Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (directed by Jonathan Liebesman) is a classic Michael Bay production by which you should know what to expect. Explosions, lots of explosions. Despite this, TMNT isn’t overcome by the hallmarks of Bay’s Transformers series, the latest addition of which is Age Of Extinction.
The premise is a simple one. The narrative begins following April O’Neil (Megan Fox), a reporter desperate to be taken seriously but struggling to move up the hierarchy at her news station. She is keen and determined but ultimately fails to be taken seriously by her peers. One night she covertly observes the evil Foot Clan, led by the notorious Shredder (not played by William Fichtner), attempting a robbery, when events are interrupted by a rather large, round masked vigilante. This hero leaves behind only a symbol which O’Neil attempts to use as proof to show people are fighting back. Unsurprisingly, her story doesn’t go down well at the office. After a stint as a hostage in an underground train station, O’Neil finally tracks down what is the biggest story of her career; her saviours, four superhuman, wisecracking turtles.
Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo. The names of every child’s favorite four green turtles. They’re strong but reckless, smart but careless, oh and they love pizza. What the film does do well is capture the chemistry perfectly, you believe absolutely that they are four brothers that have grown up together. The quick witted humor is one of the films highlights as it helps to keep the audience interested in what is otherwise a very run of the mill narrative. One of the better scenes showcased what all the turtles could do, being chased by the Foot Clan down a snowy mountain side. While we never really fear for the hero’s safety, it was a nice addition and shining example of good CGI.
Despite the films comedy, it’s nothing that you haven’t already seen, it’s a classic case of ‘bad guy wants to take control of the city and has some form of lethal weapon to do so’ (a la Amazing Spider-Man), and of course he has someone on the inside to help him accomplish his goal, the charmingly villainous William Fichtner.
While decent CGI and a good script carry the film along nicely, this simply isn’t enough to redeem half hearted character development and average performances. TMNT is far from Oscar worthy but mercifully it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s one for the kids and if you take nothing away from it, when the end credits role you’ll have at least passed a few hours.