By Laurie Coker
Like every sensible person should do, I took Ninja Turtle fans, 10-year-olds, to the screening of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. They loved it! I, on the other hand, was so distracted by the mouth-breathing Megan Fox (among other things) that I could hardly pay attention. Director Jonathan Liebesman tries to take a tired story and freshen it up with cooler turtles and a few known faces, but fails to deliver anything more than a predictable plot and passé characters tied up inside super cool live-action integration with cutting-edge VFX.
While the turtles have evolved in to like-like characters, they don’t really feel like teenagers, nor do they look like young turtles. Michael Angelo is the most boyish one of the four, but his brothers, Donatello, Leonardo and Rafael have manly voices and angry faces. This does not mean they aren’t cool, they are, but I expected more youthfulness. There are a few funny turtle moments and some childish antics, and the boys with me laughed and air-punched right along with the fearsome foursome. I have to say, I did enjoy watching the action sequences and the turtles, but long lulls in the storyline had me nearly dozing, but not my guests.
The adult/human actors, Fox as April O’Neil, Will Arnet (Vern Fenwick), and William Fitchner (Eric Sacks) are more cartoonish than the turtles. Fox does little more than pant through a constantly open and pouty looking mouth with brilliant white teeth, so much so I found it laughable. Sewer surfing, rain, hanging outside of speeding vehicles and neither hair nor makeup suffer. Sheesh! Arnet, who I typically find funny, became annoying as the movie progressed and finally, Fenwick, well, I won’t say because my comments might spoil any “surprise” twists. Voice actors (like Tony Shalhoub and Johnny Knowville) are used for the turtles, Splinter and Shreder, but in some cases two actors, one as voice and one as the turtle himself, are used and all of the voices are of full-grown men, not teenagers at all. Silly.
To say I didn’t enjoy aspects of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would be a lie. I am not the target, so that I sat patiently through it seems a plus. I feel bad for under 13s whose parents won’t let them see PG-13 films because the cartoons are still extremely popular with tweens and under, but I also get why it received the rating. Still, the violence and dark aspects are no different than say an Indian Jones or Star Wars film. My grandson said 9 out of 10 and his friend, Max, said 8 out of 10 stars They literally and figuratively saw the film through a different set of eyes. I am placing a C in my grade book.