Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Alan Ritcher, Noel Fisher, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard
Written by: Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, Evan Daugherty, (based on characters created) Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman
Running Time: 101 mins
Release date: 17th October 2014
Back in 1990, the first film based on the cartoon creations of Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman hit our screens and became the biggest grossing Indie film of all time (until The Passion of The Christ came along). Since then, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle haven’t fared well in cinemas. Two sequels (including one starring Vanilla Ice!) failed to reach its original while a completely CGI animated version in 2007 flopped. Now they are back in a live action/CGI and to be honest, I don’t think they’ve met the grade here either.
New York is under threat from terrorists the Foot Clan, led by Shredder. Aspiring journalist April O’Neill stumbles on a foiled robbery by what she describes as vigilantes. No one wants to listen to her. She encounters them again in a subway, only this time she unmasks them as giant turtles. Invited into their world, they have to stop a plan to infect New York with a deadly virus.
Although it says the film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman, this has producer Michael Bay’s grubby fingerprints all over it: annoying flash glare across the screen, unsubtle product placements, ill-advised gags and as loud and chaotic as possible so the audience cannot see the gaping holes. Oh, and some well placed sexism. Yes, Bay is doing to the Turtles exactly what he did to Transformers.
So we get lots of angled shots as the four heroes annoyingly fight and joke through a series of set pieces, some completely contrived like having a top scientist’s home set in a snowy backdrop. Cue chase down a mountain (the longest mountain ever).
Actually when you think about it, having fights, explosions and noise, noise, noise is exactly what the audience want. Well, the 12 year old this film is aimed at. The rest of the audience, who probably have fond memories of the cartoon series or those early films will be bemused by the fast-paced, loud and confused action sequences.
The positive side is that Bay hasn’t given us another 3 hour monstrosity like he did earlier this year with Transformers: Age of Extinction. In fact, at 101 minutes, this does zip along at a cracking pace and is over before you really know it. Thankfully because the Turtles were just about grating on me with their witless comments and annoying banter.
The performances aren’t particularly special either. Megan Fox, as April, may look the part but she struggles with the basics of acting and finds it hard to look at Turtles that aren’t there. Will Arnett is badly miscast as a camera man with a crush on April, that frankly comes across more as creepy. Only the always reliable William Fichtner as scientist Eric Sacks gives the film some well needed hamming up. He joyfully chews up each scene he is in. Maybe they should have scraped the Turtles and just concentrated on him.
I have to admit, I am disappointed. I wanted to hate this but if compared to previous Turtle adventures, it is a step up from The Secret Of The Ooze but it fails to reach anything that either Marvel or DC have done in the past. Apart from Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.