onsdag 1 oktober 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

As a teenager, i used to go home to my friends Björn and André, who loved martial arts. I remember Björn had lots of Jean-Claude Van Damme films on VHS, and he especially loved Kickboxer. These guys used to practise to learn the special kicks of Van Damme in their parents garage, and they never seemed to realise that making special kicks in reality, is more dangerous in real life, than in a film ( were they use professionals ). When Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came out as a feautre film, i remember we all watched it and thought these ninja turtles were really cool. I had action figues, sticker albums, cartoons, you name it and i probably had it all. There were 2 sequels, and they also gave us a lot of great time, since we all loved martial art films. Looking back, i realise that those films from that era, could not be the same as today. The 90´s had a lot of martial arts influenced b action movies that made the 90´s so much fun. The difference with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, between other martial art films, was that this was a bigger production, and with bigger names involved than usual. After the third film was released in 1993, the genre did not manage to find an audience again, and another sequel were never made. Times were changing at the box office, and i think that people did not feel the need for another Ninja Turtles film. It would take 14 years before we get to see Ninja Turtles back on screen, but not in an ordinary action film, instead in an animated feature film named TMNT. As an animated film, it did what it was set out to do, bring back Ninja Turtles kicking ass again. So here we are in 2014, and we finally have a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film in our hands, by director Jonathan Liebesman. Is this a worthy reboot to the original films from the 90´s, or is this a reboot we could have been left without ?

April O´Neal ( Megan Fox ) is a news reporter for Channel 6 news in New York. She is doing research on the criminal network, known as the Footclan, who operate in almost all the major criminal activities. In the harbour, as April tries to get proof of the Footclan´s criminal activities, she becomes a witness of someone striking back at the Footclan. Who are these vigilantes ? April follow the vigilantes to a roof top, where she take a picture of them. She is confronted by 4 huge mutated turtles, named Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo. Her picture is destroyed, and she is told not to tell anyone she have met them. April find out they are known as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. April goes home, and start digging in documents, that her deceased father did experiments on turtles, with  some type of mutagen. The experiment turned these turtles into fully grown turtles who were capable to talk, and move, like no other turtles before. April realise that her father is the reason to why they exist. April try and convince her boss Bernadette Thompson ( Whoopi Goldberg ) that these ninja turtles really exist, but Bernadette decide to fire April, for making a fool of herself, and of the news team. April is determined to reveal the truth. Ninja turtles tell their master Splinter that they have been spotted, so Splinter order them to take April down to their lair, so he can warn her about what problems she is causing. Meanwhile the Footclan have big plans to spread a deadly virus through New York, with the help of their master Shredder ( Tohoru Masamune ) and April´s father´s lab partner Eric Sacks ( William Fitchner ). Ninja Turtles realise they need to do something, or else New York will no longer exist.

There is a point in comparing this new version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the 90´s films. And there are 2 reasons why:

# Back in those days, Ninja Turtles were guys behind costumes, the turtles today are all CGI. I know there are actors that made the motion of the turtles, but most of those motions are still CGI.

# The fighting sequences were more cool in the 90´s, the fighting scenes in the new turtles film is also CGI.

I love CGI, if you use it in the right way, and there are many motion pictures where they found a great balance to use special effects. And this is where the problem is for the most part of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There is so much CGI that it never seems to stop, and somehow the turtles look pretty awful compared to the 90´s costumes. Another problem is that Michael Bay is involved in this reboot. In the past he have made some good work, especially on The Rock, one of the best action films of the 90´s. But nowdays he simply goes over the top. This is of course not his fault only, since he is not the director here, instead this film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman.  For those who don´t know of his previous work as an director, let´s mention The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - The Beginning , Battle Los Angeles, and Wrath Of The Titans. A very mixed catalogue of films, and i will say i think he did a better job with Wrath Of The Titans, compared to Clash Of The Titans. When it comes to his vision of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, there are some details he did manage to capture. The scenery of New York looks good, and some action sequences can be entertaining. But apart from this, there is not much positive to say. As a kid i loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on film, and the 90´s version is still entertaining to see today, even if they are a bit cheesy. Jonathan Liebesman probably loves this genre, but in my opinion he could have done much better as the director, because there are many problems here. By the way, how is Megan Fox as April O´Neal ? Not as awful as some people said in media, let´s just say she do this character ok, but that´s about it. Kids will love this one, maybe some of the older fans, i still feel dissapointed. A sequel is coming in 2016, i really hope they improve many details, because this was not the worthy reboot we asked for.

Rating: DD

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