I really, really wanted to hate this movie. Every trailer that was released for the movie made it look stupid, obnoxious and clichéd. And don’t get me wrong, this film is very stupid, obnoxious and clichéd. In a way, this movie does represent a lot of what is wrong with blockbusters today. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a terrible movie. Alas, I can’t bring myself to emit any amount of passion or care towards anything that happened in this extremely forgettable and lifeless movie.
A greedy billionaire/scientist (William Fichtner) and an evil ninja master named Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) plan do something bad I guess and it’s up to a 4 genetically modified turtles with super strength and a reporter lady (Megan Fox) to stop them from doing that bad thing that were supposed to not want to happen.
That’s a horrible synopsis for this movie but that summary is about the amount of energy and heart that went into making this script. All of the turtles have their thing that they are supposed add to the group, one of them is the leader, one of them is the rebel, one of them is the nerd and one of them is the comedic relief. They shout there one liners, say bland and one dimensional things there stereotype would say and fail miserably to release any form of emotion from the audience towards what is happening to anyone. I can’t judge the television or any of the films because I sadly haven’t watched any of them but simply judging the characters from this movie they come off with the amount of charm of four different pieces of cardboard. It’s been a while since I’ve seen main characters this shallow and vague. A lot of this could be because of how terrible the humor is. The movie lays all of its chips on the “awesome” one liners and jokes they make throughout and not one, I repeat, not one of these jokes was funny. At the end, the point of the movie was to show how much of a family they are and how the problem was solved through their friendship but the relationship between the brothers is so artificial and that theme has been done so much better that I imagine that it took them a whole two seconds to throw that into the script haphazardly at the end there.
April O’Neil is an almost equally lifeless lead. Despite being the person were supposed to relate to, I never got invested in anything that was happening to her because I’m sure as hell the writers really didn’t put a lot of hard work into making that character original and inventive. Megan Fox injects no energy or wit or compassion into anything that she says and she isn’t helped by how the character mostly serves as the disposable (not that she’s the only character who is disposable in this movie) human character to keep us grounded to all of the “wacky” stuff that is happening. She also seems to be serving as the stereotypical blockbuster hot girl so I guess that kills two birds with one stone for the hack writers.
This is the motives of our villains, they want to release a lethal gas into the skies of the city and then the businessman will release a vaccine to the public made from the turtle blood that will cure this lethal gas and he will make a ton of money. There is so much sh*t that is wrong with this plan that I can’t even begin to fathom how this would be able to be pulled off. The reason why any of these villains would do any of this is poorly explained. A mess doesn’t even begin to describe how much bad this conflict is. There is no reality where this plan could possibly work and yet we the audience are supposed to buy this and care about what is about to happen. And so much stupid stuff has to happen and does happen to make this plan come into place. But let’s keep going because I think my heads going to explode Scanners style if I keep thinking about it.
The visual effects are the worst I’ve seen this year. Last week I saw a giant living tree and a raccoon hang out in Guardians of the Galaxy and the visual effects were so good and original that I bought it emotionally and visually. You know those online pictures of how some animated characters would look in real life? And usually they look horrifying; this movie seems to face the exact same problem with how to adapt animated characters without coming off as creepy. The effects for the turtles and for their giant rat sensei named Splinter come off as though they were trying to be wacky and realistic at the same time and that leads to character designs that are thoroughly grotesque. I was genuinely freaked out the first time Splinter comes on screen, and you’re not supposed to feel that way, his effects are really that abysmal. The 3D itself is gimmicky and leaves you with your eyes hurting and the action is shot with quick cuts, shaky cam and all the other stuff you’d expect to come from poorly made action movies that are seemingly built to give the audience a headache afterwards. There is not an ounce of style, originality or quality to come out of this movie visually.
The climax is so poorly shot, poorly written and thoroughly lacking in momentum that I actually felt numb watching it. It was as though my mind shut itself off and I could only watch in complete awe of how lifeless and emotionless this entire film felt to me. And in that moment, I realized why there are so many people that seem to like enjoy this movie. This is not the kind of movie that deserves repeat viewings. You will not remember this film with any nostalgia or excitement as the years go by. I can’t even say that you will hate it passionately afterwards, all of things I hate about this movie I’ve seen done far worse in many other films. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might be one of the blandest, forgettable, stupid and disposable things I’ve watched in recent memory. If you want a movie that asks no deep questions, results in no bold or incredible emotion of any kind, features no interesting aspects or cool characters and leaves no trace in your mind, this is the bare minimum of entertainment that you are looking for. I can’t bring myself to hate this movie because there is nothing about this movie that is worth remembering even while you’re watching it.
Release Date: 4/4/2014
Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman