Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles review: Turtle power? More like turtle glower
At The Movies
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS: 3D
Directed By Dave Green
Starring Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Tyler Perry, Laura Linney, Brian Tee, Stephen Amell, William Fichtner
Voiced By Jeremy Howard, Noel Fisher, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Tony Shalhoub
Paramount, Rated PG-13, Fantasy, 112 minutes
The newest installment of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is made with 10-year-old boys in mind; but as for the rest of us, the film defies explanation.
As the film opens, investigative journalist April O’Neil (Megan Fox) calls the boys, er, I mean turtles, to report she is hot on the trail of scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry), an evil talent working to help uber-villain Shredder (Brian Tee), break out of prison.
To discover their plan, April uses a hacking device to steal data from the scientist’s phone. She accomplishes this by pretending to be attracted to the chubby, somewhat giddy scientist.
Determined to follow the trail wherever it leads, April next shoplifts articles of clothing that constitute a sexpot school girl outfit (short plaid skirt, thigh-high black stockings, heels, and a midriff baring blouse).
She poses as a harmless bimbo, thereby also fooling her next male quarry. So far, the film demonstrates a preference for insisting that a girl’s power lies in flaunting her sexuality to get what she wants.
Meanwhile, the four turtle brothers (rendered in CGI and named for Renaissance painters), continue their life hidden in the sewers, where they use its caverns to hone their video-gamer skills, practice their Ninja craft and eat all the pizza they can get.
They are Donatello who goes by Donnie (voice of Jeremy Howard), Michelangelo or Michael (Noel Fisher), Leonardo or Leo (Pete Ploszek) and Raphael or Raf (Alan Ritchson). When not fighting crime, the teen turtles emerge nightly to frolic on the city’s rooftops, or lately, to complain that remaining hidden means they get no recognition or rewards, for their crime-fighting work.
To prevent Shredder’s planned prison break during his transport to a different facility, the turtles arrive in a tricked-out garbage truck fashioned with huge mechanical nunchucks. They are poised to stop Shredder, but drat!, he is whisked away by a teleportation device.
Having this device causes us to wonder why Shredder also required dozens of black-suited motorcyclists and drivers for a half dozen Hummers to attack the prison convoy.
The answer … this passage exists to showcase lots of things that crash and go boom. It’s a fairly entertaining CGI-live action setpiece, creating an atmosphere of raucous fun over which the turtles bicker and wisecrack.
Next, the goofy plot finds Shredder naively colluding with alien-villain Krang, and following Krang’s instructions to gather pieces to assemble a wormhole-making machine that will transport Krang from another dimension to our planet.
Meanwhile, Shredder obtains a serum capable of changing people into hybrid animals. He uses it to change a pair of dumbo prisoners into Rhino and Rocksteady.
The ugly pair consists of a cross between a human and a rhino and also a human-warthog cross. They’ve got lots of brawn, but are easily defeated due to their very tiny brains.
April defeats them to obtain a sample of the serum for Donatello. Being the techno-turtle, Donnie reasons he can re-engineer the serum to make the turtles appear more human.
This silly subplot divides the turtles into those for and against the idea, along the same lines as those in the group wishing to gain recognition for their crime-fighting prowess.
It’s the age-old superhero dilemma. True identities are shielded to protect a hero’s world-saving activities from both ill and well-intentioned interference. Eventually the turtles do come “out of the shadows,” so we’ll soon be finding out how well they hold up under public scrutiny
I hope they’ll be as sorry about their decision as many of us are about paying good money to see this film.