Directors: Jonathon Liebsman
Cast: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Johnny Knoxville, Noel Fisher, Tony Shalhoub, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson
Running Time: 101 mins
Release Date: October 17th
An evil group of criminals known as The Foot have been terrorising New York City and stealing strategically valuable items in an effort to bolster their plans to take the city in the name of their leader, Shredder. When TV news reporter April O’Neill (Fox), who usually covers outdoor aerobics, stumbles across a foot clan robbery, she witnesses something that she simply cannot explain. When she brings the story of a vigilante working by night to save the city to her editor she’s laughed out of the building. A second encounter reveals that the vigilante heroes she has been seeking are in fact a group of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (See what I did there?) With the city under siege and plans afoot to release a deadly toxin, it us up to the juvenile heroes to save New York with the help of a number of branded products carefully placed to ensure they get more screen time than Fox’s chest.
There are few of us, in our mid thirties, who can escape the original version of the TMNT. As children we could identify with the differing personalities; there was always an angry one, a Raphael; or an intelligent one, a Donatello and Liebesman has managed to recreate the personalities very well. There is a familiarity that isn’t hard to deliver, but not delivered would have fans screaming from the rooftops. In addition to this, the motion capture of the Turtles is top drawer and the CGI used to create them also delivers the goods. Box ticked on that front, followed by epic failure in the delivery of a baddie that we never get to know or understand. It is taken for granted that everyone will know about Shredder so there’s no real need to flesh out his background or give him motive. Wrong. You can argue you don’t need to know, because it’s a film about mutant turtles with ninja skills, but if you are reimagining a franchise then you really do need to know.
That Megan Fox is a talentless waste of space is one of those things we just take for granted these days and she doesn’t let us down as she brings another vacuous and boring performance to the screen. Add to this the utter waste of Will Arnett and it makes it even harder to watch the pair of them on screen together. Arnett is one of the most talented comic actors in TV and film and he doesn’t get a sniff of a laugh throughout, it is painful.
Product placement has become commonplace in film and television, you don’t let it get to you and it normally fades into the background. Unfortunately in this case you simply cannot escape the products that fill large amounts of the screen and in one particular scene shamelessly plug a pizza, going as far as listing the ingredients. Given the fact that the Turtles love pizza,a it was an obvious way to get some extra cash in the door, but it’s still unforgivably bad.
Having delivered the Turtles so well, Shredder’s suit/costume is pretty shoddy — that said the fight scenes with the Turtles are shot well and the climactic battle is quite good. The fact that it is shot in daylight rather than darkness – like most of its competitors in this genre – is a welcome change.
The product placement will induce rage in anyone over the age of 18 and the lack of a good quality Vanilla Ice soundtrack doesn’t help, but NYC looks stunning throughout and the final showdown is decent. There is good and bad on show throughout, but in terms of big screen CG heavy superhero blockbusters it doesn’t measure up. Don’t Go Ninja Go.