Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Out Now On-Demand

Starting life as a comic book, the four sewer-dwelling anthropomorphic turtles named after Renaissance artists have appeared as a toy range, four live action movies in the '90s, and multiple animated TV series. This is their reboot, with Megan Fox as hottie reporter April O'Neil and Michael Bay (Transformers) serving as executive producer. The turtles are brought to life by motion-capture CGI.

Darkness has settled over New York City as the diabolical Shredder and his Foot Clan hold an iron grip on the police and politicians. Frustrated reporter O'Neil, trying to break out of the news-lite mode she's been stuck in, does her best to expose the Foot Clan. Little does O'Neil know she's on the verge of making an even bigger discovery when four mutant heroes take on the Clan during their first streetside mission.

Trailers

Written by

Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Blockbuster

101mins

Rating: M Medium level violence

USA

Take a look at Jonathan Liebesman's filmography - Wrath of the Titans, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning - and ask yourself, how does this guy keep getting handed the keys to giant franchises? His effort to revive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the umpteenth time is dead on arrival, a ghost of previous incarnations puffed up with cringeworthy modern 'tude.

The plot is like a patchwork of moments from recent blockbusters: everyone is connected by an incident in their past, the heroes have magic blood, the bad guy is planning an act of terrorism, and so on. You can practically feel producer Michael Bay lurking behind the camera, encouraging tilt-angle shots of Megan Fox from behind and dubbing in as many crude one-liners as possible.

In their efforts to make the titular turtles 'realistic', the filmmakers have come up with a look that's downright ugly, with Splinter the rat and his dead eyes approaching horrific. The effects work is top-notch, seamlessly integrating these CGI characters into their environments, but it's all so banal none of it really registers as eye candy.

Acting-wise, Fox does just fine with what she's given, and Will Arnett comes out ok but it's a bummer seeing him deliver jokes this godawful. Also Whoopi Goldberg pops up for some reason.

It'd be easier to give TMNT a pass if it was aiming purely for goofy fun, but it keeps taking itself so damn seriously. A movie spawned from nostalgia and focus groups, it's a green-brown CGI smear you'll want to wipe from your memory as soon as possible.

New York Times

press

Attached to this movie, the title no longer sounds zany; it looks like a series of keywords.

Guardian (UK)

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A reminder that we should keep our guard up when we suspect creative choices coming from the stockholders' perspective.

Time Out New York

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This is as generic as Hollywood gets.

Variety (USA)

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Neither a particularly good movie nor the pop-cultural travesty that some were dreading.

Hollywood Reporter

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[The] cutting-edge VFX looks superior onscreen, sharply and smoothly rendering some thrilling action scenes.

Dissolve (USA)

press

It’s afraid of being too fun or too light, and doesn’t seem to know whether it wants to be a Nolan film or a 21 Jump Street-style spoof.

Cold, cold, pizza

Nothing gourmet here but a bit of light hearted fun. Its about teenage mutant ninja turtles. I don't think we were ever expecting anything spectacular.