If I told you a film starred Megan Fox, was produced by Michael Bay and was directed by the guy behind “Battle Los Angeles”, you would probably not be interested. But wait! What if I also tell you that the very same movie was produced by Nickelodeon Studios? Interested now? If you’re over the age of eight, the answer is hopefully no, and the very film I just described to you is “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is based off the classic characters and follows them as they take on their first big challenge: The Shredder. That’s pretty much the extent of the plot of the film; giant talking turtles fighting a giant metal robot. Should be fun, right? (It’s not, though). Megan Fox, Will Arnett and William Fichtner star in non-reptile roles as Jonathan Liebesman directs.
I don’t think there’s a single person who thought this film was going to be good. First it took forever to get into production, and then Michael Bay annoyed everyone by saying the Turtles weren’t mutant but were actually aliens. And then there’s the fact that every film the director has made has a 5.8 on IMDb. Seems like there were a lot of red flags, and that was before the film’s awful trailer even debuted. If you’re waiting for a “however”, then don’t hold your breath; this film is every bit as not good as expected.
First things first the script is beyond bland. Every character in this film is a typecast, just a stereotypical personality that are found in most summer films. There’s the hot coworker who keeps asking the main character out, the boss who doesn’t believe the main character’s crazy story, and the reporter who wants bigger and better stories. People’s characterization is literally learned by lines by other characters (“you’re the most persistent person I’ve ever met, you know that?”)
There are aspects to “TMNT” that are head-scratchingly lazy. The film begins on the first day of spring, yet two scenes later the main character is at a snow-coated resort after a 20 minute drive from New York City. Why couldn’t the film take place in winter and erase this problem? I’m not sure, but what I am sure of is that I just put more time into thinking about this script than the writers did.
Oh, and the villain’s plot in this film is literally that of The Lizard’s in “The Amazing Spider-Man”, right down to infecting New York City with a chemical weapon by using a large antenna on top of a company’s skyscraper. Like I said. Lazy.
The action scenes, for the most part, are well-shot so I will give the film props where due. It is some fun seeing giant turtles throw human beings like they’re ragdolls into moving subway cars and trees, and the film does a good job at putting this on screen. However none of the action is engaging; it all feels contrived.
The Turtles really aren’t even the stars of the film, at least not for the first half. That honor falls into Megan Fox’s lap, and she does what she does best: gives a performance just passable enough to make us not hate her. When the Turtles do start to get screen time, it’s just potty humor and fan service references, neither of which work for a 20-year-old guy like me with limited Ninja Turtle knowledge.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” isn’t an awful movie, and it is not the pop-culture mockery many feared, but it is by no means good and is just barely watchable. A lot of the time the film is boring, and when it’s not boring it will still be so not fun that it will make you ask yourself: “what the actual shell am I watching?”
Critics Rating: 4/10