FURIOUS 6 runway is long, was so legitimately cool that I went back and re-watched that whole section as soon as the movie was over. The turtles are inside a semi that’s sliding down the slope, then some of them jump out and use their shells as sleds, or stand up to sort of snowboard on their feet, or jump and flip around, on and off and through the windshields of various vehicles. The bad guys shoot electrified cables at them, they knock some of them off their trucks into trees, get  hit by them and bounce off, spraying snow everywhere, having conversations all the while. It’s photorealistic, with very naturalistic lighting and camerawork (sorry, lens flare-phobes). It’s ridiculously detailed and completely hyperkinetic and chaotic, but not confusing like a TRANSFORMERS – it’s lots of really long shots and just enough bumpiness to feel real, not too much.

And the thing is I don’t even know for sure if this is all animation or if there’s some actual stunt work involved in some of it. Because I know they had guys going around with motion capture costumes (shells included) to play the turtles for other scenes, and that veteran second unit director Dan Bradley is credited as “Director: snow unit.” I guess it’s possible that just means he did the fight scene at the top of the mountain, which is also pretty cool, and definitely seems based on real human movements. Or maybe he just filmed those trucks driving around in the snow and added turtles in later. It must’ve been weird jumping a truck and looking at a tennis ball to know where the turtleman you’re running over is supposed to be.

I don’t know man, I don’t consider this a good movie overall, but I cannot in good conscience pass judgment on a movie with a section that I enjoyed as much as that mountain part there. If that on its own was a short film I think it would be widely praised. So the kids could do worse. Also I’m glad Platinum Dunes just wants to remake toy cartoons now and not whichever of my favorite horror movies are still standing. They will not be missed.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 at 10:25 am and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

40 Responses to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

  1. I had the exact same reaction: I was lukewarm to the point of boredom for most of the film, but holy-moley that downhill scene. Even if it was all CGI, I was enthralled. Maybe my favorite setpiece of the year.

  2. Every time my girlfriend keeps telling me about how much her little niece and nephew enjoyed that movie, even going so far to cheer in the theatre when the Turtles defeated Shredder (spoiler), it makes me smile and reminds me how excited WE were for some shitty movies when we were kids. (I thought TEEN WOLF TOO was BRILLANT when I was 8.)

  3. I think there’s something about a lot of these old toy shows, where the writers of the show were just constantly being given new, batshit ideas that they had to figure out how to incorporate (cajun alligator mutant, robot samurai, brain in a giant sumo suit, dimension of triceratops-men [though those last two were from the comic book, which was initially meant to be a satire of gritty action comics of the 80s]). When you watch it and you’re a kid, you kind of don’t know anything about characters or storytelling beyond some catchphrases and broad ideas (i.e.: Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines), so all you remember from it is these increasingly bonkers ideas that stick in your head twenty years later.

    I think that goes a long way to explain why people of my particular age (30-something) have really fond memories of the Ninja Turtles cartoon — because all we remember about it is stuff like, “Oh, man, remember that time the scientist turned into a mutant fly and then got zapped five seconds into the future so he couldn’t interact with anything?”

    Probably that and also, you know, if you had the toys, you ended up making up a lot of stories and characters yourself, and probably, through the haze of nostalgia, it’s hard to distinguish between the stuff that you actually saw, and the stuff that you just invented.

  4. Ryuhei Kitamura should have directed this.

  5. The first turtles movie was undeniably pretty good. Great Jim Henson Co. puppet work on the Turtles and especially Splinter the giant rat. Nice performance by Elias Koteas, of all people, as Kasey Jones.

    And it was a small-press, black-and-white comic book before it was a cartoon / marketing phenomenon / corporate empire, ect. One of the guys who co-created the Turtles still lives in Western Massachusetts (at least, he did the last time I was out that way) and he’s mystified by the whole thing too.

  6. I don’t think any other movie I saw this year made as little of an impact on me as this one. I remember like two shots (pretty sure both were in the trailer that I saw 40 times) and no plot points. It wasn’t even bad; it just barely was.

    I guess I need to see it again to check out that mountain set piece. I seem to kind of remember that existing.

  7. I realize now I could’ve talked about a pretty crazy product placement scene where they all talk in awe about a Pizza Hut cheese pizza, but I’m sure that’s been covered in other reviews.

    Also I wanted to mention that this does not say specifically if Michelangelo is a party dude (cokehead).

