Unsurprisingly, I did not have a good time watching this latest live action feature film in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. I came to it neutral, having enjoyed the cartoons as a kid, but finding the previous films dull and the so-called witticisms of the turtles grating. This reboot does little to change that diagnosis. The best that can be said about it is that after the "alien origins" scare, the story is faithful to its source materials. The four turtles, named after Renaissance painters, are mutated into humanoid ninja-fighting vigilantes who live in the sewers with their jedi master mutated rat-father Splinter. They have a female friend and accomplice called April O'Neil, who's a pretty journalist and an evil nemesis too. In this film, that's a corporate greedy bastard who wants to infect the city so that he can sell it a cure and become massively rich - and of course, that cure comes from stringing up the turtles and extracting their mutated genes.
I found the relentlessly-alecky banter from the turtles really grating and there's none of the charisma that, say, Corey Feldman brought to the original voice-cast. Megan Fox does her standard pretty girl in distress thing as April O'Neil and it's not so much her fault that the part is woefully underwritten. But even weirder, we have Will Arnett, fifteen years her senior, playing her goofy cameraman. There's meant to be sexual tension between the two but it just comes across as creepy and icky. Finally, we've got Whoopi Goldberg as April's editor - utterly wasted.
The movie is made in a very workmanlike way. You've got all the martial arts scenes and special effects and loud music and the compulsory sprinkling of "kowabungas". There's nothing to get excited about and the final thirty minutes just descends into a loud and rather dull working through of gears.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES has a running time of 101 minutes and is rated PG-13. The film is on global release.
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