Two years ago the minds behind the live action Transformers films decided to reboot the beloved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. When the Paramount Pictures film was finally released it was a critical failure, but it made enough money to launch a sequel. I was one of the few people who enjoyed the first film. I enjoyed it for what it was and looked at it for what it was, a kids movie. Kids movies generally do not have a complicated plot and the plot of that film was simple and enjoyable, if you look at it from that perspective. That’s what I want you to remember going forward into this review.
I loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a child and I’ve seen all of the cartoons. I’ve never really gotten into the comics, but I still appreciate them the same as anyone else. Michelangelo, Casey Jones and Raphael are my favorite characters. I wouldn’t want someone ripping apart the core element of those characters for a new spin and I’m glad that’s what they did not do. This film was the 90’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series come to life. From the very beginning I felt it corrected some of the wrong in the previous film. But, of course no film is without its flaws. I definitely had a few eye rolling moments, but I’ll get into that in my next few paragraphs.
The story is pretty simple, I guess. It follows four mutant turtle brothers as they struggle with their day to day lives and working as a team. The fear of being revealed to the public is a big theme throughout the film. Things start to get a little crazy when Shredder breaks out of prison with the help of Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry). During the escape Shredder is introduced to the nefarious Krang, voiced by Brad Garrett and he sets out on a mission to bring Krang and his Technodrome war machine to earth. With the help of newly mutated Bebop and Rocksteady, Shredder succeeds and Krang enters earth. But, of course our heroes in a half shell are there to stop him.
The new entry’s into the movie bring some needed fresh blood into the Turtleverse. This was the first time Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly) were portrayed in live action and their interactions with each other and everyone else are sure to make you laugh out loud. Casey Jones also returns to the live action world. Making his debut in the reboot, Stephen Amell shows that he’s destined for more than TV stardom. The naivety of Casey Jones comes off really humorous to the audience I was with. When he first meets the turtles he thinks that they’re aliens and tries to protect April O’Neil(Megan Fox). Amell plays it really well and I enjoyed every time he was on screen. I actually wish they give him a bit more screen time. Vern Fernwick (Will Arnett) returns, this time as The Falcon. He takes credit for the turtles saving the city from Shredder (Brian Tee) in the previous movie as a favor to the turtles. But, it becomes very beneficial to him. He’s transformed into a New York City celebrity, attending Knicks games, getting interviewed and even makes a killing by selling bags of his hot breath. The turtles are portrayed better than ever. I felt like I was watching the 90’s animated series. The motion capture and the CGI can be a bit much towards the end, but the CGI on the turtles made them a bit more realistic. You could see the pain in their eyes. In one scene you really feel for Michelangelo after they revealed themselves to the police department. This was more a turtles film than the last because they actually focused on the turtles. April O’Neil took a back seat. They gave her one important scene in the very beginning and then the turtles stole the show. Brian Tee took over as Shredder in this film and he did well. He didn’t really have much to say or do besides look and sound threatening, but he did well. Tyler Perry as Baxter Stockman was perfect. He has this interaction at the start of the movie with April O’Neil and he does this ridiculous laugh that’s sure to make you laugh. When I first heard Krang Was in the movie I was beyond excited and then it was announced at Cinemacon that Fred Armisen would be voicing him and I couldn’t wait to hear what he would bring to the table. Then a few weeks ago they announced that Brad Garret would be replacing him and I was a little apprehensive. Rightfully so, Garrett’s portrayal was over the top and I cringed every single time Krang spoke.
Overall, I enjoyed the performances. I felt they captured the essence of the 90’s animated series and filmed it in live action. Although the story wasn’t as solid as it could be, all the dumb gags, action and campiness makes up for it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows is a really fun, nostalgic, non-stop action flick. It’s definitely for kids. The highlights of the movie for me were, the less focus put on Megan Fox as April O’Neil, Stephen Amell as Casey Jones, Michelangelo, Bebop and Rocksteady. Make no mistake, this is a Michael Bay production. Take that as you will. I know for sure that I’ll definitely check out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows in theaters again this weekend. You should bring your kids. You’ll have a good time.