When Michael Bay was announced as taking the production reigns of the reboot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie there was understandably a huge outpouring of hurt, anger, disbelief and rage among the millions of TMNT fans. I remember watching & reading blog posts, Facebook posts and vlogs about the decision to hand over the production to Bay’s production company Platinum Dunes. The 2014 movie is directed by Jonathan Liebesman, and stars Megan Fox, Johnny Knoxville, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, Danny Woodburn, Tony Shalhoub, William Fichtner, and Will Arnett.
What I am surprised about though is that there reported origin story going to be that TMNT were infact aliens was scrapped and instead a very similar story of them being affected by a mutagen was used instead. Ok, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start; it turns out that back in 1999 April O’Neal’s father, a scientist, was developing some type of mutagen while working for his boss Erick Sacks – a famous scientist and businessman. April was there as a child and took care of the 4 baby turtles and a rat that were injected with the mutagen; however O’Neal found out that Sack’s real intent was to unleash a deadly virus in NYC and once the place was quarantined, offer the mutagen as a remedy. The Japanese underworld lord Shredder leader of the Foot Clan, and adopted father of Sacks, is behind the plan as well. O’Neal set the lab on fire but was killed by Sacks but unknown to them April had wandered into the lab and seeing the lab in flames, set the rat and the turtles free into the sewers to save them. The mutagen had a positive effect on the animals; it made Splinter and the turtles grow into larger bipedal beings and made them intelligent by leaps and bounds. Splinter raised the boys as his sons and learned martial arts from a Ninjitsu book he found in the sewers.
So 15 years later we have the now 6ft tall teenaged turtles sneaking out of the home in the sewers to fight the oot clan who are raiding the city. April, a tv reporter who is assigned to lighter material goes out on her own to investigate the raids by the Clan when she spots a vigilant. Later at a subway she gets captured by the foot clan members who are holding hostages when the turtles beat them up and free the hostages in the dark. April follows them to a rooftop and takes a few photos on her camera but she is caught and her images are erased. She later realizes that there are the same turtles she helped to raise and named – Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo & Michaelangelo – and tries to do research on them. She is fired by her boss when she brings up the story of mutant turtles but convinces her colleague Vern Fenwick to take her to meet Sacks. She tells him about the turtles; he believes her and gives her a card (with a tracking device in it) to contact him if she finds out more. Meanwhile Splinter is angry that the turtles were fighting the Clan and orders them to bring April to him. He thanks April for rescuing them all those years ago but Shredder and his men track them down and enter the sewer hideout. A battle ensues in which Splinter is badly injured and Michealangelo, Leonardo & Donatello are captured and taken to Sack’s lab.
Raphael is thought to be and left buried under a pile of rubble but he comes to and carried Splinter to a table with April’s help. Splinter instructs Raphael and April to save the other three Turtles. April calls Vern to give them a ride to the laboratory where the other three Turtles are being held. When they arrive, April frees the Turtles, who join Raphael in fighting Shredder, but Shredder escapes. April, the Turtles, and Vern escape down a snowy mountain with The Foot in pursuit, and manage to get away after some ridiculous scenes. The Turtles have a showdown with Shredder at the top of Sack’s building in NYC while Vern & April get the mutagen from Sacks and April heads onto the rooftop to give it to the Turtles. With April’s help, the Turtles finally defeat Shredder who falls off the roof where he is immediately surrounded by the police. He is last seen touching the spilled mutagen. The last scene is the Turtles, now traveling in a van fighting crime having been given the go ahead by a recovered Splinter, accidentally destroying Vern’s new car.
When you compare the 90s movies and even the rather good animated movie from a few yeas back, this movie has none of the charm, the humour (it manages a couple of chuckles from me) and more violent noises than the first 3 movies put together! There’s nothing subtle about this and the Turtles come out as being brutish and stupidly silly – it’s like ordering a luscious pizza and finding lots of dirty mold on the cheese & bread! The origin story is stupid and April keeping them as pets and naming them – c’mon! Typical Bay film with lots of things going “boom” and loud talking and shouting and cars being damaged and buildings getting destroyed. 6 outta 10!