Review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)



What could be more ’80’s than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?   For me it started out as another toy commercial, when the Transformers fad was quickly dying.   It wouldn’t be until 1990 at science camp that a friend showed me the mirage comic.   The kid tested mother approved show was different from the literal black and white comic.   It’s your typical good vs. evil story, and if you know martial arts are you going to use it to be a mercenary  or seek spiritual enlightenment?   The origin of these characters has been told five – six times.   The question was did we need to hear/see another origin story?   Many fans were grabbing their pitchforks and torches and going “Michael Bay keeps ruining our childhood…rabble…rabble…rabble…

The thing is he just produced this one, Jonathan Liebesman (Director of the 2009 and 2012 Clash and Wrath of the Titans, Battle: Los Angles, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre : The Beginning), to name a few.   The point is I’ve seen these films, and like Michael Bay good with the CGI and explosions, short and plot, character development.  For me, this is one of the many reasons why TMNT ’14 is worse than a pizza with peanut butter and jellybeans.   The opening is much different than other TMNT films.   Here we get a narration from thier Master Splinter voiced by Tony Shaloub.   Telling his students, that they must study the art and style of a ninja.   They can never be seen because the “above world,” may never accept them. We then of course get the ’14 version of the Foot Clan, here they are not robots (as they were in the 1987 cartoon).   They just wear these weird metal masks.   They are stealing chemicals from Brooklyn, N.Y, as ordered by their Master Shredder Tohoru Masamune.



The script is penned by Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Evan Daughetry from Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, and Snow White and the Huntsman fame respectfully.   I can’t speak for everyone, however for me if you’ve seen those films heavy on action little on plot. Let’s not forget the four turtles here they’re…well what I thought realistic mutant turtles would be.   They’re a couple of feet taller, barrel chested and an interesting hybrid of mutant and reptile. Let’s not forget master Splinter, if IDW Comics have made him to look like a dog…The ’14 CGI…up close he looks like a horse with human eyes.   Also his tail acts like a separate character the way that 90’s comic book anti hero Spawn’s cape did.   Don’t get me wrong I liked how Splinter used his tail as a weapon to discipline the Turtles for sneaking out of the sewers or to fight Shredder.   So I’m actually at peace with the ’14 CGI incarnations of our Teenage Hero Turtles and their Sensi.

What I am not impressed with is the fight sequences.   I just feel like I am watching cut scenes of a video game.   Every time I saw a Turtle hit a Foot Clan member or Shredder fight Splinter or a Turtle I felt like I needed to plug in my PS4 controller and hit X,O,Triangle or Square. I didn’t believe that there was any fists, feet, or any other body parts hitting each other.   Everything happened way to fast.  Occasionally we’d get that slow motion/up close and personal shot…but that was about it.   Another problem was character development.   Granted Mikey, Raph, Leo, and Donnie all played off each other and brothers with mis matched personalities would.   Leo is the uptight one, Donnie the (Plot Device) brains, Raph the angry one, and Mikey the literal party animal.   As said before I like the designs and the voices.

Although it is unclear why Johnny Knoxville is the voice of Leo…Or Tony the voice of Splinter… Moving onto the human cast we get “let’s give her one more crack an franchise and hope she doesn’t call the director Adolf Hilter,” Megan Fox.    I will admit, as the last name goes she is a fox.   Acting wise…surprisingly she’s a scooch better…she’s not oversexed like she was in Transformers.    She’s taking breaths before reading her next line at times.   She’s not being used as eye candy…but I want to make something clear…her acting improved a little…don’t petition to The Academy or Golden Globes or any other awards show yet.   We get Will Arnet as Verne from the 80’s cartoon, here he’s just a prop trying to hit on April, Whoopi “I’m just here for a paycheck,” Goldberg.   William Fichtner as a watered down Lex Luther.   Minae Noji as Karai (Shredders adopted daughter.   And Tohoru Masamune as The Shredder. This is not the worst film of ’14.   I just wish the script would’ve been tighter.   Just to have Shredder and Foot steal a chemical and release it on NYC…been there done that.   The CGI is Adequate, as for the score and soundtrack for me it’s 50/50.   Depending if your a connoisseur of Movie Scores/Soundtracks.   It didn’t get my adrenaline pumping or make me want to purchase it after the movie.   Sorry for me it was generic and forgettable.   Knock Knock Shell-shock is no Ninja Rap.

Review Overview

Overall Score

Barely Failing

Bottom line is the classic tropes are here. Good Vs. Evil, April O' Neal, and they love Pizza. The Cons outweigh the Pros. Way too fast paced, the humans are uninteresting, and it feels like a video game. The plot felt like a three part TMNT 2003 episode. Rent this one at best.

User Rating: 3.8 ( 1 votes)
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  1. There are 2 things I agree with here.

    #1 YES Shell Shock is no Ninja Rap …. and

    #2 Yeah Knoxville as Leo was weird at first but by the time we get to the building scene I’m fine with all the voices.

    You say there is no plot? SURE there is!!! YES it is an origin story, but they combine multiple versions of the TMNT Origins into it. You say that Donnie being the brains is a plot device… HOW?

    Throughout the TMNT history Donnie HAS always been the brains, Leo the Leader, Raph the angry one, and mikey the party dude. So the personalities are there…. Something we can count on being true to the Turtles.

    You say the movie is too fast paced…… Not in the beginning it wasn’t SURE the end fight scene I’ll give you felt like a round of TMNT Smashed, but the rest of the movie I felt was well paced.

    I felt the music blended in with the action scenes, and the emotional parts swelled up when they were supposed to.

    Thankfully you didn’t say in your review… “THESE AREN’T MY TURTLES” lol The script here is sooooo much better than Age of Extinction. Because these guys are different writers!!! Thankfully. Great review….. even though I enjoyed the film more than you did.

    1. Well as far as Donnie being the plot device in this one…he’s the brains. Not that is a bad thing…but we never learn how or why…It just would’ve been interesting how each one developed their traits. For me, I still enjoyed the pacing of the 1990 cult classic. I wanted to add more where this wasn’t for kids…yet I sat with kids and they were into it. None of them cried when we Splinter up close…or when we thought Splinter could actually die in this one. It’s unpredicatble…just after reading the IDW comics…I wish they’d go with the IDW storyline. Also I loved one of the easter eggs regarding rabbits…hoping a certain samauri rabbit comes into play. Also we see a canister of mutengen. Rumor has it Beebop and Rocksteady will be in the next one.

      1. lets hope it’s B and RS not NEW unknowns although now I do like Tokka and Rahzzar

  2. I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews on this film. I haven’t seen it yet and plan to, if for no other reason than nostalgia, but I do wonder if some of the negative reviews are from people like myself who think Hollywood should stop remaking everything and leave our childhood classics alone.

    I will say, however, that in regards to your comment about it feeling like a video game, that The Shredder just looks ridiculous. I also think it’s kind of silly that we’ve got all of this comic book history to go off of, and seem unable to make a movie about ANY other villain than The Shredder. I for one would like to see some originality if we’re going to resurrect the franchise.

  3. I want to make it clear. My childhood is not ruined I was craving a live action. One has nothing to do with the other…I just loved the actor as Shredder I dont like his costume. I like these turtles, and crossing my fingers for future sequels

    1. I still think it’s 50/50 Shredder still needed to be out of that Spider Man Turn off the Dark Swiss Miss Costume. He’s much more threatening without it. This Shredder should have worn the 1990 attire. I like the Turtles traits, and personalities. Just wish they was a little more substance. Kari was just a waste of time.

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