TMNT (2007)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Not too shabby.

In the world of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I vaguely remember when TMNT was released because of how much I didn’t want to watch it. It looked too different than how I considered what the Turtles were. So I skipped it and what do you know, my life didn’t end. Here we are seven years later, and it’s my first viewing of the movie – right after the original live-action trilogy. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I technically liked this one the best. The classic trilogy is absolutely nostalgic, which I doubt this one will be, but as far as a movie all around goes, and how it affects a modern audience – this one kind of…works pretty well.

The plot is is pretty interesting, dealing with a 3,000 year-old legend of eternal life and a gang of 13 monsters that roam the earth. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are now…adults, and they’ve more or less retired from their life of stopping crime. Leonardo was sent away for training, and he must return when he hears about the ancient legend. Meanwhile, Raphael is trailing the city in an armored suit at night as his own vigilante – and he is being reckless at the same time. It is up to Leonardo to get the Turtles back together and stop all of the madness.

According to IMDb, this is a somewhat sequel to the original trilogy, as it makes obvious nods to specific events that happened in the older movies, which I honestly thought was pretty awesome, as well as a few one-liners recycled from the ‘90s films. I never expected it to be a bit of a sequel in itself, but now that I see it is, it makes me want to shout “cowabunga!”. To be honest, the overall tone of the film is exactly how I view the Turtles now. Darker, edgier…not corny. It makes more sense for a modern audience, and I can finally understand how the Ninja Turtles are still popular, they hit the right note. The shift in tone also accentuated the diversity of the Turtles, and how their chemistry works just right when grouped together as a team – that was cool.

I watched every movie practically back to back, and I can say this is the most original, interesting, non-cliché, and unpredictable plot. It felt fresh (without Shredder) and it was just mysterious enough to keep me guessing. It also felt like it fit right in in the world of the Turtles. Even when they pinned the turtles against each other – there was one scene that I could tell they focused a lot of attention on – and it looked really cool. The internal conflicts Raphael was going through were done very well and they seemed to be problems that an audience could connect with as well – as it deal with sibling rivalry in an interesting light.

Might I also mention that the voice cast was surprisingly impressive? Patrick Stewart, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Chris Evans, Laurence Fishburne, Nolan North? Even Kevin Smith showed up. I don’t know what I was expecting as far as voice-casting went, but I don’t think it occurred to me there would be so many recognizable voices – and they all contribute to the film pretty well. I can easily say that as a whole…TMNT was a nice surprise. Different than what you’re used to, but a welcome difference if you don’t have a stick up your butt.

The Good:

TMNT may not be how I normally picture the Ninja Turtles, but the people making this film were bold enough to change things up, and the changes aren’t that bad. No more corny jokes or bad suits, this movie is something that would definitely appeal to a modern audience…and that’s really important.

The Bad:

Like I said, it’s not how I normally picture the Turtles. The same probably applies to many people. I also think the animation, while well-done, was a little cheap. The style was clearly cartoony – which is normally cheaper…so there’s a lot of moments that just look silly and sped up…but that’s life.

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