Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

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Stepping away from my Halloween Club run of horror reviews I went to see this movie, but I guess it could still fit in with the thread as it is a horror of a movie. It’s one of those films from the trailer that you can just tell won’t be great so I went in with low to zero expectations and on the whole they were justified.

The film sees New York subjected to the random terrors of the Foot Clan, amongst all this a budding reporter called April O’Neil (Megan Fox), left with the dregs of news stories stumbles upon a Clan attack where this time an apparent vigilante stops their plan. This could be the breaking report she needs but her cameraman Vern (Will Arnett) won’t believe her, so she goes it alone discovering four muscle bound, ninja trained turtles bound to protect the city. The head of the Foot Clan, Shredder isn’t far behind to try and wipe out  the turtles, April and New York.

Anything with Michael Bay’s name attached gets me annoyed and you can certainly see his greasy palms all over this film, or at least once the action really gets going. Which is a long time and for a kids film, which this truly feels like it does take a while to get to revealing all the turtles and having any fight scenes. It’s a slow and rather boring set up and April isn’t enough of an interesting character, especially played by Fox, that we care to see. The fight/battle scenes are okay I guess, one of the slight positives of the film as we see the turtles try to defeat Shredder leads to the climax of the film. Unfortunately Bay’s inflated and awful influence come into the fray and slow motion is used over and over with no exciting effect, CGI makes fights and other moments feel less real and extreme damage situations rival ‘Man of Steel’ with scaffolding clattering to the pavement somehow not killing anyone, or if they do it brushes past that devastating reality.

Annoyingly for the first part of the film O’Neil is trying to work out where she’s seen this vigilante symbol and then she recognises the turtles names. Yet somehow this outstanding sort of information doesn’t come back to her as a big part of her childhood. I don’t get how she’d forget all about this lab turtle experiment she was witness to as a child. This whole turtle thing could have been explained quicker and she would have saved her job if she’d detailed her father and Sacks had been experimenting on a rat and four box turtles, hence the four she sees on a rooftop one night. Deary me April, have you got amnesia or is your job that thrilling that you forgot all about such an odd growing up experience as that!?

The villain is of course Shredder but there’s another party involved but it’s such an obvious turn and both the baddies aren’t terrifying in any way really. It’s an obvious plot of villain working for glory and one for money, I doubt even kids would find it scary as Shredder is so wrapped in shiny CGI that he never feels threatening. There’s a lot the trailer has to be ashamed for as it gives away moments you’re waiting for, extremely in the case of Splinter the rat being buried in rubble and the CGI of him is so scarily off-putting that you don’t feel much sympathy for him anyway. In general terms the effects are bad, the turtles are so shockingly constructed that they don’t look cool just bad, it’s a theme of the film that it’s not so overly terrible that the plain badness of it all makes it a film to forget, if only you can.

Granted the flashbacks of them as li’l winky turtles are quite cute and I did rather like the opening of the film in it’s snappy and whooshy comic book style beginnings but then the real life film kicks in and that joy is short lived. It doesn’t ever come across as a film that I could see adults getting into or kids finding engaging enough, it’s just a film that is there and that’s how Michael Bay is, he’s there prying his fingers into pies, making money and terrible movies.

Megan Fox sounds like a child for most of this movie and some of her lines are delivered in such a squeaky way that it’s laughable. She is a poor actress but at least the make up department involved gave her lip gloss and the rest that survives every possible thing thrown at her. Will Arnett supplies some of the more positive notes of the film with a few funny lines. Whoops, Whoopi Goldberg needs the money, luckily she has hardly any screen time that you gladly forget such a talented star appeared in the movie. The voices of the turtles themselves are so darn irritating, I get they were nearly always annoying and they’re teenagers but it grates so fast that you want them to hide in the sewers and never be heard of again.

Somehow this film is a box office hit, give me strength movie viewing public and it’s been green lit a sequel but it’s just a silly film with one note characteristics given for the turtles and all other members involved. It’s just annoying and surely only tots won’t find it dull.

4/10

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