    Barry, good call on Kitamura. Majestyk, I don’t feel comfortable convincing you to watch it again.

  8. Weirdly, I saw this at a drive-in. We went to see Guardians of the Galaxy, but they switched the times without telling anyone so we (massively) settled for this one. Aside from the mountain slide fight, the only thing that stood out was that it was the only time I remember seeing (spoiler) a completely normal person take out the main villain in what was essentially a super hero movie. She wasn’t even a soldier or a fighter, just a somewhat dim reporter. I thought that was impressive.

  9. I have a buddy who’s obsessed with the TMNT, but he even he had to admit he didn’t think this was that great (and he laughed when I said they looked like “melted Shreks” in this movie).

  10. And speaking as someone who was just born with this franchise was taking off, it’s not something I’ve ever had any affection for.

  11. Vern, I don’t think any product placement scene this year will top Stanley Tucci using the most revolutionary scientific discovery of the 21st century to create a logo-to-audience Beats By Dre speaker pill in TRANSFORMERS 4. And this was a movie that had an Oreobot in it.

  12. Griff: I was right in the middle of the Turtles’ demo when they were big, and I loved them. Watched the cartoon, had the toys, saw the first two movies in the theater. But I have next to no fondness for them as an adult. There’s no good characters or stories or ideas to return to. It’s just some goofy shit that little boys think is cool because little boys are dumbasses. So I can enjoy it on that level, but that’s all. Any attempt to add any kind of grownup appeal is destined to fail and missing the point.

  13. “Vern, I don’t think any product placement scene this year will top Stanley Tucci using the most revolutionary scientific discovery of the 21st century to create a logo-to-audience Beats By Dre speaker pill in TRANSFORMERS 4. And this was a movie that had an Oreobot in it.”

    Oh man I hate those Goddamned movies so fucking much, Michael Bay is the biggest prick in Hollywood.

  14. Mr. Majestyk – I guess Pokemon would be the equivalent for me, I enjoyed it a lot as a kid but there’s not much that appeals to me about it now, I even tried watching the first movie as a laugh but turned it off because I was bored.

  15. What I like about Bay’s prickishness is that it’s not insidious. Unlike most Hollywood product, there’s no sugarcoating of the spiritual emptiness at the heart of his films. He not only displays but revels in real mercenary soullessness, straight no chaser, just a head-on gawk at the howling void that is Michael “Guantanamo” Bay’s moral center. In a land ruled by pricks, he puts a mirror on the goddamn screen.

  16. I was surprised just how half-assed this movie was, even for a shitty cartoon reboot. I think in the original movie Splinter knows ninjitsu because he was the pet rat of a ninja master. That’s pretty stupid, but it makes sense. In this movie he just stumbles across a ninja manual that I guess someone flushed down the toilet. The fact that he’s a wise old Asian stereotype is a coincidence or maybe some sort of racist affectation. Tackling the stupidity of the source material is too hard, so they gloss over it in the perfunctory way possible, regardless of whether it makes sense.

    I like the character redesigns. The turtles are hulking and ugly and imposing and I think their weird mix of ninja gear and douchey dudebro fashion is pretty hilarious. I guarantee they’re going to get matching tribal tattoos the day they become Young Adult Mutant Ninja Turtles. I don’t know how I felt about them in motion. Some of the fights had that same mix of weightlessness and complicated, over-busy character designs (especially Shredder) that makes me zone out during the Transformers movies. The downhill fight was pretty rad though.

    I was also disappointed because I thought William Fichtner played Shredder in this, but he’s just some evil businessman William-Fichtner-type character.

  17. The problem is he has essentially ruined Hollywood, a 100 year history flushed down the toilet by he and other corporate crapheads.

  18. I’m 31 yrs old. TMNT cartoon and toys came out at the right time for me to really be down with the fad. By the time I was around 10 or 11 I was pretty much done with the toys and the cartoon. By that time Power Rangers were starting to be the thing.

    I’ve always liked the first two movies though. Especially the first one it is legit one of my favorite comic book movies. I still watch it from time to time to this day. I also read the monthly comic book published by IDW which is filled with great story story telling and characters as well as ancient Japanese mythology and themes of reincarnation. People who dismiss Ninja Turtles will never understand that of course.

    I also watch the Nickelodeon turtles cartoon whenever I can. It’s probably one of the few cartoons today that I couldn’t tolerate considering I hate shit like adventure time and all that other crap the kids like today.

