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Why 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014' sucks

TMNT Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox movie still 2014

Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)


Since the film has already been released for more than 2 weeks, I'll make this review a quick and straightforward one (but it turned out way longer than I wanted it to be). Besides, this is my first review in 20 days and initially, I didn't want to watch it at all, so I'll give myself a break. Although TMNT gotten mostly negative reviews from the "top critics" in the west (according to Rotten Tomatoes), some people I know actually said that it's not that bad if you don't take it seriously. So since I had some free movie ticket vouchers sitting around waiting to be expired, I thought what the hell, let me just see how it is myself.



But to be fair, the film did maintain the Turtles' personalities from the comic/cartoon franchise, and allowed them to be fun and lively, unlike Michael "Explosions" Bay's Transformers. Many people, including myself, thought that it was Michael Bay who directed it, and I was afraid that that he was going to turn the Turtles into a bunch of aliens that talk like stereotyped black Americans. Thankfully, Bay was just a co-producer, and maybe that's why the film isn't entirely unwatchable. The voice cast of the Turtles did very well, sounding familiar while being refreshingly new, injecting the right energy and portrayal for the characters. But sorry, it was just too difficult for me to ignore these problems the movie has;

[WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS]

1. Relationship between the characters


Why did they have to relate April O'Neill's (Megan Fox) past directly with the Turtles? Did the writers have no idea that April was a great human character and friend to the good guys BECAUSE she's just an ordinary reporter? April's dad is the one who took in the Turtles and the rat, injected them with the mutagen he created with his partner and tried to burn everything down including the Turtles and Splinter. And then it turns out that his partner, Eric Sacks (William Fichtner), is a student of Shredder, the antagonist. What is this, a fucking Hong Kong TVB drama where all characters are somehow coincidentally related?

TVB Ninja Turtles meme

There's also no real rivalry between the Turtle's master and Shredder in this adaptation when this version of Splinter here is just a lab rat instead of being a Japanese Ninja master's pet or the mutated master himself. And then the mutated rat takes on the father figure for the baby Turtles after being "freed" by April from the lab's fire (if it wasn't because of the fire, April wouldn't have freed them and she was just a little girl back then for fuck's sake). He says he learnt how to love the Turtles after seeing how April's dad loved her. Right. First of all, Splinter, you're in the lab's aquarium/cage the whole time and I can't imagine that how a responsible dad would allow her daughter to be in such a lab with him more than once or twice a year. Shouldn't they be pissed off that her dad used them as experiments in the first place?

Basically, all the relationships in the movie failed horribly in engaging emotionally, or to even make things more exciting. They should've just followed the actual backstory instead of trying to be different by fucking everything up.

2. This version of Shredder is like a nobody


Shredder vs Splinter faceoff in Ninja Turtles TMNT 2014

According to some guys who were on Screen Junkies, they said Eric Sacks was supposed to be Shredder and then they did a reshoot to split the characters up maybe 'cause they panicked after realising that they've changed the origins of the key characters too much. Never mind that, but the end result is that they've turned the iconic villain of the franchise into a vague character that's not really menacing and completely forgettable. He looks like how Edward Scissorhands would be like in a Transformer form of Shao Kahn from Mortal Kombat. And those guys were spot on, the robot suit isn't supposed to be the thing that makes Shredder scary, it's Shredder, the character himself that's to be supposed to be scary! Were they trying to satisfy Michael Bay alone instead of the viewers and old fans? Come on.

3. No Krang, Bebop or Rocksteady again


Krang Bebop Rocksteady Ninja Turtles TMNT 2014 meme

This is the 4th live action Ninja Turtles film adaptation and yet Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady are no where to be seen or even teased. But then again, since they could fuck up Shredder and Karai (Minae Noji) alone, it's probably right to not include them yet until the sequel. Nevertheless, it's fucking disappointing that those beloved villains of the franchise are still not involved.

