TMNT: When It’s So Bad It’s Good

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles posterIf your only perception of turtles thus far is of those slow, timid creatures daring to cross the road, then you, my friend, are in for a shock. The turtles in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are built like bricks, are as friendly as invisible friends, are as computer-savvy as Apple Geniuses, and are, of course, trained ninjas. They were injected with a high techy techy super serum and tossed into a low techy techy sewer with a very intelligent, steroid-fed lab rat. The turtles and the rat grew, developed personalities, adopted fashion senses, and learned ninjutsu. Now they protect New York from the smelly shadows, foiling illegal deals run by the evil Foot Clan.

TMNT has a pretty basic plot with no huge surprises (except Whoopi Goldberg as a news editor), but it really sparkles in the details. April O’Neil (Megan Fox) is the centre point in the big picture, even though she looks nothing like the April O’Neil cartoon lovers will remember:Ninja Turtles April_O'NeilBut, then again, the turtles are a little messed up too…Ninja Turtles 1990At first, April gets along just great with her father’s old pal, Sacks (William Fichtner), now filthy rich, extremely successful, and living in a castle. Her opinion of him takes a bit of a sidestep, however, when she discovers he’s a lying sonofaB. He plans to capture the turtles (her new fan club) and extract the super serum from their blood. Sacks will then sell the fast-healing, cure-all serum to the city after poisoning the population with a deadly airborne virus. This will make him filthy rich… because the guy living in a castle on the edge of New York is tight on cash.

Sacks’ impulsivity is clearly bigger than his intellect, however, as he plans to set off this deadly toxin while his team, his boss, and himself are still firmly planted at ground zero. Brilliant. He also falls directly into the bad-guy-cliché category when he swaps his crisp business suit for a tight black V-neck the minute we find out he’s evil.

Sacks may be sporting this Under Armour like a boss, but his actual boss outdoes him ten-fold by dressing to the nines in a fashionable cross between samurai and terminator. He is aptly named Shredded as he carries not one, not two, but eight retractable finger blades. He, Wolverine, and Edward Scissor Hands could benefit from a little get together. They could establish the ‘I Struggle with Everyday Activities’ club.

Shredder and Sacks are a bit too eager for their plan to work and not detail-oriented enough to think everything through. It is their goal, for example, after capturing the turtles (using tranquilizer darts with spitball-level effectiveness), to harvest their blood and extract the super serum. But what if their extraction attempts fail? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a turtle with a working heart left over so that they could take more blood? Oh goodness no. Let’s drain them dry and run the tests with no backup plan! I’m sure everything will work out just fine.

TMNT may force the funny on you, but it’s a technique that seems to work. It was cheesy, but I laughed anyway. The turtles have such different personalities, and are so close to the cartoon I fondly remember, it brought me only good feelings. Donatello (the purple one) is a total tech geek while Mikey (the orange, pizza-addict) is the quintessential 90’s child. Every 11-year-old is bound to relate to one of them. Despite obvious plot holes, the movie was an easy laugh and I can see it infecting future TV stations as badly as The Mummy or Die Hard. I give it 5.5 duct taped turtle shells out of 10 immovable objects.

Trailer here.

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