The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are one fad I missed. Since I didn't grow up watching TV, I missed the cartoon. And I never got around to watching the movies. As a result, I planned to skip this one. But I got talked into it by some friends.
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Of course, I did know the basics of the franchise. Four turtles and a rat get exposed to radiation and grow to human size. They learn martial arts and use their powers to fight crime.
Leonardo (voiced by James Arnold Taylor) has been studying in South America. He's been sent there by Master Splinter (Mako) to learn how to be a better leader to his brothers. The training didn't go well, and Leo stayed.
But in his absence, his brothers have lost their way. Michelangelo (Mikey Kelly) dons a costume and hires himself out for entertainment as kid's birthday parties. Donatello (Mitchelle Witfield) works as a computer helpline operator. Only Raphael (Nolan North) still fights crime, taking to the streets at night as a vigilante.
The turtle's human friend April (Sarah Michelle Gellar) finds Leo while on an antiques expedition. When she tells him all this, he decides to return to New York, where he is greeted warmly by all but Raphael.
He's returned just in time, however. Something evil is happening in New York City. Weird creatures are on the loose and even stranger creatures are capturing them. Can the turtles pull together to find the answers and defend their city?
Even though I am unfamiliar with the franchise, I found this movie fairly predictable. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing in my book. There are some movies I absolutely love that were predictable.
My bigger problem came with Leo and Raphael's fight. I expected to watch the turtles working together and was rather disappointed to see them fighting for most of the film. Why do writers think we want to see conflict in group like this? I don't like it.
There is a villain who poses a threat to all of human kind, but that story seemed to take a back seat for most of the film for the Leo/Raphael storyline. It's emergence at the end was sudden. Frankly, it felt like a sub-plot thrown in to give the turtles something to fight while the movie mainly focused on the internal conflict.
Not that the villain wasn't entertaining. I got caught up in wondering how the turtles would defeat him. I just wish it had been more prominently featured.
The voice cast for the movie features a mix of known and unknown actors. I recognized Sarah Michelle Gellar right off the bat, but didn't pick up on Patrick Stewart, Laurence Fishburne, or Chris Evans. Frankly, the identity of the voice cast doesn't matter. Everyone does a great job.
The computer animation is quite interesting. It's part realistic, part comic book. There were shots that looked very real, including some during a rain storm. Other times, it looked like something directly out of a comic book. It's a weird mix, but it works.
Even though this movie wasn't my first choice, I went in with an open mind. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to its potential.
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