Movie Review - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Aside from a CGI film in 2007, it has been over 20 years since we've seen a live action film of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While that film didn't really spark a ton of interest in the property, it did lead to a Nickelodeon series that has been somewhat popular since it started in 2012. With Nickelodeon taking over the property they decided to reboot the series with a new live action film in 2014, bringing the Ninja Turtles back into the spotlight. It's a shame that they couldn't have brought them back in a fun or entertaining film.

In the new reboot we once again follow April O'Neil, this time played by a less than stellar Megan Fox, a news reporter who can't catch a break when it comes to her job. When an evil group called the Foot Clan and their leader Shredder try and take over the city April discovers a group a sewer-dwelling human sized turtles with the right skills to help protect the city. The turtles have always been kept away from society by their master Splinter but when April needs their help the turtles will do anything they can to protect her and the city from the Foot Clan.

Now when I was younger I was a fairly avid fan of the Ninja Turtles, however I wasn't the biggest fan of the original film. Sure it definitely had moments here and there but it was just a little too campy for my taste. This reboot on the other hand isn't really any better, in fact it's actually a step in the wrong direction if they want to reboot this franchise. Most people are blaming producer Michael Bay the film's shortcomings and while he may play a factor here I think most of the blame should go to the three writers as well as director Jonatham Liebesman.

While not everything here is completely bad there is definitely much more to groan at than enjoy. As for what they do get right, I actually did like the turtles here. Even though I'm not a big fan of the look of the turtles it felt like they were able to get their personalities right and they were in line with the turtles from the 80's cartoon. Other than the turtles the film doesn't do too many other things that are positive. There are some decent action sequences but there's a little too much slo-mo and the editing keeps you from really enjoying a lot of it.

The biggest problem here goes to Megan Fox as April O'Neil. For the film to focus on her more than anything else, she doesn't have the charisma or acting ability to carry any part of this. It almost felt like she got the role because Michael Bay wanted to apologize for not putting her in Transformers 3 so he got her to headline this. Anybody could have played this role and while they may not have been able to do much with this script I think had anyone else played April the film would have been slightly better. Another problem I had with April, this more in the writing than the acting, was the back story of her having the turtles as pets when she was younger. It seemed really forced and just felt like a way for them to connect her to the turtles for no reason at all. Something else that felt forced was the Shredder, but don't even get me started on that part of the film.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a nice film for kids and fans of Nickelodeon shows but the filmmakers and everyone involved feels like they don't really care about anything going on. It has a few moments here and there but ultimately it feels lazily made and the turtles should have just stayed a series on Nickelodeon.

Rating: 4/10