Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) movie review
At first, I wanted someone to go see Michael Bay's new teenage mutant ninja turtles movie with me.
Then I stopped and realized that would be a terrible idea.
Odds are I'd be pissed. Maybe even get sick halfway through.
So I went to Scottsdale Fashion Square's Harkins theater alone. 4:30pm show, on a Sunday.
Matinee showings usually have much smaller crowds.
But it's during the day, so although there are less viewers, many of them are children.
I got there early. Bought a small popcorn and a small root beer from a munchkin girl, for like $50.
F* it. I'm doing this. I'm going all the way.
As the preview for Dolphin Tale 2 concluded, I had already finished the bag.
Picking kernels from my teeth, I moved down to closer seating. Front and center. I needed to see and live every frame of this film. I needed to give it the best possible chance.
The movie begins with hints of weaponry slicing assorted fruits and cinder blocks, that appear from darkness.
The creators must like Fruit Ninja, a cellphone game they probably play in the middle of a first date.
No, no. These turtles live in a sewer. So they have to practice on whatever floats on down, right?
Slicing up turds and used condoms wouldn't make the PG-13 cut.
So it's gotta be fresh seedless watermelon for sewer ninjutsu development training.
Sigh. I'm already defending this film two minutes in. This isn't looking good.
Please, please be good. No, just. Just be halfway decent. I love you, ninja turtles. Please, please don't hurt me with this reboot.
Megan Fox appears right away. In case half of you were already leaving the theater.
Bay uses her as cheap, desperate bait. To make sure you realize how hot Fox is, every other line is someone hitting on her.
She's supposed to be April O'Neil.
With dark, flowing hair that should be red. Or at least a deep auburn. I don't know.
Anyway, Megan Fox whines lines as best as she can. The scenery is overly saturated, vibrant brightness to exaggerate her tan and blasting pink lips. It looks like Michael Bay's Transformers movies immediately, in this way.
I'm about to fall asleep when suddenly there's a turtle tease.
Forget what you know and remember about ninja turtles. These aren't them.
These new guys are huge. Massive, muscular, vascular, CGI tanks.
When Leonardo reveals himself for the first time, flipping down from like 300 feet in the air, cement cracks and crumbles under the sheer impact of his extremeness.
These guys are 15 years old. 5'3'' or so. But not in Michael Bay's world.
Michael Bay shot the ninja turtles up with steroids, then turned their lovable faces into something between a shaved hamster and a disfigured premature infant.
You know who looks more like the real ninja turtles? Whoopi Goldberg. She's in this movie.
With shaved eyebrows. What the F is that. Why?
Stop it, Andrew. Stop it. This isn't the '90s. These are new turtles for a new audience. You're old. You're a has-been. This is what people want now. This is making millions and millions of dollars. Michael Bay knows what's good. Not you.
Splinter appears. He's a tough sensei in this one. For the first time ever, he's shown as a super kickass fighting rat, utilizing his tail like a doom tentacle.
Splinter is clearly better than the turtles. He holds his own quite well against Shredder. Who's basically Iron Man now, but with more blades.
The Shredder, let's talk about him. His real name is never uttered (Oroku Saki), his motivations aren't either. He's just a bad guy. He's gonna do bad stuff because he's bad. Luckily, not a single police officer exists in New York City. So it'll be super easy.
Tohoru Masamune plays Shredder when he's not being a giant bladed robot thing.
He gets a couple little scenes, speaking in thunderous japanese. He's scary and tall. I like him, and wish there was more of him.
Karai, who should be a merciless ninja assassin, is just there because somebody has to be.
Her bones should have shattered when she was steamrolled by a turtle, then thrown like a ragdoll into a brick wall.
But next scene her hair is still lovely, and she's shouting orders to forgettable Foot soldiers, bright as can be.
The origin story of the ninja turtles has been completely redone. That's right, they exist because Megan Fox saved them.
Fuck you, Michael Bay. Just for that.
.. at least they aren't aliens. For a second there, Bay was gonna make them aliens.
Throughout the film, when Megan Fox isn't being hit on, the turtles do their best to be funny. Michaelangelo almost works. Unfortunately, he's been turned into an annoying club bro "hey gurl, come on gurl, yeaaaa gurl DJ Mikey bruh" who also hits on Megan Fox every chance he gets.
There's an 18 minute scene of them falling/sliding/exploding down an icy mountain. No reason, really. There just is.
I know. Suddenly right outside New York City is a snowy mountain four times taller than Mt. Everest. And they slide down it at like 200mph, having regular conversations during all of it. With explosions and slow motion bullets, as you would expect.
Now we're on top of a building downtown, there's a 20 minute fight scene with Shredder. No cops. No news crews. No helicopters. Shredder doesn't have anyone with him, he's working on a computer in his robot suit doing bad guy stuff. I'm still not sure why he's doing all of this.
I don't think he does either. He just wakes up, knows he's a bad guy, and he's gotta do bad things today.
The turtles, each the size of an Escalade, get their 'asses kicked' by Shredder. That was cool. Please kill them, Shredder. Come on man, do it for me.
By the 92nd minute of the film, Megan Fox should have died 27 times. I kept a notepad with me, I'm certain of this detail.
One missed opportunity in particular was Eric Sacks (evil scientist who exists) forgets how to just walk up to Fox and shoot her.
Seriously. Megan Fox is hiding 5 feet away from him, and he sees her, he just forgets how to walk. Deciding to shoot random things around her instead.
Still no cops.
The word 'vigilante' is used a thousand times, and then the day is saved.
Turtles can turn invisible after a massive public scene, and we've returned to one of apparently 10 secret lairs they have.
They're keeping a low profile in a dubbed out green van with green neon all over it, now.
Fox starts to respond to Vern's hitting on her.
Then Michael Bay realizes he hasn't blown something up in 8 minutes!
Shit, blow that car up!
So he blows another car up.
Then the movie ends.
I can feel collateral products being sold already. Cash registers beeping and clanging, stuffed with cash for ninja turtle t-shirts, cups, bed sheets, action figures...
I can feel the world getting a shade darker under Michael Bay's cackling shadow, drinking in millions of dollars.
I need to go home and lie down.
The crowd empties the theater around me. They're positive, upbeat. Tiny children are happy, making explosion sound effects from their little faces.
None of them care about the real ninja turtles. And the adults, if they weren't fans before, they definitely aren't now. "What's the big deal, it was okay, I guess. Who cares."
My head hurts. My stomach hurts. I have to get out of here.
I hurry out of the mall, arms tightly around myself, as if infected with an incurable disease.