Reviewed by: John DeYoung
|Featuring:||Patrick Stewart, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Chris Evans, Ziyi Zhang, Kevin Smith, Mako, James Arnold Taylor, Mikey Kelley, Mitchell Whitfield, Nolan North|
|Producer:||Peter Laird, Francis Kao, Gary Richardson|
“Raising Shell In 2007”
Cowabunga dudes and dudettes! Those heroes in a half shell are back! Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo and Leonardo all make up that fighting foursome, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in short “TMNT.” This computer animated adventure takes place years after our heroes defeated their number one nemesis, The Shredder and his evil entourage, The Foot. Now each of the turtles has taken on various responsibilities to pass the time, as well as growing apart as a family. Donatello became a call-in computer expert. Michelangelo does kids’ birthday parties and Leonardo went off to South America to train to become a better leader. The only member of the team still taking down small time hoods and criminals is Raphael, disguised as a metal clad crime buster.
However, when a rich tech industrialist, Max Winters (voiced by “X-Men” star, Patrick Stewart) unleashes an evil army of monsters and warriors, the turtles must put aside their differences and stop Winter’s fearsome force and The Foot, who has joined in Winter’s endeavors, from destroying the city and possibly taking over the world. Joining the turtles in their battle is one time journalist and now treasure hunter, April O’Neil (voiced by “Buffy’s” Sarah Michelle Gellar) and sporting equipment carrying vigilante, Casey Jones (voiced by “Fantastic Four’s” Human Torch star, Chris Evans). But this team isn’t complete without the wisdom from the all-knowing master rodent, Splinter (voiced by “Conan’s” star, Mako) guiding and trying to bring his family together so that city will be safe once more.
As I watched this movie, it was hard to decipher who the target audience was to be. The plot of “TMNT” was so deep and complex that even I found it difficult to follow at times, much less a youngling. For this being a turtle movie, it didn’t have the light heartedness that you would expect from a movie of this type. I kept thinking that if they wanted to make this into a serious super-hero movie like “Spider-Man,” “X-Men,” or “Batman Begins,” they should have not used “TMNT” to try and accomplish this. Trying to put “TMNT” in the same category as the other comic book-based contenders is like seeing Elmer Fudd doing Shakespeare. It can’t be taken (or done) seriously. What I also found was that some of the violence was a little over the top for younger viewers. Now I understand that there are supposed to be ninja fighting sequences and such, but at times, I just felt the images were just too extreme.
As for the animation, it was great. The turtles seemed so life-like, and the human characters looked pretty good. I especially liked the voices they chose to portray the characters. To pick, Gellar to voice April O’Neal was perfect. In all actuality, I think if they ever do another live action Turtle flick, Gellar would be my pick to play the adventurous aid to the fighting foursome. I also liked the fact they picked Mako to voice Splinter. His voice personifies a wise old Master that is definitely needed to bring Splinter’s character to life.
However, I cannot in good conscious give this movie a high recommendation, especially for kids. To parents, I would take heed before taking your child to see this movie. This is not the Turtles that you’re used to seeing. If you want your kids to see an awesome (as Donatello would say) Turtle flick, show them the first live action movie. If you’re an adult and a guiltily long-time Turtle’s fan (like me), my advise to you is wait for “TMNT” to come out on DVD. On a grading scale, I give “TMNT” a “D.”
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.