Distributed By: Warner Bros. Pictures
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
It should be no surprise to any of you out there in webland, that I am an enormous child. Hence, when I heard that Hollywood was making a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, I quickly jumped on board and waited for my chance to buy a ticket. When I heard it was CGI animated and not yet another sequel to the disastrous puppet-based franchise, I was really excited. Using CGI would free the actions scenes from the restrictions of what people in hundred pound rubber suits could accomplish. So here’s my take on this new rendition of a favorite classic of mine.
TMNT follows the adventures of the—big surprise—teenage mutant ninja turtles. It takes place at least a year after the demise of the Shredder, from, I’m assuming, the last live-action movie and the turtles have gone their separate ways. Leonardo (James Arnold Taylor), on a mission from Splinter (Mako) has been in Central America training to become a better leader. But Leo, ever the masochist, doesn’t believe that he is the leader that Splinter wants him to be and thus unprepared to return home. It isn’t until April O’Neil (Sarah Michelle Geller) runs into him by happenstance, that Leo finally decides to return to the city.
He comes back to find that his brothers have strayed from their paths. Michelangelo (Mikey Kelley) runs his own business as the host of kids’ parties in which he wears a giant turtle suit; Donatello (Mitchell Whitfield) runs a twenty-four hour IT service from the comfort of his sewer; Raphael (Nolan North) has continued his crime-fighting endeavors under the new persona of the Nightwatcher.
At the same time, a wealthy businessman with a checker past, Max Winters (Patrick Stewart) has hired Karai (Ziyi Zhang), current leader of the foot clan, to track down thirteen monsters for him to capture. These monsters are terrorizing the city, but the turtles—forbidden by Master Splinter to fight until they learn to be a team again—are virtually powerless to do anything to stop them. Raphael isn’t ready looking for a leader anymore and rages against his brother’s attempt to control him. His revelry leads to a confrontation between his alter ego and Leonardo in an emotion-filled battle that transcends the CGI world and juvenile target audience of the movie.
When Leo gets captured by the Foot clan, and it is revealed that Max Winters was once a powerful general who nearly conquered the world and was responsible for releasing the thirteen monsters in the first place, Splinter, the remaining turtles, Casey Jones (Chris Evans) and April storm Winters’ tower to get their friend back. Can they stop Winters, the Foot and the monsters from destroying the city? But more importantly, can they learn to fight like a family?
Overall, I really liked this movie. It is essentially a children’s movie. The feud between Leo and Raph is very evocative and probably out of place in a children’s movie, but awesome nonetheless. I would recommend this movie to anyone, but if you need to bring your kid along to justify it to yourself, go ahead; you won’t be disappointed.