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MOVIE REVIEW

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

also known as “Ninja Turtles: Teenage Years,” “As Tartarugas Ninja: Caos Mutante,” “Les tortues ninja: Chaos chez les mutants,” “Nindža kornjače: Makljaža s mutantima,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for sequences of violence and action, language and impolite material.

Reviewed by: Eric Tiansay
CONTRIBUTOR

Moral Rating: Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: • Teens • Young-Adults • Adults
Genre: Animation Sci-Fi Superhero Crime Action Adventure Comedy Sequel
Length: 1 hr. 39 min.
Year of Release: 2023
USA Release: August 1, 2023 (3,513 theaters)
August 4, 2023 (wide release—3,858 theaters)
DVD: December 12, 2023
Copyright, Paramount Pictures Corporation, a subsidiary of ViacomCBSclick photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Paramount Pictures Corporation, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Copyright, Paramount Pictures Corporation, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS
Relevant Issues

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Protecting others from harm, even thos who persecute them

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Substances that cause genetic mutations

Why don’t mutations help Evolutionists? Answer

THE TRUTH ABOUT MUTATIONS—Can genetic mutations produce positive changes in living creatures? Answer

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Teen Qs™—Christian Answers for teenagers
Teens! Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.

Copyright, Paramount Pictures Corporation, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Copyright, Paramount Pictures Corporation, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Copyright, Paramount Pictures Corporation, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Copyright, Paramount Pictures Corporation, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Copyright, Paramount Pictures Corporation, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Copyright, Paramount Pictures Corporation, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Copyright, Paramount Pictures Corporation, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS
Featuring Micah AbbeyDonatello (voice)
Shamon Brown Jr.Michelangelo (voice)
Nicolas CantuLeonardo (voice)
Brady NoonRaphael (voice)
Ayo EdebiriApril O’Neil (voice)
Maya RudolphCynthia Utrom (voice)
John CenaRocksteady (voice)
Seth RogenBebop (voice)
Rose ByrneLeatherhead (voice)
Jackie ChanSplinter (voice)
Ice CubeSuperfly (voice)
Paul RuddMondo Gecko (voice)
Post Malone (Austin Post) … Ray Fillet (voice)
Natasia Demetriou … Wingnut (voice)
Giancarlo Esposito … Baxter Stockman (voice)
See all »
Director Jeff Rowe
Kyler Spears
Producer Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Point Grey Pictures
See all »
Distributor Distributor: Paramount Pictures Corporation. Trademark logo.Paramount Pictures Corporation, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS

The crime-fighting turtles are back on the big screen and critics as well as moviegoers saying “cowabunga” over “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.”

But media-savvy families would be wise to say “cowa be careful” regarding the animated reboot’s questionable content, despite its misleading PG rating.

Featuring cool animation (think Spider Verse style) that evoke a claymation feel at times, the action-packed movie was entertaining, with some funny dialogue and clever pop culture references. The film also espouses working together, the importance of family, bravery, opposing evil at all cost, and not repaying those who persecute you.

Unfortunately, the latest TMNT film also features unnecessary course language as well as many times God’s name is used in vain, gross humor, dark content and intense violence plus woke content that belongs in the sewer.

Speaking of the sewer, the movie begins with a scientist dumping strange green ooze into the New York City sewer in order to keep the mutant formula from a top secret military group that wants to weaponize the chemicals.

The scientist intentionally infects his large pet mutant fly (who becomes Superfly and is voiced by Ice Cube) as well as the other animals in his lab with the ooze. He then dumps the rest down the sewer and it also gets on his pet rat, Splinter (Jackie Chan).

Splinter also sees the ooze get onto four baby turtles in the sewer, so he gathers them and raises them as his own children, with the ooze turning all those infected into humanoid forms. Additionally, Splinter trains the siblings in ninjitsu.

After 15 years of being sheltered from the human world in the sewers, the four turtle brothers Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu), Raphael (Brady Noon), Donatello (Micah Abbey), and Michelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr.) set out for the surface in hopes of beeing accepted as normal teenagers when their new friend and aspiring reporter April O’Neil (Ayo Edebiri), helps them take on a notorious crime syndicate led by Superfly and his gang of mutants.

April accidentally convinces them that in order to be accepted they must become heroes by helping to take down Superfly, who is bent on destroying all humans as revenge for the death of his scientist owner.

Despite humans seeing mutants as freaks and monsters, the foursome will do all they can to protect people, although Splinter disagrees.

Because he was persecuted by humans, the turtles’ adoptive rat father has always taught the boys: “Humans are the demon scum of the earth; avoid them, don’t say ‘hi.’ They lust to murder that which is different from them; to interact with them is to die.”

Some heavy stuff for a PG-rated animated flick, right?

A dad who watched “Mutant Mayhem” with his boys (aged 7 and 11) during my screening perhaps had some interesting and spot-on observations:

”My boys and I did find the movie enjoyable, which was funny at times and action packed. It had a clever plot, although sometimes it seemed a little erratic or jumbled.

The PG rating is a bit confusing for me as there were numerous curse words. It had a ton of violence and God’s name was used in vain quite often. The one character Bepop (Seth Rogen) had a large nipple ring that was shown close up a few times. It was a little weird and uncomfortable for a kid’s movie. Having to explain that to my 7-year-old was interesting. That was not something my parents had to explain to me when I was watching TMNT as a child.

The woke component is off the charts. It seemed to me they made Splinter into a lonely, loser, single dad, which I did not appreciate. Why do Hollywood and the media feel it necessary to portray the average American dad as a lonely, loser, clueless person? It is sad and it showed up again in this movie. They refused to call him “Master” as some in the woke community call that word racist.

