Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

teenagemutantninjaturtlesTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

  • Starring: Megan Fox (Transformers), Will Arnett (The LEGO Movie), William Fichtner (The Dark Knight) and more.
  • Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans, Battle: Los Angeles).
  • Synopsis: “Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles must work with fearless reporter April O’Neil and her cameraman Vern Fenwick to save the city and unravel Shredder’s diabolical plan.”
  • Rating: PG-13 for violence, suggestive material, brief language.
  • Must-Watch Trailer:
  • Review: (Okay…it’s more of a rant than a review!)

I used to defend Michael Bay. I mean, even when he took Transformers and ruined that childhood favorite of mine, at least he didn’t touch G.I. Joe, right? (That childhood fave got ruined by a couple other directors). Bay directed The Rock (which I enjoy) and The Island (which I liked) and Bad Boys and…sure, ok, Pearl Harbor and Armageddon…but we’ll leave those two alone. For some reason, Michael “bombastic” Bay decided to ruin Transformers further by giving us a fourth ridiculous one and, among it all, he decided to ruin another childhood favorite when he signed up to produce (not direct, however) a reboot for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpg

It was a day that the 10-year old boy inside every 20 or 30 or 40-year-old fan cried. We didn’t even have to see footage to already know that the film would be nowhere close to what we’d want it to be. Pretty much a guarantee. Reluctantly, I went with low expectations to watch the renaissance-named heroes in a half shell. Unfortunately, there is no ditch or canyon on this earth deep enough for me to describe how much lower my expectations should have been.tmn

Plainly put, the movie is bad! I’ve heard things from it being “shell-shockingly sad” to a “cowabummer.” And it’s all true. But, let me tell you…it’s not all Michael Bay’s fault. As a matter of fact, as the producer, I can only wonder exactly how much influence Bay had on the film aside from maybe his signature explosions, actors with less than questionable or unused talent and little to no meaningful plot. No, even without Bay, this film beats itself up.

Like Michelangelo, Leonardo and the other great sculptors and painters of the past, allow me to paint a picture for you of what was good and/or decent about the film first. Hopefully it will give you something to enjoy about it, if you can.

  1. The CGI. Admittedly, there have been some pretty bad CGI in a lot of movies and thankfully the motion capture technology used to create the turtles works very well in their favor. (Even if they do look a bit like Shrek on steroids)
  2. The fight scenes. They’re fun. Noisy, cantankerous, flashy, distracting. What you’d expect.
  3. The comedy. Though juvenile…they are teenagers afterall…it works to an extent and will get many laughs from the varying ages of the audience.
  4. The character/individuality of the heroes.

That’s about it.

Here’s what was wrong with the movie:


I’m not joking and I wish I was. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an unnecessary reboot and a film that teases fans with what could’ve been and instead is nothing but a disappointment.

From bad choices of voices for the characters to horrendously stale acting of the actual actors (Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner and Whoopi???)…tmntt…to the unbelievably wasted use of the villains in the film and the unknown and uncertain actual plot of said villains, to the lack of anything actually happening that makes you care about the characters to the amount of lack of tribute to the things that fans loved about the originals…there isn’t much to enjoy in this bad movie with a few good moments. (Quite the opposite when compared to another film in theaters right now focusing on a team of fighters who have jokes and work together to defeat evil.)

It’s an insult how Liebesman and Bay expect us to swallow this and call it yummy. I mean, I was willing to overlook the fact that the turtles are about gigantic in size and yet can slide through a 3 ft wide manhole into the sewer. I was willing to overlook the fact that Megan Fox is the “Shia LaBeouf” of this franchise. I was even willing to overlook the massive amount of product placement used once again in a Bay movie (i.e. Pizza Hut, Crush soda) and the clunky dialogue…

Samurai Scissorhands
Samurai Scissorhands

But there’s no overlooking the fact that this is not geared towards the long-term fans and is clearly made for the kids who won’t see the plot holes, won’t see the problems with the villains who ultimately have no real purpose, and won’t see the problem with this movie being full of fast moving turtles and silly fun one-liners. But for the adults…well, I smelt a rat and it wasn’t just Master Splinter.

Kids will like it. That’s the target audience as the film tends to really ignore the original fan base. There are moments that are fun and that will bring smiles and laughter, but they are few and far between. Mind-numbing action, mixed with a never-ending noisy soundtrack, paired up with “mutant ninja turtle teenagers” who can kick butt all day long but suddenly forget how to fight that way when facing the big foe and blended with some occasional fun jokes and forgettable funnies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a bust with a lot of fast-paced action in the middle of nothing really happening at all. Even the half-hearted attempts at tying in the character’s histories and emotions together ultimately fall victim to nonchalant indifference.tmntttt

The turtles may be green and you may be too after watching it…either green as in sick or green as in full Hulk-mode mad. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Far from turtle-power’s finest hour.tmnttt

My Score: 1 out of 5 stars for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


(Remember, to read this review of mine and over 300 more, check out THE ARCHIVE of movies I have reviewed anytime. Know before you go…or rent…or buy!)


Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer

up next: Review for Into the Storm


  1. I guess you could say, ‘its not that easy being green!’ 😀

    Thanks for the heads up about the movie. I will leave my childhood memories intact and uncorrupted. I’m sorry for your loss.


  2. Ok… lots of special effects, no plot, weak dialog that revolves around a few catchy one liners. Isn’t this the same argument I made about how horrible The Avengers was? With all the reboots you can’t walk in with the expectation that it will fulfill all your childhood fantasies. People rag on GI Joe for the same reason. Guys it’s not meant to appeal to us as fans it’s meant to draw a new generation into the fold. The Star Wars prequels not meant for older fans. I walked in expecting absolutely nothing and enjoyed the hell out of it. My son liked it and it was just a fun movie, though I would have liked to see more done with Raph’s injury. You have to remember last time there was a TMNT movie people were wearing parachute pants and Vanilla Ice wasn’t an industry joke. As for the size differences, look at the toys they are scaled up almost proportionately, but like most cgi movies they get bigger and smaller in different scenes. Frankly from reading your review it sounds like you went in at best a little biased and at worse angry and with a chip on your shoulder at the idea of a remake. Also Megan Fox hasn’t improved her acting at all, even in 3d it is one dimensional, revolving around her body. No body is perfect and no remake of a series or movie will be either. I will give you the voices they could have picked better voice actors.


  3. Hi T! I have a review from Ted I was going to post today before I learned about Robin Williams’ passing. He actually gave it a slightly higher rating than you which surprised me. I refuse to see this and nothing about it appeals to me, esp. Michael Bay’s involvement, ugh!


  4. I’m with you, T. Awful movie. The acting was horrible and the script did no one any favors. But to me the worst thing is the lack of identity. It’s a kiddie movie that they beefed up just enough to make it inappropriate for a lot of kids and at the same time forced it to be considered in a different light. I think if it was PG (and if the studio had pushed for it to get the PG) it would’ve made even more money and most critics would have judged it a bit less harshly. It still wouldn’t be good but at least it would be focused whereas as is, it feels like it’s just riding the fence. Bah.


  5. I was a bit kinder to it than you, and I will argue with you a bit on the product placement, there were only a couple instances of Pizza Hut in the beginning then they pretty much went away, even Today I Watched a Movie who keeps an eye out for that stuff gave it a 3 out of 3 for product placement, though I think it bordered on a 2. I totally agree with the stuff that you did enjoy about this movie, it just got a lot more mileage out of me than it did you.


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