TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEM is exactly what I hoped we’d start seeing after SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE: more animated features feeling they have permission to go wild with their visual styles. Directors Jeff Rowe and Keyler Spears already took the baton and ran with it two years ago in THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES; MUTANT MAYHEM shares that film’s anarchic doodles-on-your-notebook spirit and preference for cartoonish exaggeration. But this time they’ve largely abandoned three-dimensional computer animation’s longstanding quest for realistic textures in favor of artistic flair. Not only the backgrounds, but even the characters look like energetic oil pastel sketches. Even objects that appear tactile are covered in lines, squiggles, smears. Light-colored scratches on swaths of black give the impression of reflections or lights, but also of lines drawn by human hands. Computerized precision takes a back seat to creative looseness and chaos. Every frame looks like the concept art that you see in the making-of coffee table books, as if they somehow removed that final step that polishes things but inevitably loses some of their personality. The personality is intact.
It’s also like SPIDER-VERSE in that it’s a fun animated all ages super hero tale with plenty of laughs, good music, and some emotional substance. And until we have too many of those, I enjoy that too. (read the rest of this shit…)