FlixChatter Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

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For anyone who grew up in the late 80s and early 90s, you probably heard of the Ninja Turtles even if you were not a fan. As a young boy back in those days, I was a huge fan of the turtles, my brother and I used to watch the morning cartoon show every day and I’ve watched the original film countless times on VHS. The first film released back in 1990 was a huge hit but unfortunately the two sequels that followed were quite awful and the franchise went on hiatus for a few years. The studio tried to restart the film franchise with a CG animation and released an animated movie simply called TMNT back in 2007. Even with voices by well known actors such as Sarah Michelle Gellar, Chris Evans and Patrick Stewart, the movie never caught on with the public. For a while many thought the franchise was dead, at one time John Woo was attached to produce and direct another film version but of course that never happened. The franchise ended up in the hands of Michael Bay and now we’re finally got to see another live action movie version.

With a comic book style introduction, this new movie takes us right into the chaos. Apparently Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) and his foot clan army have been terrorizing the citizens of NYC for a while and it seems to no one can stop or find him. Young reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) is eager to become a real reporter and wants to find out who these foot clan are and what they’re planning to do next. One night she ran into the clan’s illegal activity and then witnessed the clan being took out by some mysterious figures. This scene was basically a rip-off of scene from Nolan’s Batman Begins when Batman was introduced, in fact the whole “plot” of this turtle movie was a rip-off of Nolan’s first Batman flick. Of course those mysterious figures turned out to be our heroes the Ninja Turtles. O’Neil wants to break the story about how someone is fighting back against Shredder and his army but without any proof her boss (Whoopi Goldberg) refuse to run the story. In fact she fired O’Neil because she’s becoming an annoyance. Now jobless and still wants to prove that the Turtles do exist, she decided to confide in her late father’s co-worker Eric Sacks (William Fichtner) and told him about the Turtles. Well wouldn’t you know it, Sacks happens to be the minion of Shredder and of course this leads to O’Neil being in danger and our heroes in the half shell came to her rescue.

I went into this movie with very low expectations since it’s directed by journeyman Jonathan Liebesman, the same man who directed some awful flicks including Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and Battle: Los Angeles. Also, any movie with Michael Bay‘s name attached to it, I just don’t think it will be any good. Surprisingly I thought Liebesman did a pretty decent job with this movie, he remember to hold the cameras steady for most of the action scenes and staged one pretty awesome action sequence. A chase scene with our heroes being pursued by the foot clan army down a snowy mountain, seeing that sequence in 3D was quite great. Unfortunately though, the script by Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec and Evan Daugherty was quite dreadful. As mentioned earlier the whole plot of this movie was a rip-off of Batman Begins but it’s also full of amateurish humor that only teenage boys will enjoy. One thing I really hated about the script was how they decided to change the origins of the turtles and their master Splinter. It’s so idiotic that I almost laughed out loud when that scene appeared.

Performances wise, you can’t really judge the actors who voiced the turtles so I’ll just focus on the human characters. As we all know Megan Fox can’t act and it’s quite painful watching her “act” in this movie, she’s asked to carry the movie for the first 40 minutes or so and it wasn’t fun watching her trying to act. William Fichtner and Tohoru Masamune didn’t have much to do except playing the straight one dimensional evil characters. Will Arnett showed up as the sidekick to April O’Neil and unfortunately his comedic role was just that, a comedic sidekick. I thought they might make him into Casey Jones by the end but I’m glad that never happened.

The movie wasn’t as bad I expected but it’s still not something adults will enjoy but I’m pretty sure most teenagers will have a great time with this one. I enjoyed some parts of the movie but in the end, it’s just another loud action/adventure movie from Mr. Bayhem.

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Have you seen this one? Well, what did you think?

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28 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

    1. Ted S.

      Yeah I thought it’s going to be awful but it wasn’t as bad I thought. But it’s not something I’d recommend people to go see unless you’re in your teens. LOL.

  1. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ted:

    Was never much of a TMNT fan. Even when it was a series of paintings before becoming a Manga and migrating East.

