The pReview Re-viewing of..
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)!
CLICK BELOW TO VIEW THE TRAILER
(it is highly recommended to view the trailer and THEN read)
(warning: Beware the Teenaged Mutant Fisting Turtles. They don't play well with others.)
by Jeff Finck
Release Date: August 8, 2014
Yay! Another movie release, this year, that requires DECADES of back story if one is unfamiliar with the series! Sweet deal! Okay, as always, I feel like I shouldn't monopolize a lot of our time together by painfully breaking down everything this movie series has accomplished over the last twenty four years.. Or that the animated series has given the hearts and minds of us children over the last twenty seven years.. Or that the comics have established over the last THIRTY years! The easy out is that this film is rebooting everything, which means I get to come in fresh. I get to give a completely new perspective on something that seems so familiar, but is still so damn alien. (Did you see what I did there? Because we almost ended up with aliens?) In regards to that parenthetical statement, it seems difficult to mess up a formula like this, Michael Bay and whoever wrote this. You really only need to get five things right: Name them after famous Renaissance artists. Make them teenagers. Mutate the fuck out of them. Make them ninjas. And-- Eff's sake-- make them turtles.
Okay, let's pretend that we know nothing about the Ninja Turts (I've known these guys since I was 5, I'm allowed to call them that) and crack this trailer open! Darkness descends on the New York City, as we're shown that some sinister force has a massive surveillance network in place, spying on all who dwell in the massive metropolis and.. Wait.. I'm pretty sure it's the Ninja Turtles' surveillance. Hmm.. Well.. Pfft.. It's a.. Good thing, too, ya know? Because a bunch of goofy white guys in too-tight hoodies are wreaking havoc on the subway and Megan Fox is in imminent danger of.. I don't know.. Whatever goofy white guys in hoodies do. Unabomb things?
Well, the Turtles show up and exert their mutated dominance all over the place by, somehow, finding a way to screw with the subway's lighting so it's slightly more difficult to tell that seven-foot tall turtle ninjas are beating the fuck out of everyone. What they don't do is have any regard for bystander safety, as they trap everyone inside a darkened panic in one of the most aggressive city's enclosed areas in the United States, throw bad guys into moving subway cars, and crash big rigs into machine gun toting a-holes that seem to already be engaged with the police. Then, they loudly celebrate on a VERY nearby rooftop over how good their stealthiness is and threaten this attractive young lady for being curious about seven-foot tall turtle ninjas.
And she should be curious. Not only are these things some kind of twisted, cruel joke, defying the laws of nature and understanding, but they, mystifyingly, don't even seem to be real! Like, not that they look bad, but these things look like roiling CG-monsters, designed to terrify children and confuse the elderly-- Like driving and soft candy.
In case you were wondering who the money behind this is, Michael Bay's name is introduced with the extremely under-used (sarcasm) Inception <Bwah>. And then a talking rat called Splinter (Tony Shalhoub) gives his "sons" a super-peppy pep talk while we get smash introductions to what these hulking turtle-tanks look like. We got Leonardo (voiced by Johnny Knoxville), who is basically a turtle version of Rufio from Hook except that he has katanas and stole someone's NYC pin.
Donatello is the purple sash-wearing nerd. He's actually my favorite teenaged turtle who is, not only a nerd, but BOTH a mutant AND ninja! But, let's get back to not knowing anything about this except what is shown in the trailer. And what they show in the trailer is that Donatello is a fucking nerd.
Michelangelo, the orange/yellow clad turtle, who CLEARLY regularly attends Dave Matthews Band concerts and needs some Jack Johnson unwind at the end.
And lastly, Raphael. Raph seems like the no-nonsense, Tommy Lee Jones turtle. Like, if you told him that his series was based on the movie 3 Ninjas, he would rip your dick off and shove it into and out of all the holes he made with his sais, all the while reminding you, violently, that 3 Ninjas came out eight fucking years after TMNT's origin.
Back to the action.. Splinter finishes his terrible anti-pep talk up by claiming that, even though these fifteen thousand-foot tall, amphibious, samurai mutant behemoths have been defending the city (allegedly) for some ambiguous time, now, they just aren't ready to handle the city's greatest threat: A middle-aged white man in a suit. I know what you're thinking, though. You're probably thinking, "But, the pReview Re-viewing, New York has a whole bunch of those! How will we know which ones are the city's greatest enemy?!" My answer is very simple: It's all of them.
Apparently, this middle-aged white guy (William Fichtner) has taken some extremely tall Asian man's samurai armor and turned it into a giant, rodent exterminating, mutant-turtle catching, cyborg Edward Scissorhands with rocket knives. I am hoping that this weird-ass RoboShredder is actually just Rocksteady and Bebop standing on each other's shoulders in an elaborate disguise. :fingers crossed:
Well, whatever it was, it and the now-masked villainous Foot Clan made Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo look like a bunch of kid-aged, opposite of mutant, not-ninja.. Hatchlings? Baby turtles are called Hatchlings, right? They get carted off in the rain, probably because rain suppresses the turtle's natural ability to fly. (I may not know how turtles work, thanks to Gamera.) But, as convenience would have it, Raphael shows up just in time to find Splinter buried under rubble and his brothers M.I.A. (the state of being, not the British-Sri Lankan musician). So, he loses his family and, after he vows to get them back, he.. Uhmm.. I guess.. Gets them.. Back.
Most of the rest of the trailer plays out much the way one would expect: Skrillex provides some slamming dub-step played from, what I assume is, the speaker behind Shredder's robotic dick plate. But we get to see a turtle actually survive being ran over by a vehicle, thanks to the totally legit, shell protecting, bouncy-offy physics mutants have. Also, Mikey shows off his rocket skateboarding moves with a sweet 360-Backside Method Air into a Superman Vehicle Grab (which is totally a thing.. Now.). Then, some jackhole with a rocket launcher does stuff while Raph lulls Shredder into a false security by being completely over-powered by him. And just before the title shot, Will Arnett gives away the entire plot of the movie.
Despite the self-referential backtracking about their, now scrubbed, extra-terrestrial origins.. Despite the fact that it looks like their namesakes came back to life and sprayed these mutants into existence out of paint and boredom, rather than them appearing to actually belong to the world they're stomping around in.. And despite the fact that I'm convinced that Michael Bay is attempting to destroy everyone who was born before 1989's childhood (the Transformers trilogy, plus he co-owns the reboot factory known as Platinum Dunes). Despite all of this, I.. Dammit.. I still want to see this. Not for nostalgic reasons, mind you-- I mean, my inner child has already been sated with a GOOD live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I want to see this, eventually, because it surprisingly doesn't look entirely awful. Unnecessary, maybe.. But actually entertaining. Just as long as this has a catchy song to go along with it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) poster, trailer and screen shots courtesy of Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures
Unabomber courtesy of deep-rooted psychosis.
Curiosity Mars Rover courtesy of NASA
Rufio from Hook (1991) courtesy of TriStar Pictures
Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds (1984) courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Dave Matthews Band courtesy of being too high to like good music.
sidewalk thing courtesy of Improv Everywhere ( http://improveverywhere.com/2010/06/08/the-tourist-lane/ )
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1991) screen shot courtesy of Group W Productions and CBS
Origami Ninja Turtles vs Paper Shredder courtesy of TShirt Laundry
All credited images found on Google Images