4. Overly illogical + Michael Bay tricks


Splinter April megan fox with Ninja Turtles TMNT 2014 stills

i. The Turtles are not real ninjas! Splinter learnt Ninjutsu from a book he came across in the sewer and taught it to the Turtles, but they somehow managed to perform quite well against Shredder, who's a real Japanese martial arts master and has real fighting experience. Dafuq? Now kids that watched this movie might think that they're something after just reading a book of "... For Dummies". It reminds me of the comments of this hardcore Tony Jaa fan who hated my review on Tom Yum Goong 2 and believed everyone who trained martial arts is considered a "fighter".

ii. Splinter calls his Turtles his sons, and the Turtles sees him as their father. So why the fuck call him Sensei?! Neither of them are from Japan and none of them is a real ninja.

iii. Shredder and Karai are from Japan but they can't hold a conversation in their native language for more than a few lines.

iv. Raphael is conveniently let go twice in the movie when the villain could've just either kidnapped him along with the other three Turtles, or killed him. The bad guys can come to the Turtles' home to kidnap them but they can't defend their own turf from Raphael alone.

v. It seems as though April saved the Turtles and Splinter from the fire instead of her own father. Eric Sacks supposedly shot her father to death during the fire but somehow nobody, not April or the police, knows anything about that before Sacks, like a typical movie bad guy, reveals the truth towards the end while trying to kill April.

vi. There's no real acting. All the key characters are computer-generated and unlike in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the motion capture here didn't exactly display the actors' facial expressions well enough. I can't even remember a scene where there's eye contact between the CG-ed characters or with the human characters. Shredder's eyes can't even be seen when he's in the Transformer suit. Even the 1990 low-budget adaptation shows more real acting (and action) than this, and by the way, that is still the best TMNT movie to date.

vii. The CGI of Splinter is just bad, period. Maybe that's the real reason why he's not clearly shown in the trailers and it's difficult to even find a still image of him.

viii. This probably wasn't started by Michael Bay but I'm sick of final acts with heroes saving New York City/Manhattan from an attack that has a bomb-like countdown and it'll be just there waiting to be deactivated.

ix. With all that being said above, they shouldn't have hired Jonathan Liebesman as the director. I don't think he has ever directed a good movie (Battle: Los Angeles, Wrath of the Titans) and he obviously had no idea of his own, just following whatever Michael Bay wants - heavy CGI, explosions, slo-mo action, mass destruction in New York City, and making no sense even to those who tried to not take this movie seriously at all. He's probably hired only 'cause he has had experience making shitty films with a lot of CGI and still earned the production a hell lot of money.

5. Fuck Megan Fox

First of all, fuck them for making April such an unlikable and annoying bitch. Megan Fox is hot, regardless of how strangely stiff her face is here, but she doesn't ever have to be the centre of the attention or have any importance for role, especially when she can't fucking act for peanuts. Perhaps it's deal she got for crawling back to Michael Bay with maybe a blowjob. If they're really going to involve Megan Fox this much, why not have her show more cleavage and legs, and maybe a sex scene with Michelangelo? None of her scenes here are even close to being a cock tease. If you're going to objectify Megan Fox, go all the fucking way! What's the point of mild sexploitation? What a waste of screen time, might as well give it to the characters that we, the viewers, care more about seeing, like you know, the titular heroes? Fucking hell.

MEgan Fox as April O'Neill in TMNT 2014

What I would've named the film: "All Covered-Up Megan Fox & the Fake Ninja Mutant Turtles"

Censorship in Malaysia: P13, nothing to cut. Even Megan Fox shows lesser skin here.

To watch in Atmos + D-Box + 3D? The audio's great in Dolby Atmos as always, but the seats had little impact on me, despite the intensity was full. I thought the D-Box coders got it wrong, the motion seats should've constantly followed the characters' movements, action and surroundings more than the camera's. Didn't watch it in 3-D, but it does look like the viewing can be "poppingly" immersive.

Second opinion: My girlfriend said, "It's okay, loved the action scenes but the story's too general. Megan Fox doesn't look like Megan Fox here, and if that girl really isn't Megan Fox, she looks like Megan Fox, you get what I mean?"

Verdict: Yes, it's not very good, but at least it's better than its co-producer's previous box-office-breaking piece of garbage.

Rating: 2 / 5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TMNT 2014 poster malaysia Based on: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman's comic franchise "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"

Genre: Sci-fi, action, comedy, superhero
Running Time: 100 minutes
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Screenwriters: Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, Evan Daugherty
Cast: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, William Fichtner, Jeremy Howard

Malaysia Release Date: 7 August 2014
Rated: P13
Local Distributor: United International Pictures (UIP) Malaysia



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