Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
by George Wolf
So, what’s this movie about?
Teenage. Mutant. Ninja. Turtles.
OK, not much gray area in that title, but it does sound fun.
It could have been, but producer Michael Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman can’t find a balance between Saturday morning sensibilities and adult superhero action.
There’s a serious origin story, as we see how the four massive turtles (and their wise sensai, a rat) come to live under the streets of New York City, battling a crime syndicate known as the Foot Clan.
Young TV reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) catches a glimpse of the secretive vigilantes in action, and instantly knows that unmasking them is the big story that will propel her career.
The turtles themselves still love pizza and make wisecracks, but these moments of silliness and self-aware humor seem meant for a different film. The plot that surrounds the young ninjas is full of cartoon obviousness played overly straight, with no hint of the tongue-in-cheek attitude it sorely needs.
In short, where’s the fun? The tech-savvy, 3D action sequences may be big and loud, but they’re also dull, confusing and instantly forgettable. It isn’t long before this film feels too long.
The idea of a big-budget TMNT reboot works, both on a nostalgia level and as a business model aimed at today’s kids.
Maybe it should have stayed an idea, because it lands on the big screen with a big, green, slimy thud.