HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014
HTS Overall Score:86
The Ninja Turtles franchise is just one of those influences that just won’t die. I STILL see Ninja Turtles costumes in Halloween shops, the comics are being redistributed and they have revived several VERY successful animated TV shows on them over the last 10 years or so too. They’ve all been slightly different than each other, with the comics being a rather dark and brutal series, the old TV show was a lot lighter, and some of the newer TV shows going much closer to the comics in tone. Most of us who read these reviews have grown up watching the old 90’s movies and base a lot of our perceptions about Jon Liebesman’s new 2014 reboot around those three cheese fests. Even with that in mind, this new reboot fails on just about every level.
April O’Neil (Megan Fox) is an intrepid reporter who is tired of working on fluff pieces for the local news. Wanting to be a real reporter she is moonlighting a case about the famed criminal gang, the foot clan, which got its name because they “stomp all over the good people of New York” (wait, what?). They’ve been terrorizing the city and she believes this story could boost her into REAL journalism. The problem is, no one will believe her when she comes back with news that giant turtles are vigilantes who are combating the Foot Clan’s every move lately. Getting frustrated she and her partner disbelieving partner Vern (Will Arnett) try to uncover more about these turtles, only to find out more than she ever wanted to know.
It seems that years ago, when April was a child her dad and one Dr. Sacks (William Fichtner) worked on a mutagenic substance from another world in hopes of finding a cure for diseases and the like. Only April’s dad found out that Sacks was working with the Foot clan’s leader, Shredder, and was planning to use it to kill millions of people with a deadly toxin and then “sell” them the cure to make billions. Sacks and Shredder burn the entire operation to the ground, including her father, but not before her childhood pets, a rat named Splinter (Tony Shalhoub), and a set four snapping turtles get injected with the good. Now we have our cadre of heroes, Leonardo (Johnny Knoxsville), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher) and Raphael (Alan Ritchson). Mutated at an accelerated rate the 4 turtles have learned the art of Ninjutsu from Splinter, who learned it from reading a thrown away book (I know, right?).
Sacks and Shredder use April to unwittingly lead them to the Turtles lair and once there capture the turtles to take back to the lab. There they can extract the mutagen and use their dastardly plan of poisoning the city and selling the mutagenic cure. Now it’s up to April and Vern to break the turtles out and then take down shredder (who’s somehow wearing a giant mecha suit of armor).
Oh boy, where do I start? The movie isn’t a complete train wreck, but it’s really only holding on to the rails with one wheel, and that one wheel is Mikey. Mikey is a bright light in a tunnel of darkness. Pretty much nothing in the movie works without him. Shredder is a big bad ninja who instead of using much martial arts relies on a suit of armor that turns him into an Edwards Scissorhands Mech, with a billion blades that magnetically whirl around him. April is miscast with Megan Fox, Vern is ok, and he’s always been kind of dummy. Someone thought casting Whoopi Goldberg as April’s boss was a good idea (actually who thought casting Whoopi Goldberg in ANYTHING was a good idea) and we have an Arab sounding rat who teaches Ninjutsu instead of the famed Japanese enemy of shredder. Also, who had the bright idea of casting Jonhnny Knoxsville as Leonardo? The voice just sticks out like a sore thumb and grates the nerves. The rest of the turtles are fine, especially Mikey. Mikey’s always been the funny guy and he shines here, with a ton of references to the old “cowabunga” turtles of old in there, and I really like how they made Donatello the tech nerd. It really fits well.
With all that said, there’s still some fun things to the movie. You can see Michael Bay’s influential hand on the direction, even with him not the director as the spectacle level is off the charts. The CGI for the turtles is amazing and while there’s a few glitches here and there it feels like transformers for turtles. Big fight scenes, tones of action, explosions and turtles smashing things with their shells. My only complaint with the CGI was shredder, his giant CGI laden Mech suit just moved awkwardly. I’ve seen giant suits look a lot smoother in movies like “iron Man” or the like, and there was just something about the movement that made it look very fake.