There was a scene in the high school where on the bulletin board you clearly see multiple posters, including “LGBTQ+ History Month” and “Pride Awareness” flyers as well as a transgender flag.”

Indeed, the Bible is clear on much of the content that he brought up.

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” —Matthew 18:6

“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” —Ephesians 5:4

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” —Isaiah 5:20

Bottom-line: The change of making the turtles act and sound like actual teens was a stroke of genius, as it made the film fresh, but all of the non-family-friendly content (disguised in the PG rating) was the dumbest move of all.

Content Watch

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” is rated PG for sequences of violence and action, language and impolite material. Leonardo speaks of getting a girlfriend. Some of the turtles mention that they “don’t even have nipples.” Raphael talks about how he dreams of violence every night. There are scenes of moderate comic violence that may be intense for some viewers. April vomits during news interviews because she is very nervous. Superfly is said to have killed several people, but it is not depicted on screen. There is a scene where the turtles fight a gang of bad guys in an auto chop shop to retrieve April’s electric scooter. The violence may be comic in nature, but it could be considered pretty intense for some younger viewers.

Some of the mutants like Superfly, Rockstedy, Leatherhead, Wingnut and Bebop may frighten some young viewers. When the mutants try to fit in, the humans are all frightened and call them “monsters.”

Superfly swears the most in the movie, mainly near the end. There are uses of “Suck,” “G*d,” “J*sus,” “Dear L*rd,” “Cr*p,” “P*ss,” “H*ll,” and “D*mn.”

Splinter is shown to be attracted to and carrying on a romantic relationship with a mutant cockroach. They are shown kissing very passionately, which grosses out his turtles, and is also meant to be comedic and disgusting.

In a scene at an outdoor theater, a random adult is seen chugging a drink while being encouraged by his peer. It is not made clear whether the beverage is alcoholic or not.

  • Violence: Heavy
  • Wokeism: Heavy
  • Language: Moderately Heavy
  • Sex: Moderately Heavy
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Minor
  • Nudity: None
  • Occult: None

Learn about DISCERNMENT—wisdom in making personal entertainment decisions

cinema tickets. ©  Alexey SmirnovEvery time you buy a movie ticket or buy or rent a video you are in effect casting a vote telling Hollywood, “I’ll pay for that. That’s what I want.” Read our article

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—As a lifelong Ninja Turtles fan. I was very impressed with “Mutant Mayhem” While for me personally, nothing in the Franchise can ever compare to the greatness and cultural zeitgeist of the 1987-1996 TMNT Cartoon Series. Mutant Mayhem was fun, action packed, filled with brilliant pop culture references, beautiful computer animation, different in aesthetic yet equal to the 2007 TMNT computer animated film.

The Ninja Turtles in “Mutant Mayhem” displayed their usual noble, honorable, heroic Christian traits as described in the geeksundergrace.com article from August 7, 2014 headlined “The Christian Traits of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” by Shawn Bain. I eagerly anticipate the sequel to Mutant Mayhem.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Jeff Andrew Winters, age 43 (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Secular Movie Critics
…This reboot rocks… The fight scenes are remarkably exhilarating and spontaneous for being, well, animated. And all of the jokes — written by Rowe, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, among others — are truly very funny and witty while still making sense for this vision of the five boroughs. They’re spoken by a genuine, young cast, who sound like they’re having a party after school instead of the usual stiff, one-day-in-the-studio delivery. …[3½/4]
Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post
…Gross, gloomy franchise reboot… Angst-ridden heroes get lost amidst pop culture references, endless slime… The major difference here between the source material, the multiple prior film adaptations and the animated series is that now the title characters are bummed out by their existence. You read that right…
Barry Wurst, Hollywood in TOTO
…Considering Rogen’s participation as both a writer and actor, it’s surprising that Mutant Mayhem plays it so safe, not merely in terms of plot but with regards to its comedy. …a kiddish tone isn’t the death knell for the film, and its graphic-novel flair is intermittently enlivening. …
Nick Schager, The Daily Beast
…A thoroughly endearing movie that’s difficult to dislike, “Teen-Age Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” tackles the basic themes of the characters Eastman and Laird originally instilled in their stories, like acceptance, growing up, or just simply wanting to do the right thing. …At its heart, it’s a story of growing up. Like Spider-Man, the Turtles have that sense of doing the right thing with not just their skills, but their values. It’s that reliance on those basic values that make for a successful super-hero appeal. …
John Kirk, Original-Cin
…packed with teen spirit (in the best way)… In a time when so much of what we consume can feel plastic and cheap and mass-produced, it’s the human touch we come to crave — especially when it leads to something as fun as this.
Liz Shannon Miller, Consequence
…smartly casts actual teenagers as the main characters, makes them pop via a super-cool comic-book visual style and surrounds these familiar heroes in a half shell with a top-notch supporting cast. Best of all, it's the kind of zippy, 99-minute adventure bound to satisfy kids and adults alike in the cinematic doldrums of August. …
Brian Truitt, USA Today
…the most creative adaptation yet… A visual tour de force of hybrid 2D and 3D animation, Mutant Mayhem is not only the most authentically New York version of the Turtles yet, it’s arguably the most inventive. …
Tara Bennett, Paste
…Reboot’s look is fresher than its script… The movie’s mostly just meant to be fun, and that it is, skewing young while giving lifelong fans (including those who grew up on the Turtles) plenty to geek out about. …
Peter Debruge, Variety
A totally radical reboot… it adds a lot of novel wrinkles to the old Ninja Turtles formula. …It’s amazing how much more fun a movie can be when it’s focused on itself and not on referencing other better movies and shows and theme park rides. …
Matt Singer, ScreenCrush