I was born in 1985 and, like most kids my age, I was brought up a huge fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I grew up watching the cartoon show on TV. I remember watching the first movie in theaters and somersaulting down the aisles and practicing my karate moves. I had all the toys, the classic toys, the ones where you had to punch the weapons out from the brown plastic thing that held them together. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you never had real Ninja Turtle toys. I still rock Ninja Turtle gear. I have a few shirts and a few pairs of boxers featuring my favorite reptilian warriors. The Ninja Turtles were a big part of my childhood, and that’s why I was scared to see how Michael Bay would butcher the franchise in the 2014 cinematic reboot.
I didn’t see the Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in theaters because I was pretty sure that it was going to suck and I didn’t want to waste my money on it. It came out on Netflix last month, so I caved in and watched it. It wasn’t half bad. It wasn’t half good either, but it really wasn’t terrible. They changed the origin story a little bit. They made April O’Neil way more important than she should have been. She’s the main character for some stupid reason. The film follows her journey as she tries to become a respected journalist. They should have focused more on the Ninja Turtles. The movie is called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, not April O’Neil and the TMNT.
They changed a lot of minor things, but they still stay somewhat true to the comics. The Ninja Turtles all have the same names, weapons, and colors as they do in the comics. They live in the sewer and eat pizza. Leonardo is still the leader, Donatello is still the smart one, Michelangelo is still the party dude, and Raphael is still the rebel and badass. They were all raised and trained by Splinter, only Splinter’s origin story is slightly modified. They changed his character arc to include him teaching himself martial arts after he was mutated. I always thought that he learned by imitating his master before he got mutated. Not a big change, just a huge middle finger to my childhood.
The action scenes and set pieces were all satisfactory. My biggest complaint would be that some action scenes were too chaotic and hard to follow. Imagine Transformers only with turtles instead of robots and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Other than that, it was the fiasco that I was hoping it would be. It was entertaining and that’s all you expect from a blockbuster with over a hundred million-dollar budget. I still prefer the Ninja Turtles from my youth, but the next generation of kids deserve Ninja Turtles of their own.
Critically Rated at 11/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young