Monday, August 10, 2015
2014's TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES is 'TURTLE-BLE!'
I am going to get real stupid when describing the plot so bear with me on this one. I want to show how stupid the story is by being stupid myself. So a rich guy and a ninja watched THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and THE TRANSFORMERS and decided to be bad guys and put a thing on top of a building that makes a poison cloud to poison the city for the sole purpose of being rulers of the world and really really rich. They are already rich but whatever. Don't pay attention to that part of the story. Teenage mutant ninja turtles show up and stop them. There are some hijinks that happen along the way, some weirdo shows up in what looks like an inflatable Whoopi Goldberg costume but very little in the way of real character development or bonding occurs. We the audience are never drawn into the story. Maybe we are amused by the colorful special effects and flashy camera work or distracted by the haphazardly strewn random shots of movement that make up most of the poorly staged fight sequences. In any case it looks like a wreck..
The good news is that the turtle characters are each unique individuals. Each one stands apart from the other in personality and design. Other than their disturbingly too human faces they look great. There were a couple of times Michelangelo actually said something that made me laugh. He is the funny one. That is what he does. Leo is still the leader. Don wears googly goggles to indicate that he is into high tech gadgets and stuff. Raph is still the wannabe loner that loves his brothers too much to be apart from them. They are likable enough to give me hope for a better sequel. The turtles are fine except for one glaring problem.....
They are not ninjas!!!
Remember when us Turtle geeks were in an outrage because supposedly the studio was making the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aliens instead of mutants? I remember. Studios love jacking up important details of characters from comics and cartoons when making a movie version of them. It happens to them all but this was too huge of a change. Apparently that whole story was a lie or the studio changed it back to not upset the target audience. Now that the movie is out and I have seen it and had time to ponder it I have realized that the 'Ninja' part of the Turtles is not true at all. Master Splinter isn't a master of anything. He found a book of martial arts in the sewer that was probably written by Napoleon Dynamite and suddenly they are well trained ninjas. What would a rat know about ninja stuff? The only thing I know about ninjas is that they wear black pajamas and have their butts handed to them by Michael Dudikoff. Its a good thing Splinter didn't find a cook book. What would motivate them to train so hard and become martial artists anyway? Its not like they had any connection to Shedder or expected him to show up sometime in the future. He was just in the same building they were kept in before they became mutated. The foundation to build a strong character confrontation is absent. They have no past together. When Shedder and Splinter meet for the first time down in the sewer they act like they know each other but we know they don't. The whole scene has no effect except to highlight the badly written first draft story.
Shredder poses no threat to the Turtles whatsoever. The movie hyper sizes everything. The Turtles are pretty much four Hulks running around with super strength. There is no reason for them to have martial arts training. Their mutation has made them super strong and super fast. Shedder who is trained in martial arts and ninja stuff could do nothing to them. Thankfully he is really really into the TRANSFORMERS movies and made himself a fully functioning Megatron suit. If he hadn't happened to make that suit he would be no adversary. Why would a ninja who relies on his own physical abilities create a robot suit? No reason. I guess originally Shedder was the white dude. That would explain the suit sort of.
There are all kinds of weird moments that don't make much sense when you think about it. Splinter gets mortally wounded and the Turtles decide to get the ooze that transformed them because that will heal him. Since when did the ooze have healing powers? I could be wrong but the ooze was never considered something that could heal. It just mutated you into whatever thingy that could be made into an action figure and sold in stores. In TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES 2: SECRET OF THE OOZE was the secret that the ooze had aloe vera in it? Did I miss that part? I think it would be funny if the Turtles got the ooze to Splinter and tried pouring it down his throat and he said "Why are you feeding me toxic waste?" That is what the ooze is anyway. Another time Raphael is the only one not captured by Shedder. Raph goes to save them but when he finds them Shedder shows up as Megatron and beats the poop out of our turtle hero. Instead of killing or capturing Raph, Shedder just abruptly walks out of the room like some kind of badass. Maybe Shedder was just caught up in the moment to realize that he just left Raph alone to free his brothers and eventually ruin Shedders plans.
People need to stop blaming Megan Fox for the film not being very good. She does a fine job with what she is given. Her character is given plenty to do even if we the audience don't care. She is just a victim to the bad script. Hopefully in the next installment things will come together with a more pleasing outcome. Hey, at least they have casted Steven Amell as Casey Jones in the next installment. That's a good start.