Hello, Spongey here,
Before we began, I must apologize for not having a full review for X-Men: Apocalypse last week. It ended up being one of those movies I couldn’t do a full fair review for. I wrote something quick about if you are curious about my opinions:
Again, sorry about that. But hopefully this can make up for it, as we enter June and officially begin Summer Movie Season. What better way to start it with than with turtles?!
There are some franchises that seem to always be there, and I never thought that one of those titles, along with stuff like Batman and Superman, would be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I mean, it’s just an odd concept that became mildly popular.
Surely it would just be a dumb fad. Nope. This series has lasted long enough to have a live action trilogy, 3 major cartoons, a live action show, and now a live action reboot film franchise.
That’s crazy for something like this. But there is oddly enough a charm to the whole thing. The 80’s Cartoon is cheesy so creative and innocent, that it’s hard to really hate. The 1990 film is honestly better than it needed to be, taking itself mostly serious worth amazing costumes and animatronics.’
You get the point, there’s a been a lot of versions of these guys, some better than others. We’ll get more into the franchise when I do a Look at the 2012 series later this year. (SHAMELESS PLUG).
For now let’s get into the latest entry in the franchise, which takes us back to 2014 with the big reboot. You all know the history, with people being angry over odd decisions them somehow thinking a producer is a director.
Some of it was kind of warranted, most of it was not. In the end, the film got mixed to negative reviews, with some just shrugging it off, and others calling it worse than it really was. Now if you want my opinion, it was…okay.
Yeah, could have been a lot worse, but also a lot better. I liked most of the action scenes, the Turtles were realized fine, and there was some cool moments. But at the same time, some guy no one cares about is given more screentime than Shredder, Vern was Vern In Name Only, and the whole thing felt a bit too standard, not taking a lot of risks.
The 1990 film has it’s share of flaws, but nothing like it was out at the time, so it was acceptable. Not so much in 2014, when we’ve had tons of versions that did new things. I get that you don’t want to piss off fanboys, but as long as you make changes that make sense, people will see it.
So yeah, the movie was just okay. A somewhat serviceable Summer blockbuster, but it could have been better in some aspects. It made quite a bit of money, so of course we are here with a sequel.
The director has been changed from the guy behind Wrath of the Titans, to the guy behind Earth to Echo. Eh, still a better track record than Leibsman. For out writers, we just got rid of one, leaving people behind Mission Impossible 4’s script. If you are wondering, the writer they left behind did Divergent.
This sequel has been getting some decent buzz, as the trailer showed hints of them learning their lesson. They added some fan favorite characters, and it seemed to a bit more fun compared to the original.
Because of this, I was kind of looking forward to it. Now the early Critic Reviews aren’t the best but…TMNT movies never get good review, not even the 1990 film. Even as a fan of the franchise, I’ll admit not exactly Critic friendly.
Besides, it’s clear the Critics don’t agree often anyway. With that, I’m cautiously optimistic for this one. And with a conveniently timed pre screening, I’ll be able to put up this review earlier than usual!
So can these heroes in a half shell give us a decent flick or is it just a Cowa-fucking piece of dog shit? Let’s find out…but if there’s no Vanilla Ice, automatic 0/10.
This, is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
When you think about it, the production one of the more important elements in this film. I mean, the main characters are in CGI, and are in at least 80 percent of the film. So the film has to look good, and it does.
First off, they got rid of that yellow tint, so everything is a lot more colorful this time. While I do agree that the Turtles faces look a bit off, they mostly are done well. They look like they are really there, and their designs are especially solid here.
They touched them up to look a bit nicer, and their movements are solid. Splinter also looks way better, and Bebop and Rocksteady look perfect. Krang is a bit more mixed. He looks mostly okay, but …i don’t know, he kind of looks like a ball sack sometimes, and that’s a bit distracting.
And of course, the action scenes are good. While they won’t blow you away, parts like the plane scene and the fight in the parking garage have a lot of energy to them and are quite enjoyable.
Overall, the film looks nice. Some creatures don’t look the best, and not every action sequence is great, but it’s mostly solid. Also, the credits has an awesome remix of the theme song, and it made me leave the screening with a smile on my face.
