Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Poster for 2014 action reboot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Genre: Action
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 17th October 2014
Runtime: 101 minutes
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Writer: Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, Evan Daugherty
Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Johnny Knoxville, Tony Shalhoub, Noel Fisher, Whoopi Goldberg
Synopsis: A team of vigilante turtles battles an evil group of criminals by teaming with an idealistic journalist.



The latest reboot for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise set alarm bells ringing almost from the moment it was announced. Michael Bay was a prominent figure in the early stages of the project – he’s one of the producers – and Megan Fox had been cast as the iconic, kickass journalist April O’Neil. Now that the film has seen the light of day, pretty much all of those fears have proven completely and utterly justified.

April O’Neil (Fox) is chasing the story of the villainous Foot Clan, with the help of her faithful cameraman (Will Arnett). One night, she follows a vigilante from the scene and discovers a group of talking, man-sized turtles, led by Leonardo (Johnny Knoxville) and their mentor Splinter (Tony Shalhoub). Alongside the turtles, O’Neil battles the Foot Clan as they attempt to enact a plan that threatens the future of everyone in New York City.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is, unfortunately, nothing more than shameless garbage. It has evidently only been made to cash in on the nostalgia of adults and the merchandise marketability of the central characters. As a result, no effort has been put into crafting a worthwhile story or a script containing anything approaching nuance.

| "We were created as weapons, and we knew the world would never accept us… but one day, it would need us."

Despite the fact that it’s Jonathan Liebesman who is nominally in the director’s chair, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles feels like it has the DNA of a Michael Bay movie running through its veins. From its casual sexism and lame-brained stabs at humour to its aggressively noisy action sequences, it’s a generic slice of rather pitiful Bayhem.

It doesn’t help that the film’s cast are a long way from being at full power. Megan Fox is reduced to nothing more than a pretty face who spouts exposition, and the titular heroes are rendered irritating by their constant, laboured attempts at “banter” and the infuriating voice performances.

It’s depressing just how little effort appears to have been put into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There’s very little in the way of surprising or interesting plot development, with narrative turns either blindingly obvious or bafflingly implausible. The film is a perfect example of the modern trend for every major blockbuster coming with weird, knotty backstory that ties every strand of the plot together, whether it makes sense or not.

| "People want justice restored to this world. People want heroes."

And that’s before you get to the hideous product placement. Michael Bay gets his now-standard plug for Victoria Secret in there at the end, but the worst thing is the constant, unsubtle advertising for Pizza Hut which runs throughout the entire movie.

Despite its box office success, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an utterly terrible film. It manages to take a really cool franchise and make it exactly the same as everything else.


Pop or Poop?

Rating: Poop!

In the hands of Michael Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise has become crass, leery and simply boring.

The acting is subpar, the script is horrific and irritating product placement bleeds into almost every frame.


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