    I also enjoy it a lot more than the original series and especially more than that pretentious TMNT cartoon show from like 2003.which was a show I could never get into because it took itself way too seriously for a cheap looking cartoon starting a bunch of mutant turtles vs alien brain in a robot samurai outfit.

    With that said I was never interested in seeing this garbage because it looks about as appealing as eating a bowl of hot shit. This review did nothing to sway my opinion even with the praise for the stupid looking snow mountain shit I will never even bother watching that segment.

    It seems like everything people could do wrong with the Turtles all in one crappy package. Fuck Platinum Dunes they’re just a frat boy version of bad robot. Both are just terribly mediocre production studios whose productions always get way more credit than they ever deserve because movie audiences are so used to settling for crap nowadays. I refuse to support either production house with any of my valuable time.

  19. *I COULD tolerate

  20. Weirdly enough, my mom banned TMNT in my household, so I only watched the cartoon when I was slightly too old for them. Because of this, I was never a huge TMNT fan, and as I’ve gotten older, I still don’t completely understand their appeal (at least when it comes to the versions I’ve seen). I’m sure you can create some good stories from the material, but I don’t think that’s ever happened on screen. Like most people, I think the suits in the original turtles movies are impressive, but I also think the movie is kind of dumb.

    All of these live action versions of 80s and 90s cartoons are cynical cash grabs aimed at making money off of misdirected nostalgia. I did watch GI Joe and Transformers when I was young enough to really enjoy them, but I have no illusions that those are terrible cartoons. That’s not to say that you can’t create something interesting from that source material (I hear that the GI Joe comic book back in the day was pretty good), but it also means that I’m not terrible excited to see versions of these worlds on the big screen.

  21. This movie was way better than I thought it would be – of course, I wasn’t expecting it to be Shakespeare (sorry). I found it harmless and occasionally amusing, but I couldn’t tell you now what happened and why as far as the plot goes. Some people have criticized the new designs of the turtles, but I really liked them looking downright repulsive – why did they have to make them so damn big though? Makes me think some of the designers wished they were making a Battletoads-movie instead.

    What actually really impressed me with the movie though was the pretty damn awesome score by Brian Tyler. Really catchy, heroic and uplifting main theme. Good stuff.

  22. RBatty024 – I pretty much agree with your 2nd paragraph. Of course I would argue THE WINTER SOLDIER was the good G.I. Joe movie that I basically wanted when I was a kid.

  23. Watched it every day after school as a kid. Loved the movie. Played wih my friends’ brothers toys whenever I had the chance since I was too chicken to ask for “boys’ toys” and the April figures were nowhere to be found.

    When my boys became interested in TMNT thanks to the extremely well-done current Nick series, I was excited but didn’t push. They’re hooked, and I don’t mind sharing their Saturday mornings. However, neither one wants to see the new movie because of the way the turtles look. Shredder also seems scarier to them than the old movie one. I didn’t get how this new movie worked and made money with them looking so damn ugly. The movie toys, I notice, aren’t selling out, though and are constantly on sale/clearance.

  24. I wish someone would give Mikey Bay an unlimited budget to direct a 9/11 film on the scale he did with PEARL HARBOR. It would likely end up being crass, completely inappropriate/offensive, and six hours long but it would be amazing. It would have to feature tons of inappropriate and off putting product placement. For example there could be a scene where a group of people are trapped alive in the rubble of the twin towers and the only thing keeping the debris from crashing down in on them is a heroic Coke machine holding up the rumble. It would be a moving and dramatic tale of how the first responders and such fine products as Coke, Apple, and Chevy stood tall in the face of one the greatest tragedies in American history.

  25. A Michael Bay movie with only two explosions? Maybe if it was a romantic comedy.

  26. Who says it isn’t.

    I am not saying they are getting married or anything but I am pretty sure the Coke machine that saved all those people is getting laid by Vikki from accounting.

  27. Actual sex? In a Michael Bay movie? Gross! Women are to be ogled and rescued, not engaged in consensual adult intimacy with.

