Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) – Review

3 1/2 Stars

I present to you reader, with a mix of shame, embarrassment, and bemusement, my whole-hearted endorsement of the Ninja Turtles reboot. I had been putting off viewing this update because of my affinity with the source material. The Turtles were one of my favorite line of toys, cartoons, and movies in my childhood years. I didn’t think of myself as prepared for the retelling, but to my astonishment the creators got everything right, from the small details of behavior, to wardrobe choices. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is as exhilarating and technically sophisticated as the first Transformers movie, given a glossy sheen and sporting top-notch visual effects Turtles is first-rate family entertainment.

The basic story line from the original comic has been preserved, once again we have the evil foot clan running a crime wave over the citizens of New York City. News reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) is a stuck covering trivial stories about fitness, but she craves big-time investigate journalism to sensationalized pieces. One night she is witness to an attack on the foot clan by a group of vigilantes. The crime-fighters turn out to be the genetically mutated ninja turtles of the title, each with the name of different Italian artist.

The quadruplets are presided over by their sensei, a mutated rat with the moniker ‘Splinter’. A youthful power struggle between Leonardo (Johnny Knoxville) and Raphael (Alan Ritchson) over control of the group is ever-present, leading to a divide within. Meanwhile, their nemesis the all-powerful crime lord, Shredder, is causing chaos throughout the city. Stumbling upon the greatest story of her fledgling career, O’ Neil realizes that she has a past with the turtles and maybe in danger from a crazed tycoon (William Fichtner), who is in cahoots with Shredder.

Smattering the kid friendly with doses of throwback references and some truly amazing special effects, TMNT has the ability to seem both technically advanced and old-school at the same time. Even though Jonathan Liebesman is credited as director, producer Michael Bay’s imprint is felt the most on the overall product, it shines in the same ways that his best work does. At a swift 100 minutes this retelling manages to score big points with fans of the original and a newer younger generation of viewers, if the inevitable follow-ups are even half as good as this one, I welcome the onslaught of sequels.

Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Stars: Megan Fox, Alan Ritchson, William Fichtner

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