Our review of the fourth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, their first fully animated feature. Premiering early in the Year of Hell, 2007, it found a completely unreceptive audience, caught seven different breeds of shit, and promptly fell down the collective Memory Hole. Is it yet-another worthless addition to yet-another overrated franchise? Or the sequel Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 should’ve been sixteen years prior? Or both? It could always be both…
4 thoughts on “TMNT (2007)”
You know both Kevin Michael Richardson and Nolan North would go on to voices in the new Ninja turtles cartoon series playing Shredder and the Krang respectively
I do. It’s one of the things that game me initial hope for the series, regardless of who owns/broadcasts it. That, the quality of the animation, and the fact that all the Turtles have their own individual personalities again, rather than having to share one between the for of ’em. Would that a certain Paramount film had followed its example. Those first two episodes are 44 minutes of solid countering to the “It’s for kids – it doesn’t need to be good!” argument…and Jonathan Liebesman’s film.
TMNT is a frustrating movie for me because it’s actually quite good, as you mentioned. Like you, I was one of the major Turtles fans who just flat out overlooked it because I’d given up on the franchise and still haven’t bothered to return (though I gave the 2nd cartoon a look and approved of it–even if it wasn’t “my” Turtles). TMNT is a great season of a TV series saddled with the fact it’s a film.
On a basic level, TMNT is a movie which has a weak center because it doesn’t know which Turtles it is. Is it the Turtles from the movies? The Turtles from the comics? A rebooted Turtles which really doesn’t need explanation because EVERY CHILD IN AMERICA knew the origin by osmosis by then? The fact the bulk of its plot is a Pokemon meets Thirteen Ghosts of Scooby Doo excuse for action says how much they didn’t really have any writing onboard. Except, obviously, THEY DO because there’s so many good character beats here.
I even love Ninja April or, as I call her, Sarah Michelle Gellar as April O’Neil as the Yellow Ranger.
It strikes me this movie could have been great and a nice theatrical reintroduction to the turtles if they’d kept all of the wonderful characterization and had a villain plot which you didn’t need the Question’s bulletin board to figure out. “Hell dimension, friends turned into statues, Vandal Savage, magic statues in the jungle, turtles divided, and the Foot Clan.” I’ve memorized the motivations of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat games plots eaiser than this.
Still, dammit if it’s not so GOOD in places.
Like Turtles Forever. Which is also good but probably INCOMPREHENSIBLE to anyone who is not a turtlephile.
You went with “Yellow Ranger”; I went with “Bruce Lee’s outfit from Game of Death.” Either way, we get to the same place – an entirely logical place for April’s character. That’s pretty much the case for everyone here…except Leo. And, therefore, vicariously, Splinter. I still can’t wrap my head around the old rat’s logic. “In order to ensure my eldest is capable of leading this perpetually-adolescent team, I’m going to…send him away. From the rest of the team. For at least a year. There’s no way that will horribly backfire, creating even more of the resentful animosity that’s been kneecapping the brother’s teamwork since the word ‘Go.’ I’m positive neither Leo or Raphael will take it personally.”
They plainly included that element to provide an in-universe explanation for the temporal gap between flicks…which always strikes me as utter madness whenever these twenty-year-after-the-fact sequels do it. I bag on Crystal Skull, but at least it had the good sense to just open up on something sensible. No apologies, no gratuitous catching-up (at least not right off…but once the FBI interrogation0 scene’s done…oh boy…) just: “Act One: Scene One: Indiana Jones fucks shit up, as usual.” Fine! None of this “take half an hour to get the point that first movie got to in three” bullshit.
Maybe if TMNT’d opened with some explanation for Leo’s mandatory sabbatical…an on-screen explanation, mind. Some Turtles vs. Foot mission that went horribly wrong because Leo made a bad call at the wrong time, or…I don’t know. Something! Anything’s better than opening with a Grand Unified Spoiler for the flick’s remaining 75 minutes.
I still contend there’s nothing at all complicated about this plot, except it’s muddled (and redundant) (needlessly redundant) presentation. It feels more complicated than it really is…certainly much more than it ever needed to be…because the alien-brain-monster-in-a-robot-body who got final cut on this fucker utilized a species of logic that is not at all like our Earth Logic. All in the name (I contend – though I obviously have no proof) of “dumbing it down for the bloody casuals,” if you’ll pardon the video game critic’s terminology.