I finally got to see the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie a few days ago. This is a movie based on a comic book franchise that I’ve been a fan of since it’s start. I’ve read the comic, played the role playing game, watched the television cartoon, and saw all three previous cinematic iterations.
In other words, I’m a true fan.
So going to see the new one was something I did with GREAT trepidation. I have very fond memories of the previous movies, saw all three in theaters with the same friend, and owned all of them on VHS and at some point DVD. So after some pondering on the matter I came up with some things I definitely liked, and some things I definitely didn’t like. So in case you were wondering THIS IS YOUR SPOILER ALERT!!!!
Now… let’s get on with it shall we?
What I Didn’t Like
So I get it that they are doing a reboot, there’s a new cartoon, and not EVERYTHING can be the same… but I think there was something definitely lost by changing Splinter‘s origins, going from being a pet of Hamato Yoshi (who gets killed by Shredder) to a simple lab rat is really a kick in the teeth to the character. The whole part about him self-teaching himself ninjitsu before teaching them is a punch to the gut in practicality. But it’s when Megan Fox as April O’Neal “realizes” that the turtles were at one time her PETS during “Project Renaissance” was the point where I rolled my eyes and murmured “Really? Really?? Really???”
A big part of the appeal of the original origin story is that it made more sense that this coincidental kerfluffling garbage. Now that it’s lost, the unintended consequences for sequels is going to be huge.
The two turtles I’ve always enjoyed the most are Raphael and Michelangelo.
All the pent up frustration, fire, and explosions of rage from Raphael in the comic and the original movies really brought the character to life for me. It showed that whether your a turtle or a human frustration is a menace to us all. I loved the dark brooding he brought to the series and how it dramatically counter balanced Michelangelo’s mahalo attitude in the quartet.
In this movie, aside from the whole “Batman voice” snippet, Raph was pretty lame. That dark brooding side was conspicuously absent, his explosions of rage were more like a champagne cork pop, and it was as if the vibrant character was being painted with faded colors.
No Casey Jones
Not only doesn’t he make an appearance, but it isn’t even like I caught an Easter Egg about him. Maybe this is what contributed to my dislike for Raphael, since really the two of them are just like brothers from different mothers.
What I Did Like
Megan Fox As April O’Neal
I have to be honest, I think that Megan Fox actually made for a really good April O’Neal, despite keeping her hair color raven black instead of April‘s traditional reddish brown. I liked the fact that they kept her fainting episode when she first sees the turtles. I liked the yellow jacket playing homage to the jumpsuit. I liked the spunk she brought to the role.
Yeah, Megan Fox made for a good April O’Neal.
Even though I hated how Raph turned out, I really liked how Michelangelo was portrayed. I’ve always liked the laid back attitude, the love for pizza, and of course the comedic relief that he provides. There was some definite fun moments, most notable when the Half-Shell quartet were free styling in the elevator going up to face off agains The Shredder. My only hang-up was that he really didn’t have a chance to show off his skill with the nunchaku.
Other than that one thing, I really think they got him dead on.
I really enjoyed the pacing of this movie. There were some times when it definitely did slow down, but I never really felt it dragging as others had claimed. For that matter, I thought it was well done.
I really though the movie was good for what it was, a reboot of a classic pop culture comic book bred quartet to essentially a new fan base. Even though the critics called it every name in the book, people really spoke with their wallets and the movie has financially done well enough to warrant a sequel. While I would love to see Bebop and Rocksteady, that’s not something I’m going to demand.
The only thing I’m going to demand is a good story with the characters I grew up with. Why? Because in the end that’s what it’s all about… the story.