Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

 

Paramount Pictures

 

Rating: PG-13

 

Reason for the Rating: Sci-fi action violence.

 

Plot Summary: Mighty mutant turtles must defend New York City from a gang who wants control it.

 

PopFam Recommends: You may roll your eyes a few times, but it'll be worth it to see your pre-teen boys loving this movie.

 

If you grew up in the 1980's and 90's, you probably remember the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their rat sensei who trained them in ninjutsu. As with many popular comic book and TV series, TMNT has now been made (again) into a full length movie. But is it worth seeing?

 

Michael Bay, producer of the TMNT and the Transformer movies, would have you believe it is, not only because of it's huge fan base, but because of the action, special effects, and actress Megan Fox. Fox plays April O'Neill, an upcoming TV reporter on the hunt for a story that will take her off the shallow “human interest” beat and land her in a “serious” news career. No one takes her seriously though, especially when she comes to the newsroom with wild tales—and no proof—of a mysterious vigilante fighting the Foot Clan, a organized crime gang that’s been terrorizing New York City for some time.

 

Frustrated, April purposefully puts herself in harm’s way in an effort to draw out this vigilante or vigilantes. What she discovers are four teenage mutant turtles who speak English, know martial arts, and are named after famous artists of the Renaissance era. This triggers a memory of her late scientist father, injecting four tiny turtles and a rat with a powerful, experimental serum. When a fire erupted in his lab, April saved said turtles and the rat, letting them go in the sewer. Now she realizes the mysterious vigilantes are actually her father’s experimental pets.

 

Of course, she's laughed right out of her job after proposing a story on the mutant turtles to her editor, Bernadette (a tired and tiring Whoopi Goldberg).

 

The movie that ensues is certainly full of action and cute-ish dialogue, but the dialogue is more often painful to endure, and the action (as well as the plot) is oversized and predictable. If you've seen Batman (with Christian Bale) and The Amazing Spiderman, you will see obvious plot similarities, which is disappointing. With all the TMNT cartoons made, there wasn't one plotline good enough to expand into an original movie? The screenwriters must have been short on ideas, I guess.

 

I’m going to admit it: As an adult, I hated this movie. My children? Loved it. Talked about it for several days afterward. They didn't care that it was predictable, or that the acting by the turtles was questionable. They didn't even care that Megan Fox was there to look at. They loved the action. They loved teenage mutant ninja turtles (and a rat sensei) who could fight, talk and ride skateboards. And that’s why this series has been around for 30+ years. It’s fun-action fantasy appeals to kids and the things they find interesting.

 

As the reason for rating indicates, there isn't much offensive language in the movie, but there is a lot of sarcasm and name calling that parents might want to be aware of. The beauty of Megan Fox is also certainly highlighted, and much reference is made to how desirable she is to most of the men in the movie. But, this is a Michael Bay movie, and I have come to expect that from all his movies.

 

As a grown-up, and having had some experience with the Ninja Turtles before, I found this movie disappointing. My kids though, loved it, and would certainly see it again. Now I just have to keep them from discovering the old TMNT cartoons on Netflix!

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• Which do you find more unbelievable, that Splinter could become a sensei by reading a book or that the turtles are so nimble and agile even with that huge shell on their backs?

 

• Splinter refers to April as a "guardian spirit," because she saved them from the fire. Do you believe in angels? Explain.

 

• If you could create a new superhero out of any animal, what would it be?

 

--JW

 

Tags: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,Michelangelo,Donatello,Raphael,Leonardo,Michael Bay,Megan Fox,Will Arnett

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

 

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