In all honesty this movie is somewhat lacking and merely comes across as a Saturday cartoon series that has been stuck together. It never really feels like a proper movie and the lame plot doesn't really help. Its all to do with trying to conquer the world with monsters from another dimension by a group of elite warriors from 3000 years prior that had been turned to stone. Their immortal leader wants to stop them and break the curse that makes him and his warriors immortal. On and along the way the Foot Clan join forces with the Turtles.
It all kicks off well enough, the initial sequence of all four Turtles bounding across the rooftops at night is excellent and really gets you in the mood for some Turtle goodness. That is the kind of visual sequence which wets your appetite for this classic franchise and they captured it perfectly but briefly. The Turtles look agile, firm and well rounded (a good weight to them), they do also have a slight darkness to them, they haven't been totally watered down. Myself I would have preferred them to be much meaner looking but we all knew that wasn't gonna happen.
The only thing I noticed was the shape of the Turtles heads seemed a bit squashed. This made their upper lip/snout stick out a bit too far if you ask me, gave their heads a motorcycle helmet type shape. The other thing I didn't like was the guy voicing Leo, hated that voice, just sounds like some pretty boy pop idol voice, there's nothing quirky about it, no character.
Another problem I have is the fact the Turtles look good but everybody else doesn't. All the human characters just look like cartoons, the old Saturday morning cartoon issue again. Splinter looks reasonable but maybe too weak looking? none of the other characters really seem to have the right weight to them like the four main stars, this shatters the grown up approach to the film, any sense of graphic novel realism.
The same can be said for the CGI in general, backgrounds, cityscape's, vehicles, buildings etc...one minute the movie looks quite dark and brooding, touching on that graphic novel style we all wanna see. The next minute it looks like a damn cartoon! its as though the animators have been reined in, stopped from getting too carried away with creating an adult Turtles film which they know we all really wanna see lets be honest.
Add to that the plot feels more like something that would suit Hellboy rather than the Turtles. The flashback sequence explaining the ancient warriors is a great little moment but it just doesn't fit this franchise if you ask me. The monsters also look like creations from a Hellboy movie, nice designs I might add. This is the problem for the Turtles franchise, you can't have them constantly fighting Shredder yet they don't really have anyone else to battle who is popular or well known.
The best part of the film is easily the sequence where Leo fights Raph on the rooftops in the rain. This one sequence shows exactly what can be achieved and what everybody wanted to see, more grit. Not only did this sequence look awesome but it gave us a hint of proper characterization, something to get your teeth into, had it been aimed toward adults it would have been even better. There comes a time when you know the Turtles need to swear...and it would be bitchin'.
Looking back at this its disappointing, its not like I didn't expect it to be for kids, saw it coming a mile away, but its still such a shame. This movie clearly shows us glimpses of how cool a dark adult animated Turtles flick could be, the evidence is there to be seen, if only they could be true to a franchise.
This TMNT installment did a lot of things right, for one the tension between Ralph and Leo? Beautiful. In fact the drama between the brothers was probably the highlight of the film that all previous installments failed to achieve. Secondly? Thank god they got rid of those clunky live-action suits. As a kid it always bugged me how they never moved like ninjas in the previous movies, it made the action anything but fun. Finally the art direction, I love the design of the turtles and how they're not just a derivative of the live action look; very sleek and stylized.
With all that said it makes you wonder why this warrants 34% on RT, well, it's the witless outdated humor for one. Michaelangelo is a goof-ball but he's rarely funny and the gags/one-liners sing the same tone throughout the movie.
Then there's the premise. It's not necessarily bad in the sense of child-media. Magical immortal warriors that want to conquer the world? Sure I've seen similar ideas that kids gobble up in an instant but I guess that's the problem here, it just doesn't click with enough complexities and maturity that older fans and critics are probably looking for.
All in all, a good ride for a TMNT movie, it just spirals into senseless stupidity in the final act that you should really just watch for the action sequences. The story leaves much to be desired, hopefully they'll remedy that situation next time around.
I kind of wish April O'niel didnt whip out a sword of her own and Casey Jones did not lose some of his attitude and become a clutz at points but, whatever. It was still good!