Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot is simply wrong-headed

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Starring Megan Fox and Will Arnett. Rated PG. Now playing

Everything about this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot is wrong-headed. They made it more about Megan Fox’s character April than about the turtles, who don’t even appear until 20 minutes in. They take the origin story super seriously à la Batman Forever, which sucks the fun out of the over-the-top concept. They even ask us to take April’s ambition to be a serious journalist seriously, as if in 2014 a journalist wouldn’t be grateful just to have a job.

Though logic was never central to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise—these turtles were hatched in a 1984 comic book as a snickering parody of other superheroes—the sloppiness still lets you know Transformers director Michael Bay, here serving as producer, doesn’t give a cowabunga as long as there are enough action scenes and chances to ogle Fox’s butt.

So what about the turtles? They’re… weird. They’re supposed to be innocent, pizza-munching teens who fight crime while living in a sewer with their rat sensei (don’t ask), but in this film they look like overgrown men in Hallowe’en costumes carrying knives while talking like rappers and hitting on frightened women. The four turtles have distinct personalities to go along with their colour-coded eye masks, but they don’t get enough screen time to develop them. The five 12-year-old boys I took with me sure enjoyed the turtles beatboxing in an elevator, though.

The boys also enjoyed the action scenes, especially the one where April, her cameraman (Will Arnett), the turtles, and the bad guys go careening down a snowy mountain in large trucks. That at least had some momentum to it. All the other fight scenes looked like frogs in a blender to me.

The boys proclaimed the movie “awesome!” and then proceeded to talk about everything that’s wrong with it. And that’s why there’ll be a sequel in 2016.

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