Hot Take: Heroes in a snore shell.
What happens when the nostalgia wears off? The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a run of three films in the ’90s and was followed by an animated movie before the 2014 reboot. (I’m mercifully leaving out the Coming Out of Their Shells tour where the TMNT became a band.) With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, the turtle brothers have now made more trips to the big screen than Transformers. (The Transformers have probably been on screen more than the Turtles since each Transformers movie is roughly 6-7 hours long in my estimation.) At this point, I think any points TMNT earns for bringing back someone’s childhood are exhausted. Now, it’s all on whether or not the latest incarnation of TMNT is any good. Unless your having trouble sleeping, this one is pretty useless.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows feels like something I dreamed up in my room as a young kid playing with Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo action figures. If anything, this edition is probably the closest to the original cartoon series thanks to the introduction of Bebop and Rocksteady and the arrival of Kraang. However, the franchise has had plenty of time to make such a move and now, it’s almost too little too late. Plus, have you gone back and watched the original animated series after “teen” was removed from any semblance of your age? I have. It’s tough. Almost unwatchable.
This movie might be great for the under-15 crowd. I remember watching Harry and the Hendersons when I was 12 when it finally hit cable on a virtual loop. Back then, the premium cable networks liked to show movies more frequently than they do now and Harry and the Hendersons was on for what seemed like 48 hours of a 24 hour day. I watched it. A lot. It was fabulous. A few years back, I came across Harry and the Hendersons on cable again. I watched it again. Well, until I turned it off for fear of losing a few brain cells. Watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows felt a lot like this experience.
If you have kids, they might be in for a treat. If you haven’t quite outgrown your childhood and still pop in old episodes of afternoon cartoons, TMNT: Out of the Shadows might work for you, too. Otherwise, you might doze off during the inevitable climactic fight scene and wake up in a puddle of drool like I did. Don’t worry though, you won’t be lost when you come to, just sad you didn’t sleep through more.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Homage to the Cartoon
This version is the closest to the original cartoon than anything previously produced involving TMNT. The introduction of Bebop and Rocksteady were actually very good and Kraang looked cool on the big screen.
- Transparently Shameless
When Megan Fox’s April O’Neill attempts to sex some secrets away from Tyler Perry’s Baxter Stockman, it’s one thing. When it doubles down and has her change from sultry nerd girl to slutty school girl in a busy common area, you realize this movie gives zero shits what you think of it’s artistic integrity. There’s nothing wrong with that. It might have been better if it did more of that, actually.
- Visually Impressive Villains
The additions of Bebop, Rocksteady and Kraang were all cool to see but screenshots would have been enough to satisfy the curiosity.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Was It Made By A 12-Year-Old?
We get it. This movie targets a younger audience. So did Zootopia and you never felt dumber for watching it. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows had an unprecedented juvenile quality for the TMNT series of films.
- 2016: The Year of Overcrowding
As these big budget superhero/cartoon films get bigger, there’s a common misstep and that’s the attempt to overstuff the films with as much crap they possibly can. The additions look nice but damn if they feel like you’re looking at someone wearing pants two sizes too small. It’s uncomfortable and doesn’t work.
- Where’s the Pizza?
There was entirely too little pizza consumption for my liking.