Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Half Shelled

There is an inherent problem with calling a film about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles goofy and stupid. That problem is that you are watching a film about martial art wielding, shell wearing, bi-pedal turtles… what else would it be?

That said; I found it goofy and stupid.

If you watch the 2014 Turtles film you will probably find it quite enjoyable thanks to the four charismatic heroes and that still holds true of this latest offering and in this respect it’s quite a faithful recreation of the cartoon.

Without question the best moments are when the turtles are on screen. There is a sense of fun emanating from them that I find really charming and this feeling is only extended thanks to the chemistry between the four.

The film also tries to bring in many fan favourites such as Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams), Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly), Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry), Krang (Brad Garrett) and Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) but director Dave Green is unable to bring a balance to all these new faces who at times struggles though only his second major cinematic release.

Equal screen time is given to all of the above but in some cases, such as Kim Kardashian, less is absolutely more.

Bebop and Roksteady received probably about the right about of screen time but their dialogue is aimed squarely at a younger audience and not, in my case, at big man-babies who grew up loving the franchise. They are goofy and stupid but I’m just about OK with that.

It’s Tyler Perry’s portrayal of Baxter Stockman that didn’t fly for me though. Firstly, he doesn’t look like the gangly scientist we are used to but moreover; Perry has made a name for himself in relatively dramatic roles so watching him trying to do slapstick is like watching your dad trying to dance.

Similarly disappointing was Casey Jones. Instead of being an effortlessly cool vigilante we get a rather generic rookie cop a bit like Riggs from Lethal Weapon. Perhaps the next Turtles film will turn this around.

Not all new characters are disappointing though because Krang was an excellent villain. His synthetic humanoid robot host thing is actually rather terrifying and looks like a genuine threat to both humanity and the turtles.

If it wasn’t enough to try to make sense of all these new characters by trying to understand and empathise with their own unique histories and motivations the film also tries to cram in added drama between the turtles as Leonardo (Pete Ploszek) must keep the team congruent.

I know what you are thinking, who cares about half shelled dramatics when Raphael (Alan Ritchson) is clotheslining- goons from the back of a truck or Michealangelo (Noel Fisher) is hoverboarding for funsies. Well… good point. The action scenes are superb and are about 40% more turtley than it’s predecessor.

That’s a good thing because it really feels like the cartoons that I fell in love with as a child. However,  with less noise and clutter from these extra story threads there is a really tight story that revolves around sibling rivalry and wanting to be accepted. If Out of the Shadows took this route we would be looking at a solid 4 star film or better but instead it’s an entertaining yet forgettable slice of entertainment.

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ Turtles
+ Great action
+ Intimidating villain


– Too many new characters
– Awful interpretation of Baxter
– Underwhelming action from Casey Jones

Stars_3

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