Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

August 11, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014 (Matt’s Take)

BEFUDDLED

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles –Befuddled

I consider myself pretty leveled headed and reasonably arbitrary when it comes to film, TV, and pretty much anything else. I give most anything a chance and I try to watch anything for the purpose of having my say in an argument. The worst thing you can run into is a conversation with someone who one, doesn’t have frame of reference of a topic, and two, simply tries to flame you into an argument and put you on the defensive. It’s common for these two things to happen in this day and age of Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, etc. I just wanted to preface all of this before I get into this review of THIS GENERATION’S “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” produced (not directed people) by the grand auteur Michael Bay. It’s a befuddling experience in nostalgia, childhood, and finding my place in the world.
“Turtles” is the origin story of everyone’s favorite heroes in a half shell, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo. In this adventure they are tasked with stopping The Shredder and politico Eric Sacks from destroying New York City. With the help of April O’Neil and cameraman/news van driver Vernon Fenwick, the turtles have to save the day while finding out about their past. This is the basic plot, if I was to tell you anymore, I’d only confuse you and probably myself.
Where does one start with this film. My first thought when watching this was “did I just miss the first part of the movie?” I literally thought I was dropped into the middle of a film. There was no character development and characters are shown as you should already known who they are. As a life-long Turtle fan it’s a good thing I didn’t need to know who everyone was or I would have been lost. However, even with knowing who most of these characters are, this new adventure is befuddling and the way most of the characters are portrayed is simply, sad.
One of the main arguments that most fans made was the new look of the Turtles. After watching the film, that was something that really didn’t bother me, and honestly, it never bothered me in the first place. Despite the departure from the comic book, cartoon, and original film, you have to know what mutation does to something(s). When something is mutated things change from the molecular level and not everything will look the same. Bottom line, I like the look of the new Turtles. I also liked the look of Splinter, and from it’s base form, I liked the look of the new Shredder suit. I understand the need to upgrade things from an aesthetic standpoint, but this brings me to how characters are portrayed.
The main gripe about these Turtles is their likeability. I honestly didn’t like them. Sure, if you’re a kid you might like the fart jokes, and their rocket skateboards or nerd glasses, since “geek chic” isn’t something going away anytime soon. Just an aside, and to educate those less informed, the “geek” derives from people in the old circus sideshows that would bite the heads off of chickens. Just putting that out there. But aside from Raphael, who I think they kept as close to the comic, TV, and film versions, I just didn’t like the personalities, especially Michelangelo. His dialogue was irritating and it made him seem like a douche-bag teenager with ADD, and this brings me to his “relationship” with April O’Neil, played by Megan Fox. Where does one begin here. Unlike Judith Hoag, or even Paige Turco, Fox provides nothing of substance or memorability to one of the key figures in Turtle history. Her blank stare and vapid dialogue are hard to really get past, and I can only wonder what could have been with another actress in that role. First, give me a REAL redhead; Anna Kendrick would have been great in this role, almost perfect if you ask me, but of course I’m partial to Ms. Kendrick. Back to the dialogue. There was an air of weird stalker/rapeiness that seemed to permeate off of Mikey. Yes, he’s a teenager and his turtle hormones are running wild, but wow was it uncomfortable. 

Now, I don’t want to make this a bash-fest, because there were scenes that I really liked about this film. Contrary to popular belief, I thought the re-imagining of the Turtles’ origin was actually pretty interesting. It kept the overall spirit, but it added an extra wrinkle that will likely come into play if they decide to keep this franchise going, which I’m sure they will. Two, like I said before, I liked Raphael. I thought they made him a bad-ass and he really was he backbone of the film. Donatello wasn’t bad either, and him being my favorite Turtle, I thought it was an interesting take, but I think they played up the nerd angle a little too hard, and this is coming from a nerd. Finally, I loved the snow chase that closes the second act of the film. It looked great and showed something the film lacked a lot of; the Turtles acting like a team. It was an engrossing sequence and it made me forget about much of the things that bothered me up to that point. But, low and beyond, to take me out of the zone, we get a shot of Megan Fox’s ass. I get it, and I understand why it’s in this film, but come on…..

Overall, I’m not the biggest fan of this version of my beloved Ninja Turtles, but I can see why some people will love it and will call it THEIR TMNT, just like I still consider Tim Burton’s “Batman” as MY “Batman,” and this generation will consider Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” THEIR Batman. If anything, after seeing this version of TMNT it re-affirms my love for the 1980s cartoon and the film from 1990. See this new version of the “Turtles” at your own risk.

Fun Fact: Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird created the “Turtles” to poke fun at some of the biggest comic books of the 1980’s including Frank Miller’s run of “Daredevil.”

