Thursday, 2 June 2016

'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows' Review (2016): And Into The Trash

Of all the properties in the world, I can't imagine why this one has staying power. It's name alone is a jumbled mess of concepts, thrown at the viewer with the subtlety of a freight train. It seems like the type of thing that would have died years ago, maybe to be brought back as nostalgia passed like bad gas, but to consistently be present in every decade since the 80s feels...strange. For all that time the property seems largely unchanged from what it became in the old cartoon show, which I guess is impressive but also...kind of unheard of.

The latest from the heroes in a half-shell is 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows', a sequel to the 2014 reboot. Unlike that reboot, this film attempts to take a different approach. As the title suggests, 'Out of The Shadows' is a much brighter film that doesn't take itself quite as seriously as the first film. After all at the end of the day, it is a movie about giant turtles who fight ninjas.

Who apparently don't give a damn.
Part of that lightening of tone is in the inclusion of various elements of the TMNT canon. You have Bebop & Rocksteady, a pair of dimwitted henchmen turned into a giant Warthog & Rhinoceros respectively. Casey Jones, a hockey enthusiast pretty boy who for some reason despite being a cop, opts to use a hockey stick over a gun when fighting ninjas. And finally, there is Krang, which, to describe Krang would take more than I'm willing to write so here's all you need to know:

He's the pink thing. Got it? Good let's move on.
Despite the efforts to right the wrongs of the previous film, this movie is nonetheless bogged down by completely different problems. The dialogue is akin to that of an over the top anime. Characters explain their motivations in gratuitous detail, with exposition that is as unnecessary as it is boring. It's much better when it's not forcing information down your throat and actually becomes kind of fun at times.

That fun is found in the characters, which thankfully are the saving grace of this film. The four brothers in particular have a genuine sense of identity that plays well when you see them interact. It gives way to some of the more dramatic moments in the movie though, as there's a mysterious ooze which can grant the turtles the chance to look human and walk amongst the city they protect? How? Doesn't matter. Roll with it.

I mean if humans want to dress like turtles, why not.
That drama actually has some weight to it, as the internal struggle of this family team has always been, and remains a key element to this franchise. Of course when every film is beat for beat the same with a unified beginning, splitting up the team in the second half, and then reforming at the end, it does feel a little stale, but then the giant rhino exchanges quips with the giant turtle with an orange headband on, and you stop complaining about following a formula. 

The less said about the supporting human cast the better. New addition Casey Jones is played by Stephen Amell of Arrow fame. The only thing he brings to the table is another character to roll your eyes at when they open their mouth. Next in line are returning Megan Fox and Will Arnett who are doing the same as they did before, which is kind of just insulting to be honest. Oh well. At least Whoopi got out alive. 

Forgot she was in the first one? Good. She'd prefer it that way.
Yeah at the end of the movie I was definitely aware of the fact that I had not seen a very good film. In fact, I had seen a bad one. It's funny about...maybe 60% of the time which isn't bad, but the 40% when it's not is really bad. The action on the whole is actually pretty good, but it's all heavily CG so while it's not boring, it's kind of weightless. The characters are stupid so you don't really care about them at all, and the story was ripped out of a video game. (seriously this movie would make a great video game. Like how X-Men Origins Wolverine was a bad movie but a great video game).

Bad movie. Great game. 
Overall, it's a movie that kids will flock to. It has everything that I would've liked as a kid. It's loud, it's bright, it's got cool looking characters that would make great action figures. It's a stupid stupid film but, I can't say I didn't have fun with it. The key for a movie like this to work is for it to not ask me to take it seriously, and then spit in my face with a fart joke. It didn't ask me to take it seriously at any point, so that's why I'd say if you have to see it, I guess you should STREAM/RENT IT. 

ANR 5/10

Thanks for reading and wouldn't you know it, Take 4 actually did an episode on movies which focused on brotherhood just like this one. Sure the turtles are literally brothers but eh, close enough. You can listen to that here.


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