Release Date: June 3, 2016
Director: Dave Green
Writer: Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Peter Laird (characters), Kevin Eastman (characters)
Cast: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Laura Linney, Stephen Amell, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Tyler Perry, Brian Tee, Stephen Farrelly, Gary Anthony Williams, Peter Donald Badalamenti II, Tony Shalhoub, Brad Garrett, Opal Alladin, Brittany Ishibashi, Connor Fox, Alessandra Ambrosio, Stan Demidoff, Jill Martin, Greg Hildreth, Dean Winters, Antoinette Kalaj, Alice Callahan
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 112 minutes
Production Company: Gama Entertainment Partners, Nickelodeon Movies, Paramount Pictures, Platinum Dunes
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Growing up my world revolved around a few things, with one being Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I absolutely loved waking up to this cartoon in the late 80’s and early 90’s. They were fun, goofy characters that went on martial arts adventures and also loved pizza. So shortly after, when the live action films hit the big screen, it was a dream come true. Unfortunately, the technology wasn’t advanced enough to fully flesh out all the greatness this franchise had to offer. Then 2014 rolls around, and there’s a new rebooted series with one of the worst directors that could be involved, Michael Bay (Transformers). He didn’t direct the first film (Jonathan Liebesman did), but he produced it. I love Michael Bay as a director when he has a leash, but he didn’t in this case. He destroyed my childhood with his involvement, but I eventually accepted what his production company Platinum Dunes was trying to accomplish. Now with new director Dave Green (Earth to Echo) at the helm everything started out so lovely with the story, then halfway in took a turn towards a dark portal of ridiculousness losing its way in every way possible.
While I didn’t care for the first film nearly at all, one element the film knocked out of the park was the personality of the turtles. It was spot on perfect in my opinion. I’m glad to say that consistency remains the same in the sequel for the four brothers in a half shell living in the shadows. As soon as the film starts you’re back in their world as they’re jumping around mysteriously showing the audience what it’s like to live in their shoes. Another hurdle the film leaped over with little hesitation is the check list of characters they introduced in this sequel. There was an interesting, geeky take on the character Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry). He was a lot of fun even though his physique was a little too muscular for my taste. April O’ Neal (Megan Fox) is back, but she’s just a pretty face with no substance. She’s not the April O’ Neal I loved as a child. Master Splinter, whose name doesn’t interest me to look up in the slightest, didn’t have my seal of approval in the first film or this one. While I love his students, the turtles, there’s something about Master Splinter that just seems off when he’s in the center of the screen. His look and voice is a turnoff to say the least.
Everyone is most likely excited to see Bebop and Rocksteady. And while their transformations into the iconic Warthog and Rhinoceros was pretty epic, they didn’t have anything else to offer the audience except for their seemingly contagious stupidity. Even if that’s the point of their characters (which I actually think it is), they literally did nothing more but cater to fan service. Which is confusing, seeing as most fans of this franchise are young adults. So you would think that the creative team would’ve matured them slightly, but I guess not. Shredder is back again, but doesn’t throw one punch or kick. So it’s another wasted character. The last character to mention is that of Krang. He was a hard character to gravitate to, because other than world domination you know nothing about him. The film doesn’t disclose who he is, where he came from, or why he’s so obsessed with earth in the first place. Sure he has a lot of familiar names and call backs to the cartoon, hence the “Technodrome,” but his overly dramatic cgi artwork held no weight.
Putting all the characters in the back seat, the story showed promise early on. The film dove deep into what’s really important for the turtles as they grow up into adulthood. While they have no obligations to do so, they feel responsible for the city they live in and want to protect it in every way possible. The only problem is that they’re giant mutant turtles, which scares the mass population. They just want to fit in and do the right thing, and that’s completely relatable to anyone surrounded by people of a different color or size than themselves, or anything that would make them stand out in the masses. If only the film would’ve focused on them more than it did, this may have turned into a respectable film. Though, as I mentioned before, at one part everything goes down the toilet. You may have seen a chase sequence involving a plane in the trailers. This entire sequence was the turning point for me, clocking me completely out of the film. I don’t know why you would fire a 50 caliber machine gun on a tank inside a plane while in midflight, destroying the plane. If this was the only sin, it could have easily been forgiven, but afterwards shot after shot is filled with plot holes and loose logic that can’t be explained. The ending battle isn’t even a battle. It’s fake looking cgi characters, fighting a fake looking cgi bad guy (Krang), in the middle of a fake looking cgi set, and it all looks a mess! The characters aren’t even fighting, just rolling around on top of each other screaming battle cries.
During the first five seconds of the film, I knew this film wasn’t for me, but I could easily accept it for what it was and still have a good time. I went in thinking for the most part kids would love it, and maybe adults could appreciate it. I can’t say that now. Michael Bay’s involvement in this film was so apparent it was embarrassing. It had some of the same exact cue’s with the score just like a Transformers movie, and even some of the shots resembled that franchise. There’s still a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle adaptation that’s waiting to be made for all fans, kids, and adults alike, and I know this from the appreciation and love the 90’s live action films still have. Hopefully the bad taste this film left in my mouth will soon be washed away and eventually replaced with the true passion and heart the four turtles in a half shell truly deserve.