Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, 2016.
Directed by Dave Green.
Starring Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, Alan Ritchson, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Peter D. Badalementi, Tony Shalhoub, Tyler Perry, Brian Tee, Gary Anthony Williams, Stephen Farrelly, Brad Garrett, Alessandra Ambrosio and Laura Linney.
As Shredder joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman and henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady to take over the world, the Turtles must confront an even greater nemesis: the notorious Krang.
90s cartoon nostalgia seems to be the recipe for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, following up on a somewhat disastrous reboot that tinkered with the origin story of the heroes in a half-shell, along with presenting them as grotesquely hideous over-sized CGI monstrosities. Yes, I realize the word ‘mutant’ is in their description, but they look like anthropomorphic turtles that are abusing steroids.
It goes without saying the look of the new age Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has gone relatively unchanged, which is all somewhat mitigated by the film’s decision to embrace a number of popular characters from the cartoons, that are usually honestly more successfully imagined and accomplished than the turtles themselves. That is both a positive and negative, considering that on one hand you do have some characters that are fun to be around, but also have a movie where modernized ninja turtles are one of the weakest aspects.
Outside of a fairly entertaining car chase early on that utilizes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ dumpster truck (with a number of weapon attachments unique to the personality of each individual turtle), there isn’t much going on of interest during any of their battle sequences. The final fight against Krang (another creature horrendously rendered, looking like a bruised swollen ballsack rather than a deformed talking octopus) is an onslaught of special effects colliding with one another, all without a single memorable thing occurring.
Thankfully, classic characters like Casey Jones (played with charisma by Stephen Amell), and fan favorite villains like Bebop and Rocksteady all stand out and make the film tolerable. Watching Casey Jones slinging pucks at Foot Clan ninjas with a hockey stick is actually awesome (possibly because it doesn’t require special effects, and wrongly executed CGI bugs me more than anything). It is also worth noting that Bebop and Rocksteady surprisingly benefit from the CGI treatment far better than the actual turtles; they look very ugly and beastly, but it works for them.
The duo also contain dynamite chemistry for their slapstick routine, although it is still a little odd that once Rocksteady transforms into a rhinoceros, he is no longer portrayed by WWE superstar Sheamus. If I am wrong and he actually is, the voiceover performance is weirdly bizarre and drastically different from the great performance he was delivering as a human being. Tyler Perry also continues showcasing that he may not be a completely worthless actor after all, portraying an off-his-rocker scientist lackey to the returning Shredder (who bafflingly doesn’t get one fight scene in the entire movie).
Aside from teenage mutant ninja turtles being one of the least interesting things about a franchise called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the brand of comedy on display here is absolutely cringe inducing, making for a number of scenes that fail to land. Will Arnett’s character is basically something out of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, and Megan Fox delivers another atrocious performance, mostly just being background eye-candy instead of an actual interesting reporter. Why? What else would you expect from something produced by Michael Bay?
Massive flaws aside, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is still a step up from the remake unleashed upon us two years ago, thanks to cramming the movie with a bunch of beloved franchise characters, even if they are all fighting for screen-time in a movie with an incredibly generic plot. Superhero movies are already overdoing saving the world shenanigans, so do we really need the turtles doing it too? All in all, the film is a mixed bag but mostly forgettable.
Kids however will get more mileage out of it, especially with the central theme of brothers working together as a team and embracing their own individual personalities that may be wholly different from their own. Viewers will also beaten in over the head with a theme about accepting yourself for who you are, even if you’re an over-sized turtle. Everything is just presented in a manner that will annoy adults if anything, especially the awful comedy.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★