  28. Charles – I thoroughly support that idea.

  29. It’s true what Griff said about Pokemon: he hardly every pleasures himself to the picture my playing card any more.

  30. Back off, bitch: Griffy’s dirty masturbation is my domain now. You had your day.

  31. Oh look, Griff’s tiresome and unfunny stalker is back. How lovely.

    So I watched this again. I have upgraded it to “moderately entertaining.” That mountain chase is pretty well staged and full of cool variations on the action, but mostly I just like how absolutely idiotic so much of the plotting is. So the rat became a sensei by reading a book? Are we to understand then that he’d never actually been in a fight before? And that he was just playing at being a wise old master, since he was actually no older than the turtles themselves? What a poseur. (Although I suppose the vastly different lifespans of turtles and rats would explain his accelerated aging, if not his accelerated acquisition of life experience.)

    Then there’s the villain’s plan, which somehow requires the United States government to not connect the poison gas spewing our of William Fichtner’s building with the antidote that he’s planning to sell them. Just a coincidence that the robot samurai chose that particular building and its embedded 15-year-old delivery system to launch his attack, apparently.

    And let’s not forget that Lil April decided to rescue those lab animals and then immediately throw them into the sewer instead of, you know, taking care of them. She’s been shown in flashback to treat them like pets, but right when they need her, they get tossed like baby alligators in an urban legend.

    And was it just me, or was Will Arnett totally miscast? He’s too old to be macking on Megan Fox like that, especially in a professional environment. You get a guy in his late twenties to mid thirties (I’m thinking Schmidt from NEW GIRL would be good casting), it wouldn’t be so sleazy, but Arnett looks every minute of his 44 years while Fox still comes off like a teenager. I got the idea by the end that we were supposed to feel warm and fuzzy about this creeper’s obsession with her, which is just…wrong.

    But mostly I laughed at the idea that, just a few miles outside of New York City, there lurks a giant, snow-covered mountain with a 500-foot cliff that has a completely different climate from Manhattan (where everyone wears light jackets) and also somehow leads to an access hatch to the NYC sewer system, which apparently goes under a river or two to the mainland. Then you get to the next scene on the roof of the skyscraper and you got a 360 view of the entire horizon and there’s no mountain to be seen. New York geography hasn’t been this mangled since Peter Parker took the F train to Coney Island to get home to Queens in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Genius.

    In conclusion, this movie is stupid and creepy and I kind of liked it this time.

  32. Mr. M – I’ll admit I did laugh at that dumb joke where Arnett stares at Fox’s ass?

    ANoniMouse – I’m impressed how things I liked as a kid are still around. TMNT, Transformers, etc.

  33. Mr M – you paid to see this again? I admire your dedication, dude.

  34. I’m like a hundred miles from my movie collection at the moment so I had to make do with the local Redbox. It wasn’t the worst $1.50 I ever spent.

  35. The Original Paul

    December 21st, 2014 at 3:01 am

    Actually, if I count up the amount of times there’s implied masturbation in Michael Bay movies, versus the time there’s implied actual sex, it comes out pretty even stevens. Might even come down in favour of pulling the flagpole.

    I mean, the girl got preggers in PEARL HARBOR, but it was the forties. I don’t think people from that period actually knew what sex was. Unless they were Humphrey Bogart. He knew. Anyway, I’m assuming that Josh Hartnett just laid an egg and she absorbed it whole and it hatched inside her and burst out, ALIEN-style. Makes sense.

    TRANSFORMERS is all about the wanking. Technically Shia had Bumblebee and Megan Fox as love rivals for his affections, but I’m pretty sure that one wasn’t even close to being human, and the other was a talking transforming robot car. I guess there were plenty of jokes revolving around people getting pissed on, so if that’s what you count as “sex”, chalk one up in that column.

    THE ROCK had Sean Connery claiming that “winners go home and fuck the prom queen”. Don’t think he was referring to himself when he said it though. Honestly that movie was a total sausage-fest, I’d be surprised if anybody was getting laid at all in it.

    ARMAGEDDON had animal crackers. Yay. I’m pretty sure Affleck’s only other near-successful attempt at procreation ended up with Willis trying to shoot him with a shotgun. But at least the implied masturbation is kept to the (implied) wank-after-getting-thrown-out-of-strip-club scene.

    And THE ISLAND I can’t remember too much about because honestly I’ve blocked out most of that shitfest from my memory, but I certainly don’t remember clone-MacGregor and clone-Johansson ever getting it on. Not even sure if the clones know what sex is. There was of course an opportunity for ScarJo and clone-ScarJo to get some action, which was sadly never taken advantage of; but even if it had been, would it technically be sex or masturbation?

    How about BAD BOYS? Will Smith had a love interest in the first one, didn’t he? Can’t remember if anything ever actually happened there or if she just got kidnapped like all of Bay’s other third-billed love interests.

