Okay, here’s where the comparisons will be many and a lot, ’cause there’s no way I can review this impartially, with it being a well established franchise alongside my heavy fanboy-isms. So without further ado, I give to you….
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…. well, they’re not aliens, so that’s a pretty good start. I’m not gonna go too deep into the premise because you all know it by now. Four mutated Turtle-ninjas fighting the Shredder, that’s it…. with a few new twists and angles to the source material, but that’s pretty much a fact when it comes to Michael Bay. Most of you already knows how I feel toward that guy, so let’s get this right off the bat. What Michael Bay did to the Transformers-franchise was to me an abomination to all things fan-favorite. He ripped out what was once pure awesomeness and replaced it with a semi-decent actionfilm (for those who aren’t die hard-fans of the G1-series, that is). Yes, he did bring back Peter Cullen as Optimus, but that’s also the only good thing about it, so naturally, going in to this film I wasn’t expecting much. I kept my expectations as low as possible. And lo and behold, it wasn’t as big a mess I thought it would be, but I accredit that to the fact that Bay was only producing here, not directing, so hats off to Jonathan Liebesman for keeping this part of my childhood/youth/ongoing adulthood alive.
But as I said, it’s extremely hard not to compare this one to the 1990-film, which I watched just a few weeks ago in anticipation of this one, so I’m gonna list a few things in that manner that I thought about during the film and first off is April O’Neil. Judith Hoag (1990) did as far as I think a much better job of portraying the puts-her-nose-way-to-far-into-others-business reporter than Megan Fox… I’m sorry, Samiches (2014) could ever have done. Why she was cast in this I have no idea. There’s been a lot of her talking about being a huge fan of the Turtles growing up but as a die-hard fan myself, everytime I hear her uttering those things I get a shiver of barf going through my entire body. It’s so obvious she’s only saying those things because whoever she laid with told her so. No, I’m sad that the movie didn’t kill her off right of the bat, no matter how yellow her jacket is (because Judith had one too!)!
Next up, we have (probably) the only New York-rat we would ever welcome into our homes, Splinter. In the 1990-film, we got a very old, very wise sensei, holding back from all the fighting and dishing out advice when needed. In this latest installment, we have a strict, reprimanding parent who’s more than welcoming a good rumble. Yeah, this part I actually loved. This new version of Splinter is kicking just as much ass as he always have in the cartoons and comics. Kudos to whoever decided that, ’cause it was awesome to watch in the same way it was awesome (if only the rest of’em was as good) it was to watch Yoda kick ass in the Star Wars-prequels. The kid in me jump 15ft in the air during those scenes. I also liked the way they actually made him look more like a rat more than a mangy dog, so I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that Splinter (voiced by Tony Shalhoub) was my favorite part of the movie.
When it comes to the Shredder……. well, I don’t think there’s nothing I could say really, that hasn’t already been said. They gave him a Edge of Tomorrow meets Transformers meets Robotech-makeover or… I don’t know. This I can say however, that I liked how he was portrayed in the beginning, as a dark man shrouded in mystery, working behind the cogs and all that, but as soon as he puts on that Mecha-armor of his, nah, I wasn’t at all impressed. I think it’s pretty safe to say that they gave him that design strictly for the toy. Or maybe Bay has a hard-on for stuff that looks way overcompensating? Yeah, that’ll be the definitive reason. You heard it here first, ladies and germs, Michael Bay gets his rocks off by giant metal-weapons! Drop dead (pun intended)….. that last one was a reference to the movie, not something toward Bay himself, I’m not that angry with him….
Finally we have the (main?) characters, our Mutated heroes in half-shells, the Turtles. Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Donatello and Raphael. This was another thing I actually kinda liked. Sure, there was no Corey Feldman this time around, but the voicing for these four variations was actually pretty good, but as always when it comes to the turtles, there is one that will stand out the most and this time it wasn’t Mikey (what? Not Mikey?!)… this time it was Raphael. Alan Ritchson delivered the perfect blend of corny, rampant and angry and stood out among the four like nothing I’ve heard when it comes to the Turtles. As far as Johnny Knoxville’s Leonardo, Noel Fisher’s Mikey and Jeremy Howard’s Donatello, they were good but not as good as Ritchson (yeah, I’m probably kinda bias about this, with him being a favorite of mine, but I don’t care… he rocked!), so I’m hoping he would return for the sequel at least. When it comes to the designs of the turtles, there wasn’t really that much to complain about either. Sure, they were huge, I give’em that but the only thing that really bothered me (somewhat) was their outfits? For example; Why give Donny glasses? The fact that he was the nerd was pretty obvious without them. Another example; What’s up with Leo’s waikiki-looking chest-thingy? Totally unnecessary if you ask me. But again, they gotta stand out from the old toys, probably. I keep wonder, though… what if they had gone with practical effects like in the old one instead of CGI, could they have made them look better or was CGI the right way to go? Well, we’ll never know on that one….
Well, I’ve thought about the characters enough, now to the movie as it stands with story, effects and all that, shall we…
First off, I wanna say that the fact that we’re given the backstory straight off was great. It would’ve been awesome if they weren’t gonna give it again later on, but that’s nitpicking, and Splinter’s (Shalhoub) narrating was eery and gritty, setting up the tone for the rest of the film…. or at least that’s what we’re supposed to think. The over-all tone of this film was just like anything else attached to the name of Bay. Nothing more, nothing less, it was a Bay-film (with a touch of Liebesman on the side). The story was pretty basic, an evil genius trying to take over the city and our Turtles have to stop him. Nothing new, but as I said earlier, they gave it a few twists from the source material, making it feel a little fresher, but I’m pretty sure that it would have been just as OKAY a film if they stayed true to it.
The effects were as one would imagine with Bay, bombastic and over the top from start to finish. Sure, it’s awesome to see in the theater but not so much at home unless you’re a proud owner of a home theater-system. Accompanied with the awesomeness that is bass, this was a movie that’s completely worth the admittance-price in the theater, but as I am a die-hard fan of the franchise, I won’t see it again until it hits the shelves.
As far as the movie goes as a whole, I wasn’t at all disappointed, but I can attribute that a little bit (at least) to the fact that I kept my expectations as low as I did. But all in all it was a good movie experience and my hopes for a sequel is much bigger than they ever were for the Transformers-franchise. The movie gets the ‘Tango’s Stamp of Approval’, it does, but it’s mostly because I wasn’t as let down as I thought I’d would be. But hey, if you haven’t seen it, I suggest you do it, because even with my 3 – 3.5 rating (1-10), I still think it’s worth the admittance.
Tomorrow is a new day, maybe I’ll write something, maybe I won’t but in the meantime, why don’t you spread this one around for me. Thanks! Deadpool needs an R-rating!! #TeamRratedDeadpool