    Director Liebsman needs to slip back into indies. His ‘The Killing Room’ was better than I had expected. And I still like ‘Battle: Los Angeles’. For its revamped old time 1950s “Alien/Monster fights the Marines” look and feel. And wise use of wrecked, post Katrina sections of Louisiana filling in for savaged L.A.

    1. Ted S.

      Hey Jack, I’ve never read the comics but loved the cartoon show. I only saw two movies that Liebsman directed and I was not a fan of Battle: LA.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks! I wanted to see a fun action flick but I think Michael Bay wanted to make sure the movie was loud and full of humor for kids.

  2. Thanks for the review Ted. Can’t say I agree with your overall assessment of the film, but I’m on board with a couple of your points. I also thought the changeup with the origin story was a bit silly. Also, while Fox certainly isn’t a good actress I did think this was a noticeable improvement over much of her previous work. I’m struggling to see your connection with the Batman Begins plot though. I see the similarities in the scene you reference, but not much else from the plot. I was pleased that this movie stayed true to the classical characters of the turtles and didn’t try to reinvent anything with them. That was my biggest worry going in.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Gene.

      I think the overall tone of the movie was very similar to Batman Begins, they tried to make it more “dark” and “serious”. Also, didn’t you think Shredder’s plot of wiping out the entire citizens of NYC because he deemed them to be inferior was kind of similar to Ra Al Gul’s plan in BB? That’s why I compared it to Nolan’s film.

      1. Yeah that was kinda similar. I was actually thinking that was more of an Amazing Spider-Man ripoff! What if TMNT is actually a pieces together ripoff of multiple other comic book films!?!?

  3. Nice review, Ted, and I mostly agree with you here. Not as bad as expected, but still not exactly good. Though I did enjoy a handful of action scenes, those that I could actually SEE, that is, such as said mountain scene. But yeah, I hated the changed origins, makes things all feel way too convenient and forced, similar to how they changed things in the new Amazing Spider-Man series. Also, I hadn’t really made the connection myself, but now that you mention it, I can totally see how this movie is a blatant Batman Begins ripoff, haha. Pathetic! XP

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Chris. Yeah some of the action scenes were too frantic to see what was going on but I was quite impressed with that chase scene.

      Shredder’s plan of killing everyone in NYC was very similar to Ra Al Ghul’s plan in Batman Begins and of course the “dark and serious” tone were directly influenced by Nolan’s flick.

  4. Good review Ted. I’m glad the early rumours that William Fichtner was playing Shredder didn’t turn out to be true. I’ll likely pass on this movie in the theatres and wait to watch it at home.

    1. Ted S.

      Apparently the rumor was true and Fichtner was going to play Shredder but after backlash from fans, they decided to rewrite the script and have Shredder be the main villain and Fichtner became his right hand man.

    1. Hi Allie! Glad to see you stop by. LOVE your blog, in fact I just left you a comment on the Robin Williams’ tribute. Hope to see you & Jenna here again soon 😉

  5. Hi Ted, honestly I’m a bit surprised you didn’t rate this lower but I’m glad you actually enjoyed it somewhat. Well, I have zero interest in seeing this. Not only because I never saw any Ninja Turtles cartoon/comic but having Bay’s name here is not encouraging at all.

  6. Great review! I’m actually really surprised this movie was remade. Wait a minute, no I’m not. Hollywood make any attempt for a cash grab. What bothers me the most is all the CGI in some of these movies. It’s like if I wanted to go watch a cartoon, I would see a Pixar flick.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Mariah! Ha ha yeah I’m not surprised at all that Hollywood is recycling all of their previous success products, I mean they rebooted SpiderMan just 5 years after the last movie came out. Of course going to give us another version of Batman just 4 years after Nolan’s version.

      The CG in this movie was kind of sketchy, Splinter actually looked very creepy and the climatic fight scene between the Turtles and Shredder was done all in CG and it didn’t look good at all.

  7. Thank you for this fine review 🙂
    I am planning to watch this but not in cinema…I guess my decision was right. I am still going to watch it despite the low rank because I have three turtles that blog, it seems odd that turtle blog has no review of the most famous turtles in the world 😉

    I already expect it wouldn’t be good, that’s why DVD is my only choice.

  8. Pingback: » Movie Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) Fernby Films

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