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=34801[/img]Oh boy, Paramount has done it again. This week has been great with two 5/5 picture reviews with “Guardians of the Galaxy” and this one. The 2.40:1 AVC encoded image looks simply flawless. Shot on regular film stock it has a little bit of grain to it, but the image is so crystal clear that it almost looks like you’re IN the movie itself. Contrast is spot on with excellent skin tones and the colors are simply to die for. The bright primaries of the turtle’s head bands and the dull green and greys of the sewer match beautifully with the glitzy New York landscape. The snow battle literally is the best looking scene in the whole movie and sparkles from beginning to end with beautiful blue/white snow and the Turtles themselves are incredibly detailed, allowing you to see them caked in snow crystals and dustings during the battle only to have an impact knock some of it off. I was really impressed with the CGI in the film, as it made the turtles look extremely lifelike and with an incredibly sense of fluidity (too bad Shredder didn’t share that same fluidity). The Black sewer portions make good use of the black levels as the area is completely bathed in darkness or shadows, but the resulting image looks amazing. Top notch Paramount, top notch.
The 3D for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” was exceptional in the theater so I was slightly surprised when it was a bit lacking in the Blu-ray release. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a great looking 3D disc, but it was a slight step down from what I saw in the theaters. Colors and brightness don’t suffer from the 3D curse of looking darker than the 2D presentation and the amount of depth and layering is excellent. One scene in particular that stands out is where April is coming back to consciousness and you can see her hazy vision catching site of the turtles huddling around her. You’ll know exactly what I mean when you see it. It’s that good of an example of layering. There was some crosstalk and ghosting going on at times and I felt that it was obscuring some of the detail that I saw in the 2D presentation. So while I thought this was a great looking disc, it just didn’t match the awe inspiring feel of the 2D image.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=34809[/img]Paramount is bringing out more and more Dolby Atmos tracks for those who have the equipment and this one sounds simply flawless. For those of you without any Atmos equipment, fear not as it has a 7.1 TrueHD core track to enjoy, which is the basis for the Atmos track. This is another stunner from Paramount and it’s not hard to see why. This is your top notch action tracks with the aggression turned up to 10 and the sonic immersion level to match. The surrounds are used nonstop with some incredibly sonic detailing in the background. The sounds of weapons and blows hitting bodies comes through from all angle, immersing the viewer in a 360 degree battle. The impacts and car crashes throughout the film make it sound and feel as if the turtles themselves have the strength of a wrecking ball as wave after wave of powerful LFE bruises you into your chair. With all this action one might worry about the dialogue getting lost in the shuffle, but never fear, while the dynamic range is incredible I never once had to adjust the track due to unintelligible dialogue. Another Atmos track for the fans, and a great one at that.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=34817[/img]• Digital Reality
• In Your Face! The Turtles in 3D
• It Ain't Easy Being Green
• Evolutionary Mash-Up
• Turtle Rock
• Extended Ending
• Music Video
• Making of "Shell Shocked"
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is a big spectacle that sits high on the stupid fun aspect, but if you look past the spectacle it falls apart very quickly. Miscasting runs rampant throughout and it seems like more of an April O’Neil movie with the turtles as side characters, which runs along the same flaws that “Transformers” dealt with. The fans wanted to see the TURTLES, not the human characters for the most part. The audio and video are completely off the charts, though. The atmos track is brutally awesome and the actual film used for the video looks stunning and almost 3D even in a 2D viewing. I’d suggest renting it first, because blockbusters like this are truly dividing. Some people can deal with mindless blockbuster appeal with little substance and others can’t. Definitely a rental
Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Johnny Knoxville, Pete Ploszek
Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
Written by: Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, Evan Daugherty
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 core), French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1
Runtime: 101 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: December 16th 2014
Buy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3D combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2D Combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
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