Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Will Arnett shines in this rom com about journalistic integrity.

August 18 2014

By Matthew Whitesides


Let me get this off my chest first, this film opens with a motion comic. I disproportionately hate motion comics for some reason. Alright let's continue.

This is a movie about story and character not silly action scenes. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Teenmutnintur for short is a story about young journalist April O'Neal and her quest to find out about the vigilante known as the batman. April (played by Megan Fox of Bad Boys II fame) is misunderstood in the reporter world. Covering celebrities and fad diets was not exactly what she signed up for when becoming a journalist. But when a dangerous gang and an unknown masked hero start duking it out in the streets, she sees her shot at the big time. People initially don't take April seriously, maybe because she comes off crazy and eccentric, or because she is a young woman but she determined to prove them wrong.

You might think that journalists would have better cameras.

Early on we meet the hero of our story Vernon Fenwick (as performed by Will Arnett of Jonah Hex fame) a dashing intelligent seasoned reporter of the same news company. Despite how dumb she sounds Vernon decides to help April out of the kindness of his heart and together they discover who the true identity of the vigilante or vigilantes is/are. They of course get caught up in the fight between the vigilantes and the gang, here the story starts to heat up between Vernon and April (who's not good enough for him).

"a mastercraft by Will Fichtner of The Dark Knight fame"

Cut to the only one who could keep Vernon and April from being together, Eric Sacks (a mastercraft by Will Fichtner of The Dark Knight fame) has a business plan working with the rival gang to save the city from a deadly virus. Sacks a brilliant scientist who used to be April's dad's boss (man this story is getting complex!) developed a cure for this virus and plans on making a bunch of money and save the world. Of course as journalist's do April can't stand people being rich and humanitarian, so she teams up with the vigilantes and Vernon to stop Sacks. This leads to the climax of the movie and an epic final fight between Will Arnett and Will Fichtner while the others do little of importance. 

"See I get a nice camera because I'm a real reporter"

Being a nickelodeon (it's not capitalized in the logo...) movie, I had relatively low expectations of the production quality but it's actually pretty well done. Not sure if Michael Bay producing the film actually had any great impact but the CGI looks pretty solid all around. You can argue that Transformers CGI is cartoony and this looks pretty similar in quality but with perhaps less of the scale a Transformers film might have. In fact I might say that no scene look rushed in production like some Transformers scenes have. That being said there is one character that looks poor throughout, the vigilantis leader Master Splinter looks pretty weird, maybe it was just me but even compared to the other CGI characters he seems poorly animated in his facial expressions and bad hair tech by movie standards.

What ends up keeping this movie down is all the unnecessary action that interrupts the character development of Will Fichtner and Will Arnett's characters. Also Megan Fox does a solid job of being a reporter everyone thinks is dumb, but her lack of interest in Will Arnett until far into the movie took me out of believing what was happening on screen. All in all you can see it for the two solid performances but that's about it.