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Midvale Journal

Dan's Review: "TMNT: Out of the Shadows" lacks any turtle power

Jun 02, 2016 05:12PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows - © 2015 Paramount Pictures.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (Paramount)

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence.

Starring Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Brian Tee, Tyler Perry, Brittany Ishibashi, Laura Linney, (voices of) Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Tony Shalhoub, Gary Anthony Williams, Stephen Farrelly, Brad Garrett, Danny Woodburn (motion-capture performance).

Written by Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec, based on the comics by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.

Directed by Dave Green.



What Michael Bay hath wrought. The king of really bad action movies based on low-quality 1980s cartoons did not direct Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, but his fingerprints are all over it. A sequel to 2014’s TMNT, the latest version does little to impress or give relevance to the franchise, despite the probability that it will make even more money at the box office.

The story is fairly simple. April O’Neil (Megan Fox) is a TV reporter on the trail of a scientist named Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) who she suspects is working for Shredder (Brian Tee), who was captured and imprisoned following the events of the preceding film (I won’t bore anyone with the inane details). When Stockman orchestrates a breakout for Shredder during a prisoner transport, two moronic thugs riding in the paddy wagon named Rocksteady and Bebop (Sheamus and Gary Anthony Williams) along for the ride also get loose. The turtles Leonardo (voiced by Pete Ploszek), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Raphael (Alan Richtson) and Donatello (Jeremy Howard) are there during the breakout, but fail to thwart it despite the help of a feisty hockey-loving corrections officer named Casey Jones (Stephen Amell). Shredder recruits Rocksteady and Bebop to his Foot Clan gang and Stockman uses a purple ooze to transform the idiotic criminals into an anamorphic rhinoceros and warthog. The henchmen are sent on a quest to recover two alien artifacts that will assist Shredder to bring an otherworldly talking brain villain named Krang (Brad Garrett) to earth and wreak havoc. The big showdown with Krang, Shredder and the turtles takes place in Manhattan, with predictable results. I forgot to mention that Will Arnett reprises his role as April's cameraman Vern Fenwick, but his part in the story is completely insignificant. 

 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is really, really, hard to watch, unless you really, really like those cartoons from the 1980s (and early 90s). The story, humor and experience of the movie are on par with a wasted Saturday morning, having your intelligence drained, one repetitive episode of TMNT after another.

As I mentioned before, Michael Bay (who produced both of the latest films) did not direct Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Even so, it’s just as ridiculous as any of his Transformers films, complete with expository plot-hole-filling dialogue, complete disregard for actual science or geography and mind-numbing action/explosions.

If there is any saving grace to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, it’s the casting of actual voice actors (minus Johnny Knoxville, thank goodness) in the main turtle roles instead of going for the gratuitous trend of tagging major celebrities. Another slightly impressive feat for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows are the top-notch computer effects that went onto making the turtles’ facial emotions and expressions seem almost real.

If only these aspects were not wasted on such a terrible movie.

I’m sure there are people in their 30s out there who have a fond spot in their heart for the TMNT franchise, and they will more than likely enjoy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, plopping down money for their kids to share in their childhood experiences. These parents will then run out and buy action figures for their little ones (“Yeah, it’s for the kids, honey”), which is probably what the Paramount, Nickelodeon and Playmates Toys had in mind.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows isn’t art or entertainment; it’s a 112-minute product placement. No one will hold a gun to your head to force you buy tickets or merchandise, but if you enjoy that sort of thing, more turtle power to you.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows trailer