"TMNT" is probably one of the worst if not the worst film of 2014 for me. Not only I am a huge fan of the original material and the beloved cartoon series but expectations were kinda high for me as this new take on the turtles had a big budget, a solid cast and top notch theoritically special effects. What could go wrong though? Well pretty much everything.
|One of the few scenes that is kinda funny. Sadly one of the few|
The material: First of all, if you are making a turtles movie you have to show love for the material that you are adapting. Clearly, here that was not the case. Why then changing the entire storyline of Splinter? Or of Shredder? Or of April O'Neil? There is not point unless...
Dark and gritty: you want to go the Nolan - godamn you - route. Meaning even if we are talking about mutated ninja turtles that are learning martial arts from a Japanese master who transformed into a rat and forced himself to leave in the sewers while battling the foot clan, we have to find elements to make it realistic. Well piss off guys. Changing Splinter and the turtles into O'Neil's pets makes no sense. Because the rat! incorporated all the moves that he was seeing from a Japanese master into his brain and then when he mutated, he assimilated himself to the ninjitsu and the philosophy of Japan? How is that making any remote sense? In the original storyline, the guy was JAPANESE!!!! who was mutated into a rat and due to his amazing physical appearance, had to seek refuge in the sewers. Since he already knew lots of things related to martial arts, he passed that knowledge to his apprentices, the mutated turtles. Sounds predestrian? Sure. Could have in an alternative reality? Yeah. So why the fuck you change the entire thing? Then you give the turtles super powers - bullet proof, massive strength that moves containers!? and jump really high abilities! .....
Action: Surely with all these liberties at least the film could make up for shiny special effects and potentially fun action sequences, right? Nope. Since the budget was spent to make the motion capture turtles, there is no room for huge action set pieces and on that department, the film fails epicly. Remember the independent movie of the 90's? It has REAL actors and real stunts! Here we get the generic frenetic cam-fu - we do not understand who is shooting who, who is kicking who and when we do, it is vastly underwhemling. Put the film next to "Raid 2" and you see what I mean.
|Action is frenetic and uninspiring|
Effects: For a massive blockbuster, Jonathan Liesbeman did a far better job on "Wrath of the titans" than here. Effects range from meh to ok with nothing new or exciting to show off and when the duels occur it is a digital figure vs another one, so no real stakes or danger.
Villains: Shredder is just a massive disappointment. Beng kept into shadows for the 2/3s of the film, one of the best bad guys ever is written into an one dimensional role that lacks grace or logic. Why he is bad? Who cares? Why he hates Splinter so much? He dislikes rats as pets (story makes no sense AT ALL)? Any motivation? Who needs that. Dramatic substance? Pfff these are elements for losers. Towards the unavoidable climax, Shredder appears as a CGI monstrocity in an Iron Man like suit!? I want to see him kicking ass in his normal armour with a stunt guy. Is that too difficult to ask? Enter William Fitchner who tries to do his best but whereas we have found him to be pleasantly awesome ("Drive Angry" comes to mind), here he is just too cliche. A businessman who is evil, wants to take over the city and frankly is not menacing to say at least or intriguing. He is flat out boring.
Turtles: Although they are trying to incporate pieces of their original personality, the turtles fail to make any impact. Besides one or two scenes where there is a good chemistry and child like humour - pizza test and elevator singing - they do not have enough character on the screen. They go from point A to point B referencing pop culture and pizza. Is that enough?
|MF tries her best she has basically a flat character|
Megan Fox: For the backlash that Fox is taking, it is not her fault. I actually think she is a decent actress but she needs to pick more juicy roles. Here the screenwriters trying desperately to inject some gravitas into her motivations - dead and inspiring father, aspiring reporter, made fun of - but we actually never buying into that. Know why? Because we do not really care.
So is "TMNT" one the worst films of the year now? Absolutely. Why? It does not have something truly bad, but it is painfully average and the lack of excitement and love for the material shows. The alteration of the entire storyline makes the film more convoluted and the turtles themselves do not truly shine. As for Shredder, the less said about him the better. Still the 90's film holds really well. I will take any day than this.
+ some good character moments...
+ Megan Fox looks nice and she is ok
+ ... and that's it
- but way too few
- terrible villains
- what they have done to Shredder?
- William Fichtner, disgraced role
- unconvincing effects
- "dark" and "realistic"
- storyline makes no sense even for a film based on cartoons
- passive direction
- action is not even great