By Marie Victoria Robertson
Oh man. They’re turtles all right (the “aliens” rumour has been thoroughly debunked, no worries). Once you get past the uncanny valley nature of their new CGI designs, the boys are actually cool as hell. Every Turtle has a unique body shape, facial features, and little touches that go way beyond the coloured masks and trademark weapons. Raphael, always my personal favourite, was a muscled badass. Donatello was the most adorkable he’s ever been. Michelangelo was pure cowabunga. I was only a bit disappointed in Leonardo, but maybe that’s because he was his usual bland self. He tends to fade a bit when contrasted with the strong personalities of the other Turtles. Overall, I loved these guys, and it was great to have so much attention paid to their brotherly interactions. That was always the best part of TMNT for me.
Megan Fox did a passable job. Not as bad as I expected, but not amazing by any means. I didn’t see April in her. I was happy enough to see that, while she wasn’t taking on Foot Clan members solo or anything, she did a decent job of not being a damsel in distress. There was some added backstory of her knowing the Turtles and Splinter when they were still lab animals and rescuing them from the fire, which added a sweet connection.
Be warned that changes were made, especially concerning Splinter and the Shredder. I found this the most disappointing part and it contributed to the thinness of the plot.
Okay, his armour was pretty reminiscent of Michael Bay’s Transformers design, but it didn’t do anything mechanical beyond the arm-claw extensions. Not crazy about the facial design though. The Shredder’s eyes should be visible, damn it! Also not crazy about his backstory changes. Removing his connection to Splinter and the Turtles just makes him look like a random psychotic Japanese man who is fond of fancy armour for his crime sprees. He was a pretty physically menacing villain, I’ll give him that.
Keep an eye out for the sweet flashbacks of Splinter raising his boys. From an action perspective, this is why I love CGI: we get to see how incredibly badass Master Splinter can be. He’s the only one who manages to take on the Shredder in a one-on-one fight.
Oh yeah, katanas and sais go flying and there’s gratuitous martial arts and long scenes of non-stop action, and it is all awesome. I mean, isn’t that kind of the point of a TMNT movie?
So, should you see it? If you’re not a TMNT fan, I’d say skip it. You probably won’t find anything you like about it. But, if you are a TMNT fan? Worth seeing. It’s got everything a TMNT movie should have—the four Turtles in prime form, Splinter, Shredder, April O’Neil, humour, sarcasm, pizza, callbacks to previous movies/comics/series, and all the martial arts action you could want. Radical.
Marie Victoria Robertson is a published speculative fiction writer and playwright, as well as the board president of Jer’s Vision: Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative (www.jersvision.org). When all the other girls wanted to marry Johnny Depp, she wanted to run away with Worf on the Enterprise. She enjoys giant robots, time-travel paradoxes, and forcing her son to watch Futurama.