shredder

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Year: 2016
Directed By: Dave Green
Written By: Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec. Based on characters created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman.

RYAN’S REVIEW

OK OK OK, I may have stood next to the first film on the pretext that the good outweighed the bad but the scales are tipped differently in this one. There is still the same old good in the Turtles and their great character development but they are not enough to overcome the bad this time around. The bad isn’t just bad in this one but it skips right over into the ugly zone. I think ultimately they made some seriously poor decisions in some places and they tried to cram way too much into the film. I would give this franchise another go if they were to make a third film but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen after this debacle.

To start with what I like, I continue to love the turtles. This movie is worth watching multiple times if for no other reason than them. There is so much going on in the background when all the turtles are on screen and they are really really funny. They each bring their own personalities to each character and I think they hit another home run a second time around, but only where the turtles are concerned. I actually really enjoyed the inclusion of Bebop and Rocksteady. Childhood favorites finally hitting the big screen was a lot of fun for me and I didn’t mind how stupid they were. Yeah they were really stupid, but if nobody remembers correctly that’s exactly how they were supposed to be. When I was a 5 year old kid watching blocks of turtle episodes every weekend I remember that these two were always the morons that screwed everything up for the Shredder. I think in this movie they looked really good and they were as stupid as they were supposed to be.

It’s hard to go on any further with what I liked about this movie because there was so much dragging it down. Specifically Stephen Amell as Casey Jones was just flat out awful. I don’t know this guy because I have never seen Arrow, but I have heard plenty of people say good things about the show. Now, either they are all completely out of their mind or maybe he was intimidated by Megan Fox’s hotness on set I don’t know. If his performance in this movie is any indication of what the show is like I definitely won’t be watching it. When he and Fox are together on screen it is at its worse. Why did they give so much screen time to these two? I can handle Megan Fox sucking all the fun out of the screen but when they are paired together I can’t help but feel embarrassed. Embarrassed for them, everyone involved, and even myself for spending my time in this manner.

Not only was Stephen Amell really bad performing the part but the part was just completely stupid. Casey Jones is supposed to be a vigilante and sports enthusiast. Not an airheaded cop with an affinity for hockey. The strapping of the wheels onto his feet so he could skate was even lamer than his hockey stick shenanigans earlier in the film. Elias Koteas was so much better in the part, and I didn’t think he really set the bar that high.

In the first film Megan Fox was paired mostly with Will Arnett and he was able to keep things cool. In this movie she doesn’t have the luxury of a really funny and awesome wingman and she suffers for it. It’s like she has no self respect in that scene where she goes “undercover” as a sexy school girl. So shameful Megan Fox, you’ve lowered yourself to being nothing more than eye candy. I happen to like Megan Fox as eye candy but when you overdo it it just isn’t tasteful. It’s like the second Transformers movie when we see her for the first time and she’s ridiculously draped across a motorcycle painting it. It just isn’t even practical and it’s overkill.

I like the way Krang looked well enough and I thought it was really cool to see the Tecnodrone develop above New York City. The inclusion of Krang also brought the movie down though. The movie had already introduced two new villains and a new ally they didn’t need to go all out and bring in another supervillain. The Shredder is supposed to be a lackey of Krang but in this movie he didn’t have enough to do. If they had been smarter they would have climaxed with something different and let Krang lead into a third end all be all film.

Sadly it doesn’t seem like this franchise will be strong enough to overcome this disappointing second step. There has been little to no talk of a third film and the franchise has more or less been pronounced dead. I find that really disappointing because I still liked so much of what they did with this poorly received rendition.  You never know what will happen so there is always hope, but I’d hate to see it simply rebooted another ten years down the road when I’m definitely too old to be getting into the turtles.

So as I close the chapter on the ninja turtles portion of our collection I will leave it by admitting that this last turtles movie was crap. Truthfully this movie probably never would have authentically made it into the collection this day in age. I received it as a gift and decided that it was a good idea to own all the turtles movies and got myself a copy of the first one too. I really enjoy watching the first film but this one is only fun here and there. If you’re a fan then I think this movie is worth your time, and try not to be too harsh on it, but if you never got into the turtles to begin with this movie is going to do nothing to win you over.

