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Overall Rating
3.57

Awesome: 21.74%
Worth A Look30.43%
Average30.43%
Pretty Bad: 17.39%
Total Crap: 0%

5 reviews, 16 user ratings


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TMNT - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2007)
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by Todd LaPlace

"The Turtles won’t hurt me if I call it average, right?"
3 stars

When the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in a comic, the book was actually pretty violent and certainly not meant for kids. The Turtles most of us are familiar with are the stars of three PG movies and the wildly successful cartoon series. They’re less about violence and more about pizza. But now that the series is a little older (as are the kids that grew up on it), wouldn’t it make sense to make the newest incarnations a little darker as well? Am I the only one that would rather see an R-rated “Turtles” movie? Because as “TMNT” shows, this PG stuff just isn’t quite working anymore.

“Leonardo leads,
Donatello does machines,
Raphael is cool but crude,
Michelangelo is a party dude.”

It’s times like these that you simultaneously want to love and despise Web sites like YouTube. On the one hand, it provides easy access to clips from the old “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” cartoon, including the excellent opening credits that featured the lyrics above. On the other, though, it’s actually a pretty sad realization that brain space is still being spent on those same lyrics. Yep, that’s right. I can still sing the entire theme song, which admittedly, is slightly sad. Nostalgia and shame are battling it out in my brain right now, and it’s not looking good for nostalgia. It’s one thing to have owned a whole slew of action figures when you’re 10, but it’s quite another to still sing along to the theme song at 24. But then again, there is a guy out there somewhere proudly walking around in his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles track jacket, so maybe I’m not so sad after all. Whew.

The new computer-generated “TMNT,” which is apparently the way all the cool kids are saying it nowadays (including the current comic book series), is the first appearance of the Turtles in 10 years (although even that was a short-lived live-action series that featured a fifth, female Turtle). Still not convinced that the Turtles are getting pretty old? The climax to 1991’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze” was not only set to his music, but featured a cameo appearance from Vanilla Ice. And despite what his appearances on “The Surreal Life” say, do you remember the last time he was an A-list celebrity? Do kids even remember what this stuff is anymore?

Despite its adult-skewed appeal, “TMNT” is still full of silly kid-friendly hijinks. The harshest language is “doofus” and the action is just a cartoon-y as you’d expect from a group of large adolescent reptiles, led by an aged Asian rodent, battling a 3000-year-old immortal, a group of ninjas named after a foot and a collection of 13 oddball monsters (coming soon to a toy store near you!). Since “TMNT” supposedly acts as a sequel to the first three movies, Shredder is still dead, lying somewhere at the bottom of the East River. Leonardo (voiced by James Arnold Taylor) still leads, but has been sent to Central America for further training. Donatello (Mitchell Whitfield) still does machines as an IT specialist. Raphael (Nolan North) is definitely still crude as he maintains his old surly attitude, even as he acts as a late-night vigilante. Michelangelo (Mikey Kelley) is still a party dude, since he works the kid-party racket as the entertainment. The old group dynamic has definitely fractured again and apparently at the worst possible time. That immortal man (Patrick Stewart) has gathered his immortal stone generals to capture those monsters before a portal opens up and expels demon after demon until the entire world is wiped out. And oh yeah, he’s teamed up with the Foot Clan, now led by Karai (Zhang Ziyi), to finish the job.

With all these demons running around, it’s fortunate that April O’Neil, now apparently an archeologist (who runs her own company with boyfriend Casey Jones), just happened to be in Central America and convinced Leonardo to return and lead the team again. It’s unfortunate though that April is now voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar. It’s a complaint that will never get old, but it’s always a distraction to use celebrity voices in an animated movie. Gellar and Stewart are easily the most recognizable, but the cast also includes “Fantastic Four’s” Chris Evans, Kevin Smith, Laurence Fishburne and the late Mako, in his last role. The goofy spirit of the Turtles is not summed up in an appearance by that guy from “The Matrix”; it’s all about crazy Turtle-dominated fights, cliché surfer-speak, X-Games level skateboarding skills and plenty of pizza-eating madness, all of which is unfortunately in too short supply. After Batman and James Bond successfully staged relaunches, I think writer/director Kevin Monroe thought he could take the Turtles in a new direction. He’s certainly made a perfectly watchable movie, but he misses the mark by mistakenly assuming he’s working with a film franchise. In reality, though, he’s working with nostalgia that’s still beloved by a generation, which does not take kindly to tinkering with the formula. Little touches like Michelangelo saying “dude” in his sleep are nice touches, but those light touches are simply too few to recapture that vital spark that made the Turtles so successful the first time around. What does “TMNT” need to work? That should be obvious by now: Turtle Power!

I have very fond memories of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I actually had the Raphael costume set (which is odd since my favorite was always Donatello) and piles of action figures. Maybe I’m just being overprotective of the series, but unless they want to make it more adult, I want the same Turtles that I remember, not this new, slightly disappointing incarnation.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15539&reviewer=401
originally posted: 03/26/07 09:50:46
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User Comments

6/28/12 teenage mutant ninja turtle Teenage mutant ninja turtle movie is the best movie. specifically last week together all of 5 stars
1/01/09 The Dork Knight Definitely merits a sequel. And more Karai, plz ^__^! 5 stars
11/10/08 Monty A great update to the franchise, PG-13 action would have made it perfect. 4 stars
7/20/08 Shaun Wallner Great Kids Film! 4 stars
8/10/07 Charles Tatum Some nicely rendered scenes, but still standard stuff 3 stars
8/08/07 ES It was a great update for the story but there are some huge plot holes, too bad 4 stars
6/15/07 William Goss Fine to keep the kids occupied, but not quite enough for anyone else. 2 stars
5/25/07 David Pollastrini liked the guys in suits from the original better 3 stars
3/31/07 JM Synth Much better than anyone had any reason to believe it would be 4 stars
3/29/07 Jason P. brought my 3-year-old to this and he loved it everybit as much as i did! 4 stars
3/27/07 Tom better than those stupid 80's movies, thankfull the director read the comics first! 5 stars
3/26/07 Sean Y. True to the comics. At least they didn't follow the pointless 87 show. 4 stars
3/26/07 Pokejedservo A fun little movie a tad bit predictable but overall a solid little movie 4 stars
3/25/07 The Talking Elbow I didn't find anything to dislike about this movie. Critics are too bitter. 4 stars
3/24/07 Mike Loved this in the 90's but really didn't now. They should've at least played the old music! 2 stars
3/23/07 huyen nguyen 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  23-Mar-2007 (PG)
  DVD: 07-Aug-2007

UK
  23-Mar-2007 (PG)
  DVD: 22-Oct-2007

Australia
  05-Apr-2007 (PG)


Directed by
  Kevin Munroe

Written by
  Kevin Munroe

Cast
  Patrick Stewart
  Sarah Michelle Gellar
  Chris Evans
  Zhang Ziyi
  Kevin Smith



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