Tuesday, March 27, 2007

TMNT - the franchise that dare not speak its name

One of the occupational hazzards of being the person in the family who is known to watch a bunch of films, is that you find yourself volunteered to chaperone a bunch of ankle-biters to movies that you would, in all prejudice, rather bite off your own ankle than watch. I can just about deal with the idea of a short cartoon about teenage mutant ninja turtles eating pizza, shouting "cowabunga" and prancing about on skyscrapers, but a full length movie was always going to be too long and too ridiculous even for me.

But TMNT - the franchise so eager to rebrand it's not even using its full name - is not a bad film. Director Kevin Munroe has deftly traversed the problem that grown men in latex suits look stupid by cunningly CGI-animating all the characters so that they all look stupid. Oh yes! in TMNT, not only are the turtles more buff, but the human characters are eerily elongated and distorted like a pastiche of manga. Fans will be happy, though, to see April, the turtles and Splinter back, although the villains are different. The plot, such as it is, involves the turtles being reunited to round up some evil beasties that are wandering the city causing havoc. Turns out an immortal Aztec warrior turned wall street tycoon (figures!) needs them to unlock a portal to another world and unleash hell on earth, Ghostbusters-stylee.....

The movie skips along at a furious pace, with not so much "cowabunga" as of old and a lot of fighting. Indeed, the whole movie is basically one loud, long, CGI fight scene with various armies of ninja-people, ninja-turtles, ninja-friends, April's house-mate in a hockey-mask, robo-ninjas, stone-ninjas, and a wolf-ninja for fun. I can't say it did much for me, but it was over soon enough and the kids seemed to get an adrenaline-rush and the desire to swing sticks at things. Which I gather is a good thing.

TMNT is on release in on release in Australia, Israel, Russia, Canada, Singapore, Turkey, the UK and the US. It opens in Belgium, the Philippines, Argentina, Greece, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Iceland, Norway, Spain and Venezuala next week. It opens in France, Germany and Austria on April 12th and in the Netherlands, Latvia and South Korea later in April. It opens in Finland on June 22nd.


  1. "Robo-ninjas"? Well that's me sold.

  2. You had me at robo-ninjas.

    I like it. The wolf-ninja and stone-ninjas didn't do it for you. But robo-ninjas, and you're there!