I’ve always loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons and the old movies, it didn’t matter what kind of villains the pizza-loving adolescent turtles were fighting, the lot was just so fun to watch as a kid. You’ve got leader Leonardo trying to protect his chaotic brothers, the rebellious Raphael, the jokester Michelangelo, and tech-nerd Donatello, from doing anything stupid (well, without him).
That’s why I was looking forward to the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, not because I expected the story to be accurate to the source material, I just wanted to see the turtles again.
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The Movie Review
New York City remains in darkness as Shredder and his Foot Clan seize control over the cops and politicians, spreading terror throughout the city. Beneath the sewers, the rat sensei Splinter is training his four teenage turtle sons — Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello, to prepare to take on Shredder and become warriors.
Meanwhile, reporter April O’Neil is sick of reporting stories about trampoline fitness along with her cameraman Vernon Fenwick. With a desire to tell better stories, April begins to investigate the Foot Clan and unveils her long-forgotten history with the mysterious crime-fighting turtles.
When Nickelodeon announced that Michael Bay would be producing the TMNT reboot, as well as making changes to the turtles’ origin story, they were met with a lot of fan criticism.
Even Robbie Rist, the voice actor for Michelangelo in the 1990 live-action movies, wrote to Bay blaming him for “sodomizing” the franchise. However, Bay promised they were working closely with the original creators, having invited TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman behind the scenes. Surprisingly, Megan Fox is on board as April O’Neil even after comparing the Transformers director to Adolf Hitler.
Honestly, I wasn’t mad about the changes they’ve done with the turtles universe. The 2014 version had a modern twist, having the comedian Michelangelo be a lover of hip-hop music, because it’s normal that turtles raised in Manhattan sewers would adopt the culture of the streets.
So despite starting on a $125-150 million budget and garnering bad fan & critic response, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) earned $493.3 million and became the highest-grossing film of the franchise and of Nickelodeon.
Hey, you can’t please everybody. Even if a lot of people complained about the alien origin story, you gotta respect the writers for giving themselves the challenge of being more creative instead of duplicating the original. Of course, the story itself was bad and the characters don’t go through any development.
The characters remained exactly the way they were in the beginning, the only difference is that they were respected by the public for saving the day.
On the bright side, the turtles here looked so much better. Thanks to CGI and motion capture, the turtles look more realistic than the creepy-looking animatronics the older movies relied on. Though they did keep one thing the older movies had: humor.
The comedy was good, although most of them were aimed towards Megan Fox’s hotness which isn’t a surprise. My favorite scene was when the turtles were in the elevator, beatboxing as they wait for their destination before charging at their enemies.
There’s a good amount of actions and fight scenes in here, but they also give you space to breathe and have some laughs.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, I think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) was the funniest and most entertaining movie out of the older ones, despite it being cheesy. That’s to be expected from Nickelodeon, and especially from a Michael Bay production. Overall, this movie can be enjoyed by younger and older generations of TMNT, if they keep an open mind about the franchise’s new direction.