The Ninjabot


Posted on August 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm by David "Snackbar" Edmundson


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has a severe identity crisis. On one hand it’s reaching for the Transformers market and it’s buckets of cash, and on the other it is aiming for the Nickelodeon audience with their buckets of cash. Their goal, it appears is to grab two buckets of cash, but when you try to please both camps, can you really please either?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (or TMNT as it will appear henceforth) reboots the film portion of the immensely popular franchise that already includes 3 prior films, a toyline, a comic book, and at least 3 television show. It tells the tale of four mutated turtles and their sensei as they try to save their city from the evil Shredder. We all know the story, and this re-telling isn’t trying to do anything enormously different. What it does do, is really nail down the essence of each turtle. Leonardo (Johny Knoxville) is the stern no-nonsense leader, Donatello (Jeremy Howard) is the computer/gadget nerd, Raphael (Alan Ritchson) is a rugged bad-ass, and Michelangelo (Noel Fisher) steals the show as the laid back life of any party.


It’s because of the faithful recreation of the team’s core dynamics that makes TMNT work. Sure there are glaring plot holes and story inconsistencies, but what would you expect from a film starring six-foot tall anthropomorphic turtles who do Ninjutsu. The inter webs have nitpicked this film to death,and the loudest cries are coming from the “Turtles have nostrils” camp.

I’ll talk about Nostril-gate and the people making a big deal out of it. You’re all idiots! These characters are walking, talking, pizza-eating, weapon-wielding turtles. If you can look past all of that, then surely you can live with the concept that these turtles can breathe through their noses. I was a huge fan of the original cartoon and had all the toys, and I had no problem with the design choice.


As far as the turtle’s looks go, I was excited to see they all looked visually different. I got the feeling that I would be able to tell them apart even if they didn’t have their signature color coated masks. The film’s villain Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) also received a nice upgrade in this film. He is even more menacing and has a whole new set of tricks in his shiny new suit of death. The action in the film is a lot of fun, and it’s nice to see the turtles using their shells as weapons, shields, and something to ride on.

Rounding out the human cast is Megan Fox as April O’Neil, who doesn’t really add anything to the film except when we get a gratuitous butt-shot while she hangs out of an 18-wheeler, but she also don’t bring the film down at all. Will Arnett plays April’s Camera man Venron Fenwick with all the humor, grace, and charm that Arnett puts into all his roles. We also get Whoopi Goldberg in the most unnecessary cameo ever, and with a hairdo that would wake the dead.


Now let’s talk about tone. Like I stated earlier, this film has a problem deciding on who they are aiming the film toward. A lot of the humor and plot is very clearly aimed at small children, while a lot of the action and violence is geared at a slightly older teen crowd. I think I would have enjoyed the film more if they had simply chosen one side or the other. In the end I think that there are too many “kiddie” jokes for the teens and the action gets too dark at times for the younger Nickelodeon crowd.

Splinter (Tony Shalhoub) was also a bit of a problem for me. He just didn’t look as good as the Turtles and Shredder. It was as if they ran out of time to animate him. For the most part we never really get a good look at him, and he is not in the movie as much as the others, so it’s a small gripe. Plus who knows what a four-foot rat would look like on two legs. It was cool to see him fight using his tail though.


I am going to end my review raving about Michelangelo. He steals the show, and was a genuine treat. His constant attempts to cozy up to April are almost worth the price of admission. It was great to get some clean humor that was also very funny, and it was nice to see that he is still the standout of the bunch.

teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-april-Mehan-FoxSnackbar’s Grade: B-

Pros – Lots of fun, nice action pieces, Michelangelo
Cons – The tone of the film is all over the place, Splinter doesn’t look as well animated as the Turtles, some of the violence may be too intense for younger viewers.

Have you seen the film? Let us know what you thought of the movie in the comment section below.

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    • Loved the cartoon, the toys, and the movies back when I was a kid. Was annoyed at the Megan Fox casting as April…ugh, just…no thank you. Mikey has always been my favorite turtle, so on hearing that he steals the show…I might have to actually watch this one in theaters.

      • Snackbar

        April is such a non entity in the film. She’s there to ground it with a “normal” human character, but she neither helps nor hurts the film.

        • Good to hear, thanks. I suppose that’s the best I could hope for.

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