Movie Review: TMNT
By Maura Reilly Mar 23, 2007, 12:20 GMT
CGI Action Adventure. After the defeat of their old arch nemesis, The Shredder, the Turtles have grown apart as a family. Struggling to keep them together, their rat sensei, Master Splinter, becomes worried when strange things begin to brew in New York City. Tech-industrialist Max Winters is amassing an army of ancient monsters to apparently take over the world. And only one super-ninja fighting team can stop them—those heroes in ...more
Order up some pizza, the Turtles are back. Returning to their animated roots Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael reunite after a year apart when an ancient evil threatens to destroy the world.
Wealthy and morally ambiguous industrialist Maximillian Winters (Patrick Stewart) and the shadowy Foot Clan is gathering up 13 monsters to what purpose, only Winters knows.
Team Turtle along with their friends April O’Neil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Casey Jones (Chris Evans) have no time to unravel the mystery of the stone warriors menacing the city as well as the annoying presence of a vigilante called the Nightwatcher who has taken over their turf. That is if the boys can stop fighting amongst themselves. You know how teenagers can be.
‘TMNT’ is uneven in so many respects, in particular story and animation. Let’s start with story: there’s a lot of it. There is this very intricate mythology about the stars aligning just right every 3000 years, opening portals into other worlds and releasing horrible creatures while turning some mighty warriors to stone and others immortal.
Oh yeah and that’s just the first 5 minutes. In order to get this entire story across there is a lot of exposition. Kids get bored even when the one doing all this talking is a turtle. To try and fit this all in a 90 minute feature film as opposed to stretching it out over a mutli-week Saturday morning serial is ambitious.
Here are my issues with the animation: the Turtles themselves are very cool. Nothing against the live action films of the 90’s (Michelangelo was played by my father’s cousin, the very talented Michelan Sisti) but there is so much more you can do with your characters when they are animated.
I do wish that the fight sequences were a little slower. You spent all that time, effort, and money putting these things together; I would love to actually see the Turtles be ninjas. I suppose when you have so much story to tell there’s no time for artisan fighting.
While Leo and the boys look great, their human counterparts look like they stumbled into the theater from a video game. I’m no animation expert so I’m not entirely sure the reasoning behind this style. There was so much attention paid to the environments and stars of the movie it doesn’t make sense to have the humans look so cartoon-ish. Max Winters in particular looks like Mr. Incredible’s darker, poorly animated brother.
There are some laughs in the film mostly courtesy of Mikey. Now whose favorite Turtle isn’t Mikey? And if you can get through the talking and fidgety kids on the whole the movie ends well with a promise of a sequel (The Return of Shredder perhaps?).
A bittersweet note: this was legendary actor Mako’s (Splinter, the rat sensei) final film.
Running Time: 90 minutes
Opens wide USA & UK March 23, 2007. MPAA Rated: Rated animated action violence, some scary cartoon images and mild language.