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Rediff.com  » Movies » Review: The rehashed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has lost its magic

Review: The rehashed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has lost its magic

August 29, 2014 10:06 IST

Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is not as fun as it used to be, feels Paloma Sharma.

Jonathan Leibesman's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' name is enough to get the 1980-90s kids rushing to the theatres but it can also cause a stampede, when everyone tries to rush out at the same time.

This Michael Bay production revives the world's most famous reptiles, only to make you wish they'd stayed in their shells.

Leonardo (Pete Ploszek, Johnny Knoxville) , Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Donatello (Jeremy Howard) and Raphael (Alan Ritchson) live in the sewer with their father/sensei, the Ninjutsu-master rat Splinter (Danny Woodburn, Tony Shalhoub).

Splinter, who looks like an oversized, under-bathed Master Shifu in this version, wants to protect his sons from the outside world because he fears that they will be hurt both physically and emotionally. But the brothers sneak off to the world above, not heeding their father's advice and all they bring back is trouble.

Liebesman and screenwriters Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Evan Daughtery do a good job of keeping the characters of the turtles close to the originals. The equation the brothers' share hasn't changed. However, the same cannot be said about other characters.

April O'Neil (Megan Fox), although an important character in the earlier comics, seems completely pointless in the film.

Sure, she has her own story arc and a good enough reason to be there but every time Megan Fox is the focus of things, it seems like we're back to Transformers.

April O'Neil, the character, lacks depth and is so under developed that it could have been anyone in place of her and it wouldn't have mattered.

A formerly competent computer programmer and skilled warrior, she has now been reduced to a courageous yet defenceless journalist. No one takes April seriously and she is assigned to cover mundane news like fitness workouts.

Despite this, in her spare time April obsessively tracks the activities of the Foot Clan, a super evil organisation which is (as expected) up to no good.

The super evil Foot Clan is run by an eviler master called The Shredder.

How do we know that The Shredder is evil?

Well, if there's a tall shadow lurking in the corners of a dojo (which is located in a nice, isolated estate on the outskirts of New York), if the shadow possess a deep baritone and expresses its desire to take over/destroy/enslave New York (and one can only wonder why ever evil guy hates New York so much), then that's the villain; because, obviously, even when you're making a film in 2014 with technology like motion capture, there is no other way you could possible let the audience know who the bad guy is.

Shredder also has a completely pointless female sidekick Karai (Minae Noji) who is probably there because Shredder watched Die Hard 4 too many times in his underground hideout/man cave/dojo and Maggie Q declined to be a part of the Foot Clan.

There is no explanation for why Karai is always hanging out at Shredder's dojo and who gave her the address, not even a brief flashback or a clue hidden in the dialogues, which is funny because in the original comics, Karai was at a higher position in the Foot Clan than Shredder.

The turtles are as zealously voiced as the story is lazily written.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles picks up elements from popular superhero films like The Amazing Spiderman, Batman Begins and The Hulk, and maybe all of them were to pay tribute to these films but the only thing these 'tributes' accomplished was making the film even more predictable.

The plot remains consistent, too consistent, because there are absolutely no twists in it!

You could watch this film with closed eyes and plugged ears and still wake up, five minutes before the end, and still know what had happened in the last 96 minutes.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles does have some rather enjoyable action sequences and cheesy, yet funny one-liners though.

There's a point where the scientist who mutated (William Fitchner) tells Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael that he was going to use rabbits instead and one wishes he would have.

Maybe this time the rabbit would have won the race.

Rediff Rating: 

Paloma Sharma/ Rediff.com in Mumbai