Genre: Action comedy
Length: 112 minutes
Main Cast: Megan Fox
Production company: Paramount Pictures
Written by: Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec
Directed by: Dan Green
Written by Nelson Cumming
When I saw the same cast and crew from the original ninja turtles moving making the sequel I admit that my expectations bar was appropriately lowered. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows was a surprise as they exceeded my expectations, but it was not enough for me to enjoy. This movie is an improvement on the original but there were many distracting elements that you would get from a Michael Bay movie, which hampered the quality of the film (I know he didn’t direct it, but he produced it). Thankfully, they tone the Michael Bay-ness down several notches for this one but his presence was still all over the movie, which hurt the overall viewing experience for me.
Shredder has broken free from law enforcement and has returned to terrorize New York. He is teleported to the main antagonist called Krang. Krang wants shredder to collect three hidden components of a machine that will serve as a gateway between Earth and Krang’s world. This is so Krang and come back to Earth and executes his plan to destroy New York. The Turtles (obviously) must try and stop Krang before it is too late.
For what it’s worth, Out of the Shadows tries to have meaning and depth. I am not so sure it tried hard, but the fact it tried means this movie can be salvageable. They have a kernel of ideas that are touched on but are not explored. One of the ideas that resonated with me was the moral conundrum of changing your outward appearance to be accepted into society. When I saw that idea played in a scene I was surprised. I wanted them to play around with that idea throughout, but you only get a scene and a half with that idea before that message gets lost in the subpar action and secondary characters.
The other good thing OotS has going for it is that the main characters, the turtles, are mildly interesting. Yes, I did not mind them but no, I did not care about them. This is mainly because throughout the movie I did not get the impression that the turtles were struggling in any way (be it a physical fight or an identity crisis) and the movie made them clear-cut babyface heroes. If a clean-cut babyface hero does not struggle with anything, how can I really get invested into them? I can’t. The turtles mainly do parkour around buildings and try to be entertaining to the kids, but they do not have the crossover appeal to get me into it. That said, they are not repulsive or bad. They just didn’t resonate with me.
As a critical thinker at the movies, I have developed a sensitive bulldust detector in my mind, from seeing roughly two movies a week. I don’t like it when I have to see the same thing over and over again. I was alarmed when my detector noticed no overuse of explosions (a big plus), what my detector did not like was nearly every other Michael Bay convention permeated throughout the movie. Excessive product placement, check; Megan Fox being sexually provocative just to bring the smut male audience into the movie, check; and really terrible dialogue, check, check, check. It is distracting and adds nothing. These Michael Bay shenanigans helped make one of the worst pieces of dialogue since London has Fallen
A basketball player slips on some pizza during a game (accidently dropped my Michelangelo from far above the rafters) The player grabs his ankle and screams “My Nike, My Nike, there is pizza on my Nike! Referee, I can’t play with pizza on my Nike!” and the referee responds with “welcome to New York”. This exchange of dialogue was very cringeworthy. It had explicit and repetitive product placement, which made the dialogue completely unnatural and unrealistic (He should have said “Ah! My foot!” or “There’s pizza on my shoe!”). I have an ear for bad dialogue, the scriptwriter didn’t.
Overall I am pleased that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was better than expected, yet it is not really good enough for me to enjoy. At least the turtles had likable qualities to them and I wasn’t thinking “green screen” when there was CGI involved. This movie is harmless. Harmless fun is stretching it. **