Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) is an interesting reinterpretation of the franchise, filled with action, personality, and humour.
With the Foot Clan spreading crime throughout New York City, report April O’Neil sets out to discover the root of their crime wave despite resistance to her notion of vigilantes saving citizens from the Foot. During her investigations, she encounters four mutant turtles with ninjitsu skills. When she learns they are from her unsettling past, April asks an old friend for help but becomes involved in a sinister plan to poison New York City. It’s up to April and the turtles to stop the mysterious Shredder and his sinister plan.
The turtles in this film look bizarre at first. However, these more realistic depictions lend the film a heightened sense of authenticity. Megan Fox is well cast of the determined yet vulnerable April. Will Arnett as Vern adds some much-needed and well-played humour to the film.
The story is mostly standard action film fair in the second half. The first half, however, provides a more convincing genesis for the turtles and ties April closer to them without straying too far from the original concept.
Some of the concepts, like Shredder’s technological armour and the turtles been bulletproof, are little over the top but fit in well with the campy action sequences towards the end. Fight scenes are well choreographed if a little underwhelming, and the turtles are portrayed as vulnerable and clumsy as well as skilled.
Each turtle has a distinct personality that lends credibility to the film. However, Donatello and Leonardo are pushed to the rear as Raphael and Michelangelo’s more extraverted personalities steal the show. Fortunately, this doesn’t detract from the story.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a good update to this classic superhero franchise. While it lacks in originality, it makes up for this with personality. TMNT fans will enjoy the ride if they don’t take it seriously and the film might just create a whole new generation of turtles fans.