Thursday, August 14, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Preface: This review is assuming that you're smart enough to figure out that the good guys win in the end. Thank you!

I really wanted to hate this movie. Every new detail I heard about this new Teenager Mutant Ninja Turtles iteration gave me every reason to not expect anything good out of it. And the final result pretty much confirms everything I thought was going to go wrong. This movie feels like it's doing everything it can to make me want to hate it. It's got Megan Fox reminding us why we hated her in the Transformers movies, the new designs for the turtles and even Splinter himself are on par with the robots from Transformers in being the ugliest, busiest computer generated things to ever be produced from a budget that you'd think would be able to conjure up something better, and it's got story and structural problems that would make the most amateurish writer of writers(people like me) scratch their heads in confusion.

This movie gave me every reason to hate it, but, for some reason, I just couldn't.

Maybe it's because the Ninja Turtles didn't have that much of an affect on me throughout my childhood and, if they did ruin these characters(which they did), it isn't on par with, say, ruining the Super Mario Bros. But to say that it had no affect would be an overstatement. I grew up watching the Second Animated Series that started in 2003. I don't remember a lot from that show other than that they weren't afraid to branch off into weird settings with inter-dimensional beings or something like that. They made ballsy moves that only inexpensive shows and big-budget Marvel movies can pull off for some reason. Also, I loved the crap out of the first two 90s movies and I remember being the only 7th Grader at school to actually be excited about the animated feature that came out in 2007, which wasn't a classic but it was functional and something that's now been elevated in quality thanks to this new movie.

The story starts with our lead character, April O'Neil, who's a reporter that's sick of getting B-news stories as everybody only treats her by her looks. Did I mention that she's being played by Megan Fox? Holy shit, movie! Are you trying to make a statement in showing off that Megan Fox can be taken seriously as an actress and that we should treat her more seriously than we do now? Well, apparently not, because Megan Fox looks like she'd rather be anywhere else than in this movie. But it's okay, because the movie can't even take her seriously as her entire character is undermined by one butt-shot that they some how sneaked into this movie.

But the entire movie can't even take itself seriously by giving us the most lazy, generic screenplay since Divergent(which at least tried to take itself seriously). April goes off on an investigation to figure out who's been stopping these terrorist attacks from the Foot clan. As it turns out, the titular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are the ones who are helping out, who turn out to be April's pets during her childhood, who turn out to be part of an experiment to create a cure of some sort, which turns out to be the plot device for the bad guy, who turns out to be the guy behind these experiments, which, in turn, is there to make the dumbest bad guy scheme since Christopher Walken's plan from A View to a Kill. Seriously, the main bad guy's plan is to release a disease that only he has the cure for, except his disease kills off everybody. It doesn't exactly take a keen eye to see the problem with his plan there. Also, I'm starting to wonder if the entire world revolves around these events since nothing that happens in this movie is due to chance or coincidence or, god forbid, actual character choices!

Oh yeah, and Shredder is in this movie as well.

Formulaic stories that involve destiny, or stuff like that, does seem like the easy option as it does the work for you in basically giving you all of the character and story arcs that you need. So, be ****ing surprised that they even messed that up. I've talked about how they set up April as someone who people don't take seriously, so maybe they're going to complete her arc with her finally proving herself to everyone or with her figuring out that this messed up world isn't going to let her get anywhere without her breaking the system or something like that. But, no, that doesn't happen. Instead, she starts off with figuring out who the turtles are and then....she just watches stuff happen...

Cue Mr. Plinkett quote.

But, hey, maybe that's the point, right? Maybe they did it this way so they can give something for the Ninja Turtles to do. Except, they don't, as the Turtles are introduced, they have a fight with The Shredder, they fail, they have their second fight, and then they finally defeat him by playing this sort of childhood game on him. That sounds like it could be a Chekov's Gun moment, but they never show us a scene where they play in order to defeat The Shredder. Seriously, there were obvious arcs they could have used like team-work or mastering their ability to be ninjas or proving themselves to the outside world. Ya know, stuff that doesn't even need the whole damned "destiny" trite!

There is no way I'm going to be able to list every single thing that's wrong with this movie in this review without it turning into a long, thesis length essay. However, loose plot threads and unfinished character arcs are the big main problems that no movie will ever survive.

But, with all that said, I couldn't hate it.

There are a couple of good action scenes, one involving a tumble towards a cliff and a couple of decent moments of ninja action. Were these moments enough to save this movie? Of course not. But I wasn't bored or angry throughout the entire run-time, even though this movie is still probably going to end up on my top ten worst list because there are still too many damn problems to just ignore. In fact, thinking about this movie, writing this review, and mulling over on all of the story issues that this movie has really, really makes me want to hate this movie.

But I can't, as it's probably because it's hard to conjure up any sort of strong emotion when I care about this movie as much as the people behind this film. Here's hoping for better run in round 2.

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