Friday, August 15, 2014

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (2014) Review - Written by Jim Herling

"Knock, knock, you about to get shell shocked."

The lyrics above, offenses to grammar and all, are the absolutely ridiculous chorus to "Shell Shocked," the even more absurdly ludicrous theme rap of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. I'd love to tell you that the song, which is so bad it makes me remember longingly the days of Vanilla Ice and "Go Ninja Go Ninja Go," is just an anomaly, a sad aberration in an otherwise good movie. I'd also love to tell you movie ticket prices will decline in the next year, but we'd all know the truth.

And the truth here is that Ninja Turtles absolutely sucks.

What made it so awful? It wasn't the look of the Turtles, although their design was ridiculous; all of the Turtles had so many crappy accessories on them that served no purpose at all except Donatello's glasses and headgear. They looked ridiculous, and that's not even touching on the monstrous design of their bodies and faces, all roided up... I mean, Raphael looked like a juicehead who never heard of leg day. The admittedly flawless CGI on the Turtles couldn't save the designs. Splinter's CGI, on the other hand was awful, as was his back story: he was neither a ninja master mutated into a rat as in the cartoon or a mutated rat who mimicked his master; he was just a lab rat mutated alongside the turtles who taught himself martial arts from a book he found in the sewer and then taught the turtles. And then he started dressing in Asian-style robes and grew a Fu Manchu rat-moustache for no inexplicable reason except because stereotypes.

The story, written by Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec, and Evan Daugherty and directed by Jonathan Liebesman, doesn't get much better from there. The turtles and Splinter were mutated by April O'Neil's (Megan Fox, as sexy and talentless as ever) father and his partner Eric Sacks (William Fichtner, so far removed from the talented performances he's put in in the past that he was barely recognizable. Sacks, it turns out, is a businessman/scientist working for the Shredder and the mutagen is his attempt to create a cure to protect his master and himself from a poison Shredder plans on releasing. He also jacks up Shredder's armor so he's a Wolverine knockoff with more blades than I could count, detachable blades he can fire from his arms and then pull back into his arm through no explainable method but it sure wasn't magnets because nothing else moved.


So Fichtner is basically a Baxter Stockman wannabe. Which is fitting, since the Foot Clan here is just as much of a ripoff; they aren't ninjas, they're just thugs with guns who are called the Foot Clan because of how they step all over the little guy.

Yes, this movie is that stupid. I could keep going. For example, I could spend paragraphs on how disturbing Michaelangelo's blatant desire to bang April is (she makes his shell tighten, apparently), or how awful Johnny Knoxville is as Leonardo's voice. It wasn't all bad, though. Like I said, the turtles' CGI was good. The action scenes were well done. Other than creepy perv Mikey, the turtle characterization was on point. But in the end none of that matters because, well... you just got shell shocked.

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