If you’ve been on the internet this week, doubtless you’re aware that the towers of ivory are crumbling, the halls of civilisation are aflame and planes are dropping out of the sky. You’re aware of this because this is precisely how the internet reacts EVERY GODDAMN TIME THEY REBOOT AN 80S NOSTALGIA PROPERTY.
Last time it was the My Little Pony movie with no goddamn ponies in it. Before that it was the Transformers movie with (practically) no goddamn Transformers in it. This year it’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which hit America this week and currently rocking an eye-watering 20% on the Tomatometer.
The worst slating of the film I’ve seen has come from The Escapist’s own MovieBob. For the purposes of educating those of you who are wavering about what to do when the movie hits these shores, I’ve written the following breakdown of his points as sort of a should-I-shouldn’t-I FAQ.
Assertion: This Turtles movie isn’t just the worst film of the year, it’s the worst Turtles anything ever, including the one with the girl turtle who had tits.
Is it true? Jesus, it’s not that bad. It’s a brainless summer popcorn flick. Some of the new ideas work, some of them don’t. It’s shaky but likable.
Assertion: Michael Bay has done with Turtles exactly what he did with Transformers. He’s sidelined the title characters into being secondary to the unlikable human characters.
Is it true? The turtles are on screen for most of the movie. There’s four significant human characters – April, April’s sidekick, Shredder and Shredder’s sidekick. You can’t really fault it on that score, except for a lack of Casey,
Assertion: The CGI is stiff and stilted, and the facial movements just don’t gel with it.
Is it true? I didn’t think so. I think I might even prefer this look for the turtles to the cel-shaded reboot doing the rounds on Nickelodeon,
Assertion: The writers have turned Michaelangelo into a lech, and every scene between him and April is excruciatingly uncomfortable. These aren’t the Turtles, they’re a bunch of unlikable “Bro”s.
Is it true? It’s true about Michelangelo, sadly. It’s not all there is to his character, though. There are some nice elements to it as well – for example, it makes absolute sense that Mikey loves Keyboard Cat. Another example is the flashback to the Turtles’ childhood which depicts Donnie as a speccy twat. Again, makes total sense.
Assertion: The film can’t keep it’s story straight from scene to scene. It’s like they made it in a weekend and didn’t check any of their work.
Is it true? The writing IS pretty bad. This is TMNT, though. It’s not fucking shakespeare.
Assertion: The Shredder is a guy in a robot suit that fights for him.
Is it true? Yeah. It’s pretty lame. I wonder if they merged Shredder and Krang into one character?
Assertion: The Foot Clan aren’t ninjas.
Is it true? Yep. Also lame. Welcome to post-9/11 Turtleville.
Assertion: There’s no reason in the story for Splinter to have trained the turtles in ninjitsu. He just found a manual in the sewer and figured it would make a good parenting manual.
Is it true? I’ll break it down for you. In this universe, the Turtles are April’s childhood pets. Her dad was a scientist working on a mutagen who was killed when he found out he was working for Shredder. Yes it makes no sense, but it makes about as much sense as any of the other reasons we’ve heard explaining why there’s a bunch of talking turtles living in the New York sewers.
Assertion: Megan Fox utterly fails to sell the character.
Is it true? She’s OK, I guess. She’s a bit of a sleepwalker of an actress. Nobody was up in arms when Natalie Portman did the same thing in Star Wars.
The TMNT reboot isn’t fantastic, but it’s more Turtles and at ninety minutes it never has a chance to outstay its welcome like the Transformers movies did. In conclusion, I didn’t hate it and I wouldn’t hate to see some sequels.
Maybe we’ll get a chance to see Casey do his thing next time around.