Yeah...we're talking about this movie today. From the get go, this remake was plagued with internet haters, mostly due to the producer chair being occupied by one Michael Bay. Granted, the man certainly doesn't do himself any favors but I was still trying to be open minded about this project. Being 28, my brothers and I were around and in the right age demographic to get caught up in the Turtles Craze of the late 80s and early 90s and naturally, we all have fond memories of our fandom of those Heroes In The Halfshell and the subsequent media that we all devoured using our parents' wages (man, they put up with a LOT of shit from us with this kinda thing...). Having said that, I approached this one without the Nostalgia Goggles because those can really blur your vision, especially when the original medium that introduced you to the franchise doesn't hold up.
Not saying I hate the cartoon now, but there is a difference between "good" and "watchable."
Regardless, I kept as open of a mind as possible, but let's just get right to the point: was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) any good? In a word, no. In a few words, this movie is a fucking wreck. I'm not trying to jump on any bandwagons or parrot anyone else and I will acknowledge that I am still something of a Turtles fan but this movie was just awful. I'm having a helluva time even putting it into words as to how bad this movie is, I really am.
Are there any good parts of the movie? Well, the effects for the Turtles are alright and the opening credits looked pretty decent in that comic-esque style but those were ruined by Splinter's narration by the very out of place Tony Shalhoub.
What was bad? Everything else. Seriously, any time this movie tried to be humorous, it came off as either immature, irritating or piggish. The plot is so lame and doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you really stop and think about it (If Splinter was a lab rat born in New York, why would he mutate into a Japanese persona, how in the hell did he learn ninjitsu well enough from a friggin' book to teach it, why does Sack and Shredder want to hold the city ransom with a chemical weapon that the only cure that can be made from the Turtles blood when he owns his own company as well as four offshoots of said company, why would a little girl name four lab turtles after Renaissance painters, why are the Turtles acting like wannabe gangstas, why in the hell is Whoopi Goldberg in this movie, etc). The personalities of the Turtles may be present, but the charm is not. They are no fun to watch them do their thing. The dialogue is horrendous, actually making me cringe and facepalm in parts, even shouting at my monitor in frustration over it (Raphael's speech at the end immediately comes to mind, as well as the improv "Shush-Off"). The cast is terrible with Megan Fox as April O'Neil, Will Arnett as a really creepy Vernon Fenwick and one of the biggest WTF's I had with the movie, Johnny Knoxville as the voice of Leonardo, plus Karai was just thrown in for good measure even though she didn't really do anything. The overall look and feel of the film reminded me way, way too much of the Transformers films and having The Shredder (whose Asian identity was shoehorned in after internet backlash over William Ficthner being originally cast and some how made the character of Shredder worse) look like human-sized Megatron certainly didn't help.
Or the love child of an orgy between Wolverine, The Predator, Darth Vader, Freddy Krueger and Edward Scissorhands.
I'm sorry that I haven't been able to provide you with a review of this movie in the usual way that I write them but this movie just made me feel dirty, even going in with low expectations. I was actually experiencing physical discomfort watching this movie, the same discomfort in your shoulders you get when nails go down a chalkboard or some really creepy dude keeps eying you up like a meal after you tell him to leave you alone. That creepy dude has a name, and it's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If this looks and feels like a cop out to you, I apologize. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is by far one of the shittiest movies I've had the misfortune of sitting through in a long, long time and if I had paid to see this movie, I'd be pouring myself a Crown Royal and cola to calm myself down. This film goes down as my worst movie of 2014 and my worst Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film ever. Yes, let me repeat that: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) is WORSE than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles In Time. At least Turtles In Time had ZZ Top and Corey Feldman. For the record, my Turtles film preferences are:
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
- TMNT (2007)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles In Time
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
In fact, at the risk out sounding over dramatic, this one is probably one of the worst movies I've ever sat down and watched for the sake of writing a review. After watching this movie, I immediately texted my brother in Calgary and flat out told him to not see it, regardless of how much of a lifelong Turtles fan he is, which is exactly what I will tell anyone reading this: do not see this movie. I know that this is just my opinion and that a sequel has already been greenlit, but I'm gonna say this anyway: if you are in the crowd of people who have not seen this movie yet, please, PLEASE keep it that way.
Now I'm not going to sit here and say, "Wah wah, this movie raped my childhood, blah blah blah" because it didn't. It's not like this film was so terrible that I can't even look at Ninja Turtles as a whole anymore (unlike what Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" did to Warren Zevon's "Werewolves Of London") and to tell the truth, I hate the term "raped my childhood" and am doing everything in my power to eliminate it from my vocabulary entirely. I had mentioned that the original cartoon had not aged well but my son and I watched a couple episodes of the cartoon after we watched this film and the cartoon didn't seem that bad in comparison. Really, I think that's basically how people should treat this movie. Much like the 1998 Godzilla film, if this film can serve as a gateway or a jumping point for fans new to the franchise to look into the older and better material, then Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014 can justify its existence.