So, I went into an advance screening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the franchise’s big screen reboot, with both a deep love of the turtles, and enough space from my actual childhood to check out what is ostensibly a kid’s movie and not scoff. Both of these instincts served me well.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is kind of a mess, but not an unpleasant one. The script is all over the place, with some surprisingly smart scenes, solid action and a profoundly dumb retconning of the turtles’ origin story. There are eye-rolling lines aplenty and a gruesome pizza-related fart joke. It’s not the smartest movie ever made, nor is it the wittiest. And it doesn’t have the same charm as the 90s live action films (at least, the first two). But it is action-packed, more than a little funny, and it never takes itself too seriously.
This about summarizes my pre-viewing thoughts. Exactly what I’m expecting. Fun review from Riendeau.
A lot of girl power ended up on the cutting room floor, unfortunately. I had a really awesome scene where I was fighting The Foot Clan, but I think they were like, ‘Why would a tiny journalist be able to kick so much ass?’ So that got cut. But I have a moment, Shredder and I have a moment. Maybe it’s badass, you tell me when you see it.
The entire premise of this franchise and film rely on the suspension of disbelief. ‘Why would turtles be able to kick so much ass’ seems like a more appropriate question.
Jonathan Liebesman on the tone of the new film, as quoted by ComicBookMovie.com:
Definitely more towards the cartoon, but visually very inspired by the comics. I didn’t want, as a fan, to just see a retelling of the cartoons and that tone. I want some sort of grittiness, so that comes with the tone and the way we depict the foot soldiers and Shredder. I think it’s a little more hardcore than the cartoon did. More in line with what Eastman and Laird were doing with the original comics.
Casey Jones. Bebop and Rocksteady. We had those conversations throughout development of this movie but we’re launching this movie now in two weeks. Hopefully everybody feels the same way we do [about it]. We love them [Bebop and Rocksteady].
I won’t go as far as to say I’m overjoyed at the new TMNT designs but I’m not entirely disappointed either. To think of what Leibesman and team could to with a giant, punk rock rhinoceros and warthog… Stamp of approval.