NEXT MOVIE: Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny (2006) 

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Year: 2014
Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman
Written By: Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec, and Evan Daugherty. Based on characters created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman

RYAN’S REVIEW

Some movies you just can’t take too seriously or you miss out on all the fun. Yeah there is plenty that could be criticized in this movie but who goes to see the heroes in a half shell expecting an award winner? Maybe I am still a sucker for the turtles after all these years but I can’t help but have a good time whenever I watch this movie. I have gone into it trying to be critical but still find myself overwhelmed by something I seriously enjoy. Plenty of people had problems with this new incantation of the ninja turtles but I feel like they’re just trying to take it too seriously.

People really love to hate on Michael Bay and I agree with those haters on most of what they say. Nevertheless I think when Bay does something good people are too determined to hate on him to appreciate it. At the very least give the guy credit for bringing the turtles back to the big screen. The franchise was so dead that the first installment in eleven years was animated, until this came out. This may not have made everybody happy but I think they are simply too critical of it because Bay was involved as a Producer.

I think there are plenty of things to criticize in this movie, but not enough to overshadow the things that I like about it. I think the shredder was too over the top. Why cast a cool looking actor to play the part then overwhelm him as a mutant Edward Scissorhands? He would have been much cooler had he had a more traditional costume and just manhandled the Turtles because he was that badass. I don’t understand what they were going for with the Shredder in this movie but that’s a criticism I have no counterpoint for in an argument.

Another criticism I simply can’t argue with is the casting of Megan Fox as April O’Neil. I don’t mind her personally because a movie like this only benefits from a bit of eye candy but I get it. It’s totally ridiculous and along with Michael Bay, she has manage to ruin another beloved franchise from the 80s. What I wonder these days is how long it is going to be before we hear what Megan Fox had to do to get back into the good graces of Michael Bay. I imagine it was something so dirty that she won’t even come public about it. After bad mouthing him and losing her job in the Transformers franchise there had to be something inappropriate going on to explain her presence here.

The last of the criticisms I’ll give credence to is simply Splinter. What a God awful work of CGI animation that thing was. I almost find him too repulsive to look at in this film and it is the main point where the original trilogy was better. All the CGI in the world couldn’t overcome what Jim Henson studios did back in the nineties. Nineties Splinter wasn’t repulsive at all, but more like a dear old grandpa rodent you’d want to take home and feed soup to. Maybe he’d teach you a bit of ninja shit after you fed him. In this film he really kicks some ass but he looks so disgusting that I can’t bear to keep my eyes on it.

Now, where I think this movie succeeds, and succeeds well enough to overcome any and all flaws is the Turtles themselves. I really love the distinct personalities they each have and how they flow into all the dialogue between them. They are exciting to watch in action and funny when they start talking. I love the immaturity that comes from them as they are actual teenagers with all the hormone madness that goes along with youth. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when they are riding the elevator and start beat boxing with their weapons. Hilarious. I think the CGI work on them was a bit weird at first but the more I get used to it the more I like it. They don’t look so uniform in this movie, with each not only having different body styles but so much personal gear that enhances their personas.

I think another big win in this movie was the casting of Will Arnett as Vernon Fenwick. Arnett is a really funny guy and brings a lot to a film like this. The character of Fenwick has never been brought into the movies before and I like that they made room for him in the script. It’s hard for Arnett not to steal nearly every scene he is in playing opposite Megan Fox. So many of us remember him lovingly as “the MAGICIAN!!!!…….Gob” from Arrested Development. I for one can’t help but laugh involuntarily every time I hear the Final Countdown by Europe. You know what? Here you go, for old time’s sake:

Probably could have found a better video but this was the first one I came to and it serves the purpose. I freaking love that guy and him simply being part of this movie makes me like it all that much more.

This movie is far from perfect, but anybody demanding perfection from this movie has gone into it with the wrong attitude. The ninja turtles were never perfect, and our memories of them are a product of the age we were when we were introduced to them. Could this movie have been better? Absolutely, but was it good enough? I think so and I can honestly say I enjoy it every time I sit down to watch it. At the end of the day that is all that really matters. So I absolutely think this movie is worth your time, just not worth your criticism because there’s no need to take some things so seriously.

NEXT MOVIE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)