TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEM blew me away with its wonderfully grungy, plasticine-y, incredibly dynamic animation style; its hilariously funny script; its ridiculously impressive voice cast; its 90s nostalgia; and its heart-felt debate about whether mutants can ever be accepted by humans (echoes of X-MEN). Kudos to debut directors Kyler Spears and Jeff Rowe, and screenwriters Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, for creating something so genuinely compelling, that deserves to spoken of in the same breath as SPIDERVERSE. Five stars FTW!
The movie starts with our teenange mutant protagonists living in hiding in New York, under the tutelage of their ninja rat daddy voiced by JACKIE CHAN!!!! He suffered rejection from humans and just wants to keep his kids safe. So they are left pining for real High School life, absurdly informed by watching FERRIS BUELLER at a drive-thru, and wondering whether if they came out of hiding to help people with their mad skills, humans would accept them.
Lucky for us they get a chance to test out their theory. They meet April O'Neill, their wannabe journalist ally, here recast as a young African-American teenager with glasses, smarts, and a penchant for chundering on air. Together they realise that the person terrorising New York is an evil scientist (Maya Rudolph) who wants to take their Precious Bodily Fluids and create even more mutants. She and her evil henchman (Ice-T) will then assert mutant dominance over humans for good.
I absolutely loved the knowing pop-culture references, the funny dialogue, and the genuine feeling of camaraderie I felt among the turtles. I genuinely felt that Jackie Chan's rat was their surrogate dad and that they loved each other. The whole thing was clever, knowing but also just wonderfully uplifting. Honestly, I wouldn't change a frame and really hope this is the first in a franchise.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEM has a running time of 99 minutes and is rated PG. It was released in early August.