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‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Now With Less Ooze (Movie Review)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles TNWhen I think back to joys of my childhood some of my earliest thoughts of happiness revolve around family and sports, but quite honestly movies and comics.  Yep!  As a child, I had one wild imagination growing up and with no nearby childhood friends to play with I had to find ways to occupy my time and keep myself busy.  I swear I rehearsed that lightsaber duel as Luke Skywalker against Darth Vader in the Empire Strikes Back almost daily.  However, I digress because we are not here to talk Star Wars, but that of Ninja Turtles.  So remember, just five sentences ago I mentioned the word comics?  Yes!  Besides Groo, I can still remember those rated-R, crisp, black and white pages of those early Mirage Studios issues of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  That was 1984!  A lot has happened in the world of the four turtles since then, but possibly none more revolutionary than the casting of Megan Fox as April O’Neil in this newest onscreen reboot by Michael Bay’s production company, Platinum Dunes.

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I guess you can appropriately call this reboot of TMNT a science-fiction action film because of the infused subject matter in the screenplay.  It’s obviously based on the same premise of the original Laird and Eastman characters and whatnot with the sole exception that this one features The Transformer‘s Megan Fox and those thumbs everyone loves plus a heavy helping of CGI to go along with all of that.  It’s helmed by Jonathan Liebesman, who’s no stranger to action films, and includes other likeable stars such as Johnny Knoxville, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, William Fichtner, Will Arnett and more!  So if you are one of those who judges a book by its cover, then going into TMNT doesn’t look so bad, but how’s the inners read?!  That’s the question of the hour.  So let’s tackle that next!

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Cowabunga!  Let me pull the proverbial cat out of my make believe bag and declare that I had a hella good, fun time with this one!  While the action might be a little extreme for the young Nickelodeon audiences, rest assured even though it has Michael Bay’s name loosely attached to it, absent are all the boobs and balls remarks of the crappy Transformers series.  It’s also void of any swearing too.  After playing The Last of Us Remastered as of late I can’t tell you how refreshing that is.  And best of all…believe it or not…Megan Fox ain’t that bad in it either!  The chemistry between Arnett and her characters worked pretty well for the most part onscreen, but we’ll talk about that a little later.  I want to talk story right now.  While it’s a bit generic, and I’m not going to say it’s as impressive as last week’s Guardians was, I will concede to rate it as “above average” and quite frankly much better than I ever expected it to be.  Could it have been that my expectations about this were too low?  Maybe.  However, that’s what the second viewing on Blu-ray in four months will test.  And while it’s still a far cry from the original b&w comic series of my youth it was nice to see some homage and nostalgia mixed in with modern times and of course technology.  It’s also the first time you will ever hear me mutter the words that by golly I hope there’s a sequel to this TMNT film.  So yeah…it’s safe to say at the absolute minimum I found it both enjoyable, fun and quite the action pleaser when it wanted to be.

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I’m not the biggest fan of the first three TMNT films so when this one was announced, especially knowing that Nickolodeon held the rights to the property, I must admit that I didn’t exactly do cartwheels over the news.  I was excited to see Fox back within a feature film in a starring role, but my only glimmer of hope was maybe the CGI of nowadays could do a TMNT movie justice.  Thankfully, my wish came true on both accords.  And let’s face it, all those critics bashing this movie are either hateful for two reasons: Megan Fox got casted in it as the beloved April O’Neil or the fact that this Nickolodeon property already had three go arounds before and what more is there to offer because we all know the same story by now.  On the Fox front, let’s be honest with ourselves.  She is not the main reason that the second Transformers film sucked.  I could go on and on about all the problems there.  Don’t even get me started.  So having been a fan of Fox’s in Jennifer’s Body, I was eager to see her in another starring role outside of Passion Play.  God!  Want to talk about an awful movie?  However, it’s all the naysayers out there that are killing me in regards to the generic story template this movie takes.  It’s a summer blockbuster based on a kid’s show that’s been told over and over!  Get over it!  No matter how you slice, you can’t tell me you did not crack a smile at least once during this, can you?

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The story is simple.  First of all, it’s an origin story told with a slightly different twist that intertwines the characters, animals and humans, which I normally might not buy into on any other productions, but for some reason or another it worked rather well for me here.  Maybe it’s just because after three failed attempts I just wanted to see a TMNT movie I would be proud to own on Blu-ray and of course, want to watch it again.  I also mentioned how much I loved the playful chemistry between Fox and Arnett already, but I did not talk baddies yet so let’s do that.  There’s the Shredder!  And I’m going to stop there.  LOL.  To talk about the evil characters and what actors do what would be venturing into spoiler territory and homey don’t play that.  The trailer for this film promised me fun and that’s what I had.  Like a Ghost Rider film to most fans, I didn’t take the plot too seriously and it’s nothing more than your average run of the mill superhero venture, but nevertheless it’s a good time to be had and if you’re okay with your kids witnessing some fast ninja violence, then there’s nothing to fear here.  It’s a clean action adventure for you and your family to enjoy void of any obscenities or curse words that seem so prevalent in today’s PG-13 troupe.  And the CGI of the turtles (they did not look as stupid as I initially thought they did in the trailer) and the fluidity of the action sequences aren’t too shabby either.  So cowabunga!  Bring on Rocksteady and Bebop next please!  I’m ready to be shellshocked!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles Poster

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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