4.18.2007

REVIEW: TMNT (Kevin Munroe, 2007)

Since the day I first heard of this project I've held it in my mind as a huge misstep for the turtle franchise as a whole - a dishonor to the turtles that I knew when I was a kid. The animated route in a turtles feature was altogether unsettling while the text-message style abbreviation of the title was out and out nauseating. I only ended up seeing the unrealistically realized reincarnation as an afterthought - a 90-minute sidenote to top off my day at the cinema. In the end though, it was well worth the time and actually proved to be the most movie-related fun I had that day.

The first half of the film was actually just as I expected - an even more cartoony rendering of our heroes and their friends (Casey Jones is given a head like a carrot while April O'Neil looks as though she could toss out a Pokeball at any moment) that is more kid-oriented than we're accustomed to seeing the half-shelled mutants, whose personalities are now more one-dimensional than ever. The storyline is only a shade or two better than that of an episode of Power Rangers. Even though the core of the movie is a group of mutant amphibians who talk and fight in bandannas, it's difficult to accept a whole new batch of lore attached to a whole new villain (whose build makes him look like he'd be put to better use as a bookcase), especially when it involves not only immortal, living statues but also a multitude of rampaging beasts of no particular purpose. I mean really, couldn't they have just stuck with the foot clan?

Surprisingly and thankfully the second half (beginning with Raphael's Ram Jam fight with the so-called Jersey Demon, for those of you who have seen it and are wondering where I'm taking off from) is pretty darn fun and well composed. The point of no return is easily the best moment and features a certain long-lived rivalry coming to a head. Splinter even gets in on some action and finds a moment to lay a line on us almost as funny as his classic, "I have always liked... Cowabunga" from the first film back in 1990.

So if you don't mind sitting through about 45 minutes of child's fare in the beginning, punctuated with relatively well choreographed action sequences, this colorful return to the world of the sewer-dwelling, pizza-munching, amphibian ninjas makes for an enjoyable ride.

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