So regardless if the rest is any good, at least the effects artists did a good job.
The Turtles come into conflict with T.C.R.I. scientist Dr. Baxter Stockman and the return of their enemy, The Shredder, who has hired Stockman to create mutants of his own in the form of Bebop and Rocksteady to even the score, during which the Turtles discover a Retro-Mutagen in hopes they can become humans following an extraterrestrial invasion above New York City led by the Dimension X inhabitant known as Krang.
Let’s face it, the writing in a Ninja Turtles product is rarely the highlight, especially in the movies. You will usually get a basic story, and nothing too complex at all. Really, all you can ask for is the writers to respect their audience, or know exactly what it’s trying to be.
With all that said, I have to say that the writing for the most part…does just that. Yeah, I’m going to say it…i enjoyed this one. Now, this is not great or smart, by any stretch of the imaginatigon. I like it more for the entertainment value than the actual writing.
So let’s start with the main negatives. While this isn’t a huge deal, the story is farely basic. That summary is as complex is it gets. This is a good thing in a way, but if you wanted a mor mature story, you won’t get that.
This movie has quite bit to juggle with Shredder’s Return, Casey Jones, Bebop and Rockstead, and various other things. Some of it is worked in well enough, while some stuff feels undercooked.
Sometimes I’ll forgot someone was even in this, especially with people like Baxter Stockman and Krang, but more on them later. That’s actually my biggest problem, some elements just don’t get a lot of time to play out. Of course, there are plot holes and other minor things. Chances are, you will be confused if you’re not too familiar with the franchise.
Krang is a good example. There is no build up to him, he just shows up and explains his plan, you’re just supposed to accept that some brain alien wants Shredder’s help. If you know of Krang and his whole deal, this isn’t a big deal, but if you don’t, then you will be lost.
Just saying, stuff like that could have been written better. Oh, and the ending is abrupt.. As in, once the bad guy is stopped, the movie just kind of ends there. Not a big deal but it is a flaw. With that out of the way, onto the positives.
The tone is much better this time. The 2014 one was mostly goofy, but sometimes it couldn’t decided how serious it wanted to be. But this one knows what it wants to be: A Cartoon. And that’s exactly what it is.
It’s big, goofy, and full of jokes, and most of it works. There’s a sense of fun that makes it enjoyable to get through. Some jokes fail, but most work, even some cheesier ones. There’s also nice Easter Eggs, like a…Vanilla Ice reference!
Whoa, I was joking when I said that, nice!
There’s also a small emotional core in this one, with the turtles wanted to be accepted. It doesn’t amount to a lot, but at least it’s there and leads to some nice moments. In the end, there’s nothing here that will blow you away, but it knows what it wants to be.
It’s kind of hard to explain but there’s an entertainment value to this one. The script is never that smart, but it’s mostly even with what it does, and manages to have amusing moments. The script is about what it needs to be.
There could have been improvements, but I’ll take what I can get. So while the writing can often be messy, there’s a sense of fun to it that makes it mostly passable in the end.
This franchise is known for memorable characters, and for them most part this sequel does them okay. Sort of. Remember how I said the production was important? It is, as the CGI charecters are mostly good, while the actual actors are underused sometimes.
First up is, of course, the Ninja Turtles themselves. We have Leonardo (voiced by Pete Ploszek), Donatello (voiced by Jeremy Howard), Raphel, (voiced by Alan Ritchson), and Michealngo, voiced by Noel Fisher. They are easily the best part of the film, which is good as it’s mostly about them.
You get a good taste of their personalities and they work off each other really well. Before there’s even a single action scene, you mostly just see them talking and it works. Each actors helps bring them to life as well.
They weren’t too complex, but they each stand out in their own way. It’s like in some of the other films, where they all act the same, they each stand out. While not every joke with them works, they are wonderful for the most part.
Then there’s their master, Splinter, voiced by Tony Shalhoub. While he was just kind of there in the first film, he stands out more here. He’s a solid mentor and gets some nice speechs. He doesn’t kick as much ass, but he’s still solid here.
