TMNT the movie is the latest update of the franchise that started as a 1980s black and white indy comic, and later went on into a long running cartoon, accompanied by various video games, and even a few other movies at one point. This latest film opens with comic book like imagery showing the basics of the turtles origins. While it looked cool in the long run it was unnecessary as we get a story told through reporter April O Neil’s point of view. Ultimately this movie is April’s story of wanting to be a respectable reporter, which I enjoyed.
The Foot Clan, now a paramilitary like criminal army is terrorizing the city. April is a reporter covering ridiculous stories like fly by night fitness trainers etc while she desperately wants a real story. One night she catches the Clan being fought off by someone, and at first she presumes it’s a lone vigilante fighting back. When she discovers the actual truth, it of course makes it even harder for her boss, played by Whoopi Goldberg, to take her seriously. The phrase Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is mixed around a but, and we even get some fan service to the old rumor that they were going to be aliens in this movie. A character actually says that would be stupid.
The turtles themselves are true to how I remember them in the cartoon (The Turtle Van even shows up at the end). Leonardo is the leader, Donatello is the science/gadget whiz. His nerdiness is played up more and I liked that he was physically the smallest of the four. Michelangelo is the party dude I remember from the cartoon. He drops lots of nerd references like Star Wars, Batman, Marvel, etc, along with other jokes and humor. Raphael is the hot head who sometimes doesn’t get a long with the others. This could have been played up more because it culminates in a great emotional moment for him that should have had more impact. Turns out that April has a personal connection from her past to the turtles which tightens the narrative.
The villains plot involves something special about the Turtles which was different. The action scenes were done well. Though I have to say if you really think about it there’s no reason plot wise for Shredder’s armor to exist. One action scene in the subway honest to got brought back memories of Ron Perelman’s Vincent from the 1980s TV show Beauty and the Beast. The best action scene was definitely going down a snowy mountain in a semi truck.
TMNT is one of those movies where the concept is completely ridiculous, and it just takes that concept and runs with it. So all in all I enjoyed it.