    I could of course be way off base with all of these because 1) it’s been at least five years since I’ve seen any of these movies, and 2) I may not be entirely sober right now.

  36. I was practically forced to go see this as I had no desire at all to go see it. As a kid I loved TMNT but it was definitely something that I left in my childhood and not a nostalgic love I kept into adulthood. Still I didn’t really want to see any Michael Bay influenced version of characters that I loved as a kid

    But I was actually pleasantly suprised. As Vern said, nowhere near to being a good movie but it was entertaining and I didn’t find it offensive. It had a stupid, but basic plot line and had basic begining, middle, climax and ending. Hell, Raphael even had a character arc!

  37. “Well there’s worse movies for kids” sounds like faint praise but that’s about all I can say about this one. It’s pretty perfunctory and really stupid, but I’d also take my hypothetical kids to this well before any Transformers movies. The violence is more playful and kid-appropriate and it’s not quite as sleazy and it’s not 5 hours long. There’s actual character building and storylines – I actually thought Raphael’s big monologue at the end was kind of awesome, and I was shocked, SHOCKED to find out he’s played by Alan Ritchson, best known as the Stifler-like Thad on Blue Mountain State (and micropenis guy on New Girl). I kinda laughed at the news that they’re planning a Bumblebee spin-off for Transformers, because it’s like “1) who the fuck cares about Bumblebee? and 2) does Bumblebee have an actual character? I honestly can’t tell you if he was even in the last one or not. Like I think he was but what about his unbreakable bond with Sam Witwicky? Anyways, the four TMNT’s are painted with broad strokes but I know them more after 100 minutes than I do the Transformers after 700 minutes or whatever it is (I might not be exaggerating)

    Sidenote: yeah it’s weird to see the plot rip off the entire scheme from Amazing Spiderman 1 (like, the EXACT same scheme) and I can’t believe it used the two most hated tropes in movies now – the magic blood bit and the “they used to know each other from long time ago” trope. Like I literally can’t think of one benefit to having Splinter and the turtles be April’s pets from childhood. Also the “bad guys killed my father! that was no accident!” trope but it was too much to care by then. Also, I too was confused by Will Arnett’s character – one minute the movie wants us to identify with him as the Ducky-like friendzoned nice guy, but then two seconds later it makes him into a Will Ferrell-buffoon who’s blasting Careless Whisper unironically and we’re supposed to laugh when the turtles blow up his car and don’t really apologize and then he literally disappears.

  38. Finally(?) caught up on this and while I don’t hate it as much as the rest of the internet seems to do, I agree that it might be the weakest live action Turtles joint to date (Although I have to watch the original part 3 again). But the REAL problem for me was the cinematography. I have no idea what it was, but there was something really annoying and not metaphorical headache inducing about it. Maybe it was the mix of close ups, constant Steadycam floating and dutch angles with a certain amount of handheld shaky cam. I don’t know. I haven’t felt so nauseaus after watching a movie, since my legendary encounter with THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM aka PAUL GREENGRASS DOESN’T GIVE A SHIT, although TMNT actually looked like a real movie and not some artsy video installation.

  39. (Random “Times have changed” note: In the 80s TMNT movie, they had to change a scene, in which some dude gets beaten to death by Shredder’s right hands man and let someone declare “He is still breathing! Call an ambulance!” to avoid an R rating! But in 2014 you can show in a PG 13 kids movie how the villains randomly gas a guy while he keeps screaming for help and then show a close up of his burnt face afterwards?)

  40. Took the nephews to see the new Ninja Turtles movie. I believe the term critic-proof was designed to describe this thing because if you don’t care about the Turtles, you will not like it but if you refuse to give up your childhood things and willingly go see it, you’ll probably enjoy it (note, I was a huge Turtles fan when I was young but was perfectly happy for them to stay in the past). As some one who felt the 2014 one was only okay but with a really awesome action scene on a mountain shoved towards the end, this one is more consistently good (by Turtle/Michael Bay-standards) but none of the action scenes (which ARE better) are as good as the mountain chase from the first one.

    All that said this one has a rhino driving a tank down a river, Tyler Perry giving a pretty great camp performance, and a climax where they fight a robot driven by a living brain thing (instead of a ninja like the last one) voiced by Brad Garrett. I’m mortal and have my limits, so I kind of liked the goofy-ass movie.

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