Tuesday, 20 May 2014

TMNT (2007)

It's highly unlikely I'll go see Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, for the fairly self-evident reason that it's a Michael Bay movie.  I did go along to see this film when it hit the cinemas, however, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  I wish they'd gone on to do the sequel they hint at toward the end of the film.

The film begins in the ancient past, with a Central American warlord who discovered the secret of immortality.  Alas, there are side-effects: his four closest friends are turned to stone, and 13 monsters are released to plague the Earth.  This might seem a strange kind of plot-line for the ninja turtles, but the original comic book featured time travel and alien races, so it's really not that wacky.

3000 years later, the turtles are in something of a rough spot.  Leonardo, the eldest brother, has been away for a year or more trying to learn to be a better leader (how he was intended to learn this isn't specified).  The others are somewhat directionless without him, except for hot-headed Raphael, who has built himself a suit of armour and patrols the city streets as the vigilante 'Nightwatcher'.

When Leo finally returns to the city, he receives a cool welcome from Raphael, who isn't eager to go back to following orders from the brother he feels abandoned them.  Which is a problem, since if ever there was a time for the turtles to be united, this is it: the immortal warlord is gathering the statues of his comrades, and capturing the 13 monsters, in preparation for a powerful magical ritual of some kind.  And he's hired the Foot clan of ninjas, the turtles old enemies, to aid him.

This is a fun, family-friendly romp.  The voice cast is solid, and the animation is pretty good too.  Human character designs are quite exaggerated, in the manner of a Pixar film, though perhaps not quite as expertly.  The monster and statue designs on the other hand are really nice; one of my favorite parts of the film.

Recommended if you have kids to entertain, or a kid at heart yourself - especially if you were a turtle fan as a young 'un.

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