Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
review by Bobby Blakey
For years the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been a mainstay in pop culture with numerous variations on the property in live action, animation, comics and products. When it was announced that the producing team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberbg were going to be working on a new animated TMNT film I was instantly excited. Not only am I already a fan of these guys, but they have a good history already with animation. The film sports an impressive cast including Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown, Jr., Hannibal Buress, Rose Byrne, Nicolas Cantu, John Cena, Jackie Chan, Ice Cube, Natasia Demetriou, Ayo Edebiri, Giancarlo Esposito, Post Malone, Brady Noon, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Maya Rudolph from The Mitchells vs. The Machines director Jeff Rowe.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem follows the Turtle brothers who set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers through heroic acts after years of being sheltered from the human world. Their new friend April O’Neil helps them take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them.
I love the trailers for this, but was a bit hesitant on my feelings of the animation style itself. Could it be to chaotic to work for this franchise and will it still manage to capture the essence of the characters and their world? The answer is a yes to all of the above. This movie delivers on every level with pure love for the franchise and everything that has come before it while managing to create its own space in its history. This film sets out to do the brand justice and might just be one of, if not the best to date to do so.
The story is jam packed with character and chaos in the best way possible. Sure it is reinventing the world so not everyone falls in the category that they normally do. That doesn’t mean it can’t change and set up new things
in the future, but might leave some of the hardcore fans scratching their heads in these decisions. I for one thought it was a great way to introduce all these characters right out of the gate and never felt over inflated as it might seem.
The core turtles are all a blast to watch with each bringing their own unique personalities to the forfront thanks to the young cast. They have fully dived into the teenage element of the characters which not only makes them feel fresh and new, but feel more vulnerable than the unstoppable turtles we are used to. The designs of the characters look great as well with each having their own look and sizes that meet their personalities. They are spastic, funny, angry, irritating and everything in between just like a teenager should be.
I love the looks and voice work to all the other characters as well with Splinter being the only one that I wasn’t fully sure if I would like. They have changed a bit or the origin here in a way that actually makes more sense and is funny to watch. Splinter is the usual father figure, but not the hardened martial arts master we are used to. To my surprise he grew on me and ended up being one of my favorites to watch it the film despite these weird hair things on his head that I couldn’t stop staring at.
The animation is awkward, strange and chaotic in an awesome way making for another unique animated experience that we have been getting lately. It can be a lot at times, but it kicks all kinds of butt and is an instant visual punch in the face to all your senses and I for one think it fits this property to perfection. This film kicks ass on all fronts and is easily one of my favorite films this year and from what I hear just the beginning of whats to come.
The film does end its current adventure, but also sets up the future so stick around through the mid-credits for a bit more of the future of the this all new TMNT series. Dive in and join the heroes in a half shell like you have never seen them before with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem in theaters now from Nickelodeon and Paramount.