TMNT goes down without a fight
TMNT tries to recapture what made the original films so much fun while at the same time putting a new spin on the characters and world they inhabit. It fails in both attempts.
The movie’s main fault is that it tries to cover too much ground in the small amount of time it is allotted (roughly an hour and a half). The movie is freckled with way too many subplots. Raphael has started fighting crime with an alter ego, Casey Jones is having trouble settling down with April, Leonardo no longer thinks that he can lead the team and Raphael and Leo are bickering again.
The movie had far too many characters as well. Jones and April, although fun to see, were not essential to the plot of the movie and could have been done without entirely. This goes for the Foot Clan as well. The movie just seemed to be trying to win over fans by throwing in characters with nostalgic value.
All this may seem like nitpicking. After all, the movie is aimed at children, and they are certainly not going to get huffy about a movie’s terrible pacing. Then what could a child, a young’un, the future of our world, have to say while watching TMNT?
“Where’s the karate?”
I spent most of my time watching this movie of confusing and forced emotional dialogues between giant ninja turtles wondering why they were not acting like giant ninja turtles. The film had a pathetic offering as far as action goes. There were only two fights worth mentioning, the first one being the showdown between Leonardo and Raphael and the second the film’s final battle. Both fight scenes put together were probably under three minutes.
Then, even when the movie gives us some measly scraps of karate goodness, the action comes out feeling stuffy and strained. The action is fast and hard, but the camera is just too up in the fighters’ business for the viewer to grasp what is going on. Heads are cut off by the top of the screen, the fighters jump in and out of frame too quicklye, and the fighting is so brief and cartoonish that no sense of excitement is derived, just a sense of car sickness.
To further one’s sickness, the movie offers a large quantity of terrible one liners. These would not be so bad if they were not so frequently and shamelessly thrown into the audience’s lap instead of some actual progressive dialogue. The writers were clearly trying to emulate the humor of both the cartoons and the original movies, but they overdid it.
One good thing about the movie is the beautiful CGI animation. The turtles look great close up, with detailed skin and character models that do a great job of displaying emotions. The human models, however, are not up to snuff in this aspect and look more like rigid talking toys than flesh and bone characters of a story.
There are many complaints to be had about this film, but one sticks out in my mind the greatest. It is a clear slap to the face of the previous films in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles catalogue. This one problem will surely crush the souls of older fans. That complaint is: Splinter did not make a funny.
And where the heck was Usagi Yojimbo?
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