This was my review from last week. I got to see the premiere.
This review will be called “Missing The Point” or, as we shall refer to it for the whole review, MTP.
The entertainment industry has uncovered a “new” way to make money, that is, to re-invigorate/re-invent/re-create/re-make/capitalize(whee!) on what people have liked in the past, for nostalgic appeal. After all, if you liked something before, theoretically, you’d still like said thing after, say, … almost two decades, right?
In this case, the new TMNT movie succeeded. Rather than re-telling the “four-turtles-and-a-rat-getting-it-on-with-an-accidentally-spilled-batch-of-mutagen” story. (That most children of the 90s are pretty much well-versed with.) The new TMNT film is a sequel, of sorts, to the first 3 films, conveniently wrapping it up with fancy CGI and elements from the original comic books and the 2003 series.
What does this mean? It means that the new TMNT film will likely appeal more to long-time shellheads rather than kids getting to see this stuff for the very first time. The plotline is pretty much a cross between the early comics (Eastman and Laird, yeh!), an episode of the 2003 series and an episode of The Thirteen Ghosts of Scooby-Doo. If you were ever just a fan of the original ’87 series and not the comic books, then you’re going to notice that the trailer for Ferrel’s Blades of Glory provided more LOL-moments than the whole film. Which is acceptable, since technically, this is a Frank Miller movie. (Minus the whores.) Adhering more closely to the nitty-gritty comicbooks (originally, they KILLED The Shredder in the first issue) the original comics parodied. (Fun fact: Eastman and Laird were brainstorming for a new comicbook and Miller’s run on Daredevil just happened to bring in ninjas into the fold. Hence, “The Foot” clan. Daredevil (and, this is a parenthesis within a parenthesis, I am aware, and the whole of the Marvel U) still go crossing paths with ’em ninjas from “The Hand” clan.) So yeah, that guaranteed most of the action, really.
So where does MTP step in? This film featured the turtles years and years after their glory days, meaning, they aren’t so teen-aged anymore, right? So what are they? AMNTs? GuMNTs? Michaelangelo suffered the brunt of MTP, in that he was depicted more like an autistic-surfer-junkie-hooked-on-the-90s rather than just the party-dude that he is. (Leonardo leads, Donatello dusts machines; Raphael is cool but crude, Michaelangelo is a party dude!) Did he even bring out the ‘chucks? (MTP!) I can’t even remember. Having the “N” stand for “ninja” in the title really puts expectations on the film — to me, it felt like it didn’t have enough ninja-fun-time action scenes, especially during the crowd fights. It all gets too messy, and thus, MTP of having “N” in the title.
Oh, and yeah, for some reason April O’Neil’s a ninja. From damsel-in-distress reporter (I miss the yellow jumpsuit), to lab assistant, to antique-store owner, she is now a ninja who’s on equal footing with ninjas from the foot clan. Really now, that’s bigtime MTP!
Although for the most part, it is pretty cool how the whole CGI-thing worked out. Everything looked great, and the representation of the turtles is pretty much acceptable. Tons of great detail jammed into what seems like two-season’s-worth of story packed into two hours. I loved the Leo/Raph fight scene best, since, well, it isn’t like the first time this has happened, though notably, it’s only really happened in the original books/2003 series much more often. (As a kid, this might’ve been something I overlooked in the ’87 series, that, along with the whole “New Mutations” season.)
I said all these, but I was grinning for most parts during the movie. It’s an okay (re-?)jump-start for the franchise, but it lost most of the younger audience’s attention with its seriousness. Am I going to see it again? Yeah, probably. I’m a child of the 90’s — the turtles are pretty cool in the sense that, growing up knowing them would mean that no matter what happens, even if they start jumping dimensions/going off into cosmic adventures, a new film isn’t too bad. So yeah, if you’re geeking out right-at-this-moment, go see it! Just don’t expect to see Baxter the Fly, The Rat King, Krang, Bebop, Rocksteady, The Shredder, Leatherhead, The Neutrinos, Dimension X, Usagi Yojimbo, Napoleon Bonafrog and Metalhead showing up. — this isn’t your kuya’s TMNT.
(Fun fact: for my birthday last year, to do something that would bring back childhood memories, I got some season 1 eps of the ’87 series. A day later they released the trailer for this film. Whee)
On a side note, GTA IV’s trailer was released last Thursday!