I’m not going to review the movie as it’s a piece of garbage that any honest TMNT fan should avoid like the plague. Instead you can see our five reasons to not see the movie if you’re really curious about it. But I will explain some of the big issues TMNT fans have with this latest reboot of the franchise.
The first and biggest problem with the movie is that it isn’t a TMNT movie. This is an April O’Neil movie. Much like Michael Bay’s Transformers films, the focus here is put on the humans and the title characters are CGI creations that are used to sell big flashy action scenes and for the humans to react to. This is illustrated perfectly by how much screen-time is given to April and how the story is completely about her and her dad.
In the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the title characters were the focus of the movie. They showed up within five minutes of it, as the film’s opening credits played out. The 2014 Platinum Dunes-produced movie completely focuses on April O’Neil, and the first twenty minutes of the 100-minute movie are completely devoid of the Turtles as it focuses on April’s quest to become a serious journalist.
It gets even worse than that as the origin has been re-written to completely wrap it around April. The Turtles were her beloved pets in her dad’s lab where they were experimented on with mutagen. April named Splinter and the four Turtles. She’s the one who rescued them and dumped them in the sewers, and the entire story is about April avenging her father’s death. When she realizes who killed her daddy, Megan Fox’s “you killed my father” line and delivery will cause the biggest eye-roll you’ve ever had.
But if the focus on April and the change to the origin doesn’t make you facepalm enough, it gets even worse. Just as Sam Witwicky had to save the Autobots in every Transformer movie, so does April in this movie. The giant mutant ninja turtles are so helpless that they can’t break out of glass cells they are captured in without April’s help, and they can’t even defeat Shredder without the airhead reporter distracting him just at the right moment. Basically, the Turtles aren’t the resolution to every crisis in the movie; April is.
The other big problem is a complete lack of heart. The movie is soulless and it has none of the family connection that the Turtles are known to show to each other and Splinter, especially in the original 1990 movie. These Turtles are soulless caricatures of the four brothers that people are very familiar with. In the 2014 movie they’re as superficial as the color of their bandanas, and there are only fleeting glimpses of the characters we’re familiar with as those were obviously part of the bullet-point descriptions of the characters they wrote the movie off of.
These are just the biggest of the issues that TMNT fans have with the movie, which don’t even take into account some of the other horrible decisions in the movie. Most of the voices are way off for the characters, especially Splinter where Tony Shaloob doesn’t fit the character at all. And Splinter learning martial arts from a book he found in a sewer? That’s the laziest bandaid plot fix you can get, which shows that once they made the movie focus on April they had no idea what to do with the title characters.
If you are a TMNT fan, there are maybe five minutes out of the movie you may enjoy…and yes they all involve the Turtles. The rest of the movie though is an insult to every TMNT fan who grew up with these characters. If the inevitable sequel is yet another April O’Neil movie, your best bet is to stick with the Nickelodeon CG series, which is actually pretty good.