Movies

‘The Mutant Ninja Turtles’: Fun for kids

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MUMBAI: By chance or by choice, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) has always been a reflection of its time. The new TMNT is also a time capsule, so to speak.

Even though the 97 minute film is far from perfect, it is everything a turtle movie usually is – fun for kids.

The movie has the elements of all the other Ninja Turtle movies like the Ninja Turtles who loves pizza (this time from Pizza Hut), the city of New York at risk and villains. The movie has nothing new to offer except for a flash back unlike the other installments

The basic plot, the TMNT lore has changed very little over the years. Four turtles come in contact with a man-made mutagen, grow up in the New York City sewer system learning ninjutsu from their adoptive father Splinter, a mutated rat. As in all stories, there is an evil organisation led by a man known as The Shredder, who really likes the idea of eating ‘turtle soup’.

The movie is based on a comic dreamed by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird 30 years ago intending to be a parody of comics at the time.

The film opens with a sequence of the city of New York in the grip of a crime wave unmanageable by the police officials. A channel 6 news reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) goes after the trails a group Foot Clan, who she thinks is behind it. While searching for the group, he finds herself crossing paths with the last thing she ever thought to find: a quartet of 6-foot tall, crime-fighting turtles that – coincidentally – have a link to her past. When her colleague dismisses her discovery as a part of her overactive imagination, she seeks out the counsel of old family friend and billionaire scientist Eric Sacks (William Fichtner). As in all the movies, Sacks knows more than he’s letting on, and it isn’t long before O’Neil and her new turtle friends are thrust headfirst into a plot that threatens the entire city.

As O’Neil, Megan Fox gives a decent performance. There are also a handful of other humans with speaking roles, all very one-dimensional: a snarky-and-lovelorn co-worker (Will Arnett), a take-no-bullshit boss (Whoopi Goldberg), and a duplicitous businessman working with the bad guys. Comedians Arnett and Goldberg are sadly wasted in minor roles in the movie, as is Abby Elliot, in a cameo as April’s roommate.

Neither the narrative is strong, dialogues are too basic (even though they have tried to add a pinch of comedy) nor the music is extraordinary. Still the one thing the movie gets right is the individual personalities of the turtles. Even after the redesign, these are the turtles we love, adore and know: Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines, Raphael is cool (but rude) and Michelangelo, of course, is the party dude

Curiously, the film takes no time to introduce the characters, much less their individual names, so if you’re going in without prior knowledge, you may find yourself lost for a stretch.

If you are a fan or have a kid who is, the movie can take you to the ninja world. Don’t think and you might have a good time!

Cast: Megan Fox, Alan Ritchson, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Will Arnett, Danny Woodburn, William Fichtner, Johnny Knoxville, Tony Shalhoub

Producers: Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller, Galen Walker, Scott Mednick, Ian Bryce

Director: Jonathan Liebesman

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