After numerous animated series’, and a very successful film series from the 90’s the Turtles are back on the big screen. I have been looking forward to this film for a while. Unlike most people, I am a Michael Bay fan. However I also realized, unlike most people, this was a Bay film in production only, he was not the director. TMNT is directed by Jonathan Lieberman, and stars the likes of Megan Fox, Johnny Knoxville, Tony Shalhoub, Will Arnett, and William Fichtner allegedly as Shredder. This movie had a lot to overcome. The stink of Bay’s most recent Transformers installment, the rumors of the changes to the back story, and the fact that Fichtner was playing Shredder.
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Seriously, a white guy as Shredder, the ancient Japanese Samurai? What the hell. However. I wanted to give it a shot and hope for the best. So lets dissect it a little bit.
First off, minor spoiler, so skip the next few sentences if you haven’t read the actually casting list. Fichtner, is not the Shredder. So rest assured. Shredder, is played by Tohosu Masamune and he is decent enough. The problem isn’t the actors, the problem lies in the script. There are some pretty big problems with the script, from the dialog being set up choppy, to just flat-out dumb direction. There’s a scene where Megan Fox’s April O’Neil is sneaking around hiding behind pillars glaring out like a 1st grader playing hide and seek.
It’s just cheesy.
Shredder is given no substance, Fichtner was given no substance. They are basically mustache twirling bad guys, who are nada because, movies need bad guys. Arnett who I am a fan off, and I am going to steal this from Kristian Harloff over at SchmoesKnow.com, did nothing more than a bad Michael Keaton impersonation the entire film. The role wasn’t horrible, and he made for some fun times to watch. But again, a real lack of substance
Another problem I had been a few of the voices. Splinter was voiced by Tony Shalhoub and there are times that you are definitely aware that you are listening to Monk be an Asian Master Rat. It is a little off. As well I was deafeningly aware that the Jackass himself Johnny Knoxville playing leader of the gang. And it can honestly take you out of the film sometimes. I am not one of those people who only see the big star when the star shows up, but these voices just didn’t fit for me.
The final scene, is kind of a TASM2 rip off. Plus, how many movies are going to be made to make New York look dumb as hell. When a building is falling, bystanders shouldn’t be standing around watching. GET OUT! But then from the tower falling to the New Yorkers, its blatantly a Spider-Man Rip off.
But it is not all bad. there are great things to it, starting with Megan Fox. I know, everyone always wants to hate on Fox, but other then some stupid direction, and dumb plot points, she isn’t horrible in it. She’s actually fun to watch. And in the one major Bayism in the film, where it focuses on the humans not the Turtles, Fox’s April O’Neil is a good character to focus on. She’s fun, she’s functional, and she’s not the damsel in distress. As well Mike, Donnie, and Ralph are great. You don’t get enough interaction between them, but when you do, man ‘o man is it fun. They did a good job in mixing the feel and fun of Turtles that we know, with the original dark intent that the writers had for the Turtles.
A plus, that I almost gave the film a bonus for was the character of Splinter. While the voice was off for me, there is a part of me, and probably all of us, I have wanted to see Splinter go off and kick some serious foot. And we get that, this Splinter is a focused and talented ninja, and it is awesome. When I came around to scoring it, while I had fun, I couldn’t quite in all good faith get it to a Good Time, so I’m going 3.7, Check out the Matinee.
The Jeebus System explained:
I base films on what I call the Jeebus System, which is a 6 point grade with a possible .5 bonus. With a full 1 point given for entertainment value, story, SFX or cinematography, acting, and casting each, then a half point for direction and dialog each. Titles are given to each score, with “death penalty to all involved” to anything <.9. “You’ll see this on FXx a lot” for <1.9. “Redbox or Netflix it” for <2.9. “Check out the Matinee” for <3.9. “A good time at the theater” for <4.9. “Multiple viewings required” for <5.9. And finally, Jeebus-tacular for 6 or above.