There is quite a variety of TMNT adaptations in cinema and television. However, only some of these interpretations have entirely captured the heart and spirit of the property. That is, until now. Writers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, and writer/director Jeff Rowe have come up with a thoroughly entertaining and exciting animated treatment of our beloved Ninja Turtles, and though, it isn’t exactly perfect, it comes pretty darn close to the spirit of the comics that once inspired and launched this franchise into its eventual popularity.

Scientist Baxter Stockman (Giancarlo Esposito) has developed a potent mutagen that turns ordinary animals into anthropomorphic humanoid beings. After successfully experimenting with a house fly, Stockman is hunted by the Techno Cosmic Research Institute, headed by Cynthia Utrom (Maya Rudolph). During the TCRI’s attempt at capturing Stockman and his data, Stockman accidentally releases his mutagen “ooze” into the sewer, inadvertently changing a rat and a family of turtles into sentient humanoid creatures.

Years later, the turtles have reached their teenage years, and the rat, now known as Splinter (Jackie Chan), has been raising the turtles, now known as Donatello (Micah Abbey), Michelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr.), Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu), and Raphael (Brady Noon) as his sons. While they have survived in the sewers, living in fear of humanity, the turtles crave a more normal life. Splinter has trained himself and his turtles in martial arts to protect his sons. However, the TCRI and the sentient housefly, now known as Superfly (Ice Cube), threaten their once peaceful existence and put the turtles’ moderate skills to the test.

Though I had initial reservations about this movie’s animation, I learned to love its style once I was immersed in this world. I always found it engaging in the great story and character development. For those who haven’t watched any trailers, the animation of Mutant Mayhem is a hybrid of computer-generated stop-motion animation and an animation style strikingly similar to that of the Spiderverse movies. After quickly adjusting to this unique style, I loved it and felt immersed in this animated comic book brought to life.

So, director Jeff Rowe and his animation team deserve much kudos for pulling this off, but an aesthetically pleasing movie needs a great script, too. That is not a problem, given that the writers of this film have much love and appreciation of the source material. Rogen, Goldberg, and their co-writers have developed a story and plot that delivers thrills, action, and comedy guaranteed to entertain its audiences thoroughly. These creative minds have solidly crafted a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie that captures what it would be like to be turtles metamorphosed into strange but magnificent creatures.

I must also praise the casting department of this movie, as they have cast real teenagers to voice our beloved heroes. The actors portraying the Ninja Turtles do exceptional work in realizing these fun characters. In addition, I love that Giancarlo Esposito, Jackie Chan, John Cena, Hannibal Buress, Rose Byrne, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Post Malone have also been cast in some significant roles here. However, the one voice actor who deserves much love is Ice Cube, who has a blast as the mutant villain Superfly.

Though his villainous plot seems all too familiar, this always takes a little away from the great time this movie intends to deliver. Fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will have an absolute blast with this new movie and will find it very refreshing compared with previous attempts at the material. For those completely unfamiliar with the property, I can certainly see this movie converting them into adoring fans.

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