If you’re under 40, you probably watched at least some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles growing up. Since 1987, it’s been on the air in some form or another for all but six years in total. It is a beloved franchise with a long and storied history, so the film that just came out, directed by Jonathan Liebesman, had a lot to live up to. It does not succeed.
For starters, somebody needs to tell Michael Bay that bigger is not always better. Granted he didn’t direct the picture, but he was a producer and his signature is scrawled all over it. Giant swooping shots over a city, skyscrapers falling over, unusual spinning camera movement during all the CGI fight scenes and they turned Shredder, the Turtles’ arch-nemesis, into a Transformer. It’s just not the place for it though, this is supposed to be a kids movie, but it watches much more like an action blockbuster. Any child under ten would be terrified by this film but any child over ten would find the simplicity of the plot and the dialogue borderline insulting.
Speaking of terrifying, let’s talk about the turtles. They are grotesque. Awkward, slightly slimy lumps that look as though they shouldn’t even be able to walk let alone, you know, ninja. Now, making them ugly isn’t really the issue. They’re supposed to be ugly, it’s a good message, heroes who are outcast and persecuted because of how they look. The problem is it’s just not believable that these guys could move like they have to. The non-turtle lead is played by Megan Fox, who somehow manages to be the least human looking character in the film. Her performance is unsurprisingly bland, as it seems she hasn’t yet mastered the art of talking while she does anything else at all. To be fair, the writing is so bland and stilted it’s hard to imagine anybody actually acting well in this film, the most you could hope for is acceptable.
Overall, this is a really bad picture. Children won’t like it, there are no clever hidden jokes for the adults and anyone who watched the TV show growing up definitely won’t like it. Just don’t go and see it. Just don’t. Please. For you.