Then we have Krang, voiced by Brad Garret. He’s…okay. He really doens’t get a lot to do, so he’s not nearly as much fun as he was in the cartoon. He works okay ,but he could have been better.
Then we have Bebop and Rocksteady, played by Gary Antony Williams and Sheamus. After so long, it is beyond satisfying to see these two and the big screen, and they are the other highlight. They have very good chemistry and are just fun to watch as both humans and mutants.
They are just solid and well portrayed all the way through. This takes us to the actual actors, and they are mostly fine, but not used too well most of the time.
First is April O Neil, played by Megan Fox. Oh the controversy that casting choice called. As a character, they made her better here. She was written okay the first time, being more proactive, but sometimes she took up too much screen time.
That’s mostly fixed here, and she seems a lot smart and closer to April, even if she doesn’t have to be saved too much. As for Megan Fox…honestly, she’s at least TRYING, and she is better here. She has some charm in some parts, and while I can’t she’s all that good, she’s at least trying a lot harder her. Still not the best choice, but at least…kind of passable here. Also, while there was little fanservice the first time, there is a bit more here, but thankfully that dumb thing in the trailer is all we got.
…But it’s still so dumb and forced. It’s even pointless to boot! But yeah, she’s mostly okay.
That leads us to Casey Jones, played by Stephen Ammel. He’s…okay. This is his origin so he’s not fully realized, which means here, he’s not really Casey. He’s some guy that wears a hockey mask ONCE in the whole thing.
He’s fine enough to be passable, but he just isn’t that interesting, and there’s not even much of a romance with him and April. Mikey’s comment is as deep as it goes. He’s okay, but underused in terms of how he is.
Then we have Baxter Stockman, played by Tyler Perry. Perry actually does a good job with his goofy side, nad slightly more serious…but he’s underused. He helps Shredder and that’s about it. After he’s betrayed (spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen anything with him in it), he pretty much vanishes.
Which is a shame, because I mostly liked him okay.
Next is Vern, played by Will Arnet. He’s…meh, just like the first film. He’s kind of amusing on his own, but he’s mostly useless, and nothing like he was in the cartoon. He’s weaker here because he adds nothing. He’s not bad, just useless.
And finally, we have The Shredder, played by Brian Tee. Compared to the first film, he stands out more and is menacing. But he’s nothing great, really. He’s a serviceable villain, but not the bet. Honestly, my fave Shredder will always be the 80’s one.
Yeah, he’s not as badass but damn is he always hilarious. But hey, for a serious Shredder, this one is fine. Oh, and once again, he’s defeated lamely. The climax is fine mostly, but his defeat is so lame.
At least he wasn’t crushed by wood this time.
(Oh, and Karai exists, and Laura Liney has a small role but they are so small here that they weren’t worth going into)
The characters can be on the mixed side, as some are underused or mixed, but the ones that need to work, work fairly well enough, I think.
Overall, I honestly enjoyed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. It’s not great by any means with writing that can be a bit weak with juggling all the elements, and some underused characters.
But it still manages to be enjoyable by knowing what it is, a greater focus on the Turtles, some well done characters, and solid action scenes. It is no way for everyone, and not even THAT good. I just happened to enjoy it.
I just thought it was a fun flick and it’s clear they put a lot more effort into this one. It’s a dumb fun Summer blockbuster, nothing more than that. If are a kid, or a fan of the 80’s Cartoon, you will likely enjoy this for the most part. If you are looking for more, or are not in those camps, you will likely be lost, which is fine.
It has actual problems, but for what it is, it works fine. The 1990 film is still my favorite, but maybe this can be 2nd best, at least tied with Secret of the Ooze. Sorry, nothing can top Vanilla Ice actually being there.
I’m sure people will disagree with me, and I will admit it’s nothing I’ll ever watch again, but for my one viewing, it was a mostly okay experience. If you know what you are getting into, you will enjoy it fine.
It didn’t need to be anything more than a fun Turtles film and that is what it is. Disagree all you want, but I mostly enjoyed this.
I imagine I’ll get comments for this one. Either way, not sure if I’ll be here next week for the next video game movie, but I will at least be here in two weeks to see if we can find Dory.