August 4, 2014

Early Returns: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Justin’s Take)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ludicrous
101mins – Action/Adventure – 2014

Why Ludicrous? Because Ludicrous: So foolish, unreasonable, or out of place as to be amusing; ridiculous.
That sums up this film perfectly.

Just because Turtles can talk and are ninja’s, doesn’t mean there are THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

After the film begins with a somewhat enjoyable animated prologue that explains where the turtles come from, things begin to go down hill.

Unless your 6, then this film is amazing in every aspect and the horrific Transformers films are nothing but masterpieces. Sadly in those kids minds God is spelled Bay… Ugh.

If your not 6 and grew up with the birth of the greatness that is the Turtles then this film will leave a tear down your cheek, not a happy one.  That’s because that great time known as my childhood of Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is now dead. My reviewing partner and Transformers Gen. 1 fan DJ Valentine was right 4 years ago when he said, “Bay killed my childhood now he’s coming after yours.” It’s over and honestly if you want to believe those days are right around the corner again then Do Not Watch this film. Keep those happy thoughts of yesterday alive and well.

Before I get into things let me say, this is not the same TMNT I watched grow as I grew myself. Turtles of those days where fun, in words and looks. This movie kills that thought process and reimagines them as ugly hulks and not those cute Turtles in a half shell. This is a rebirth for a new generation. My generation is given a door. A door with crappy nods and abuse from the silver screen. The new generation of Turtles amazes me. They had a perfect formula that invited all ages to come and enjoy; yet they changed that formula for a version that, in my mind, is darker and unfriendly toward kids. I’m a guy who doesn’t give a crap about anything. Nothing will offend me and I love to curse. But when Michelangelo talks about Turtles getting aroused then I believe we crossed a line that didn’t need to be crossed. I would think we would of made a friendlier form of Turtles and not these horny hulk-like creatures.

There’s that word again, hulk. Yes the Turtles are horrible looking and again I wonder why this is the way they went. Oh yeah Bay, that’s right. The Hitler of destroying childhoods, yes he didn’t direct this film, but he did have input. A lot of input. His fingerprints are all over the place with over complicated fighting, over the top CGI, comedy that feels forced and over sexualizing the whole film. Damn there it is again! I feel like an old guy angry about where this film went and not where it should go…and I’m not that guy. I live in a R rated world, I mean listen to our podcasts, we do not hold back. But this is the Turtles. They’re better than this.

This film should have a tagline like, Plot holes galore!

There is a scene with Whoopi Goldberg (April’s Editor) laughing April out of the station due to her attempt to break the story of the Turtles. Here’s the kicker, she took a photo with her phone, and why she doesn’t show her that will make you run out of the theater alone. I mean if she wanted to break from the crappy exercise pieces she does, you’d think she’d show the photo. Don’t worry I’m not telling you everything.  There is more about Blood and Fire, but I’ll let you see that for yourself. The connection of April to the Turtles is also stupid.  Now they are her childhood pets. There that’s it, oh wait this is Bay, there is much more to that which will leave your head shaking.

Even though Megan Fox wasn’t as bad as Megan Fox usually is I still believe she wasn’t cast right. She killed the film for me, even before seeing it. I hated the idea of her being used mostly for her looks, but that’s how Bay is. There are other more qualified and prettier actresses out there that could have easily fit better. That said, she wasn’t that bad. However, there are worse choices in this film. The Turtles themselves aren’t what I expected. The voices are horrible. Michelangelo might have been the best but his dialogue is the worst. Never thought I’d want a Turtle to shut up more. Leonardo played by Jonny Knoxville (coming in late to replace the original Pete Ploszek) just felt lazy. Donatello was okay, though again bad dialogue comes into play, which hinders it. Raphael’s voice just doesn’t work for me. Being played by Smallville’s Aquaman, The hotheaded Raphael seemed kind of quiet and soft-spoken. I just didn’t feel it. Then again, I like my Turtles with Brooklyn accents and that’s just thrown away here.

If they can’t get the Turtles right I’m not even going to get into Shredder. I did like the way the Foot Clan looked, so that’s something. Will Arnett is Will Arnett. William Fichtner plays a William Fichtner scientist. Really wish there was more to say about ’em, but there isn’t.

After this reboot, the idea of a sequel seems extremely unappealing. I’m going to bet we get one, which sadness me. I honestly think this film will bomb. I’ve been very good at guessing which films would fail and which ones would succeed. But in a world where Transformers 4: Age of Extinction can be the first film of 2014 to rake in $1 billion, nothing makes sense anymore.

I feel I should say goodbye to the memory of my beloved Turtles for good.  However I’m lucky that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lives on with Nickelodeon. It’s not the greatest but it’s been getting very good lately. If you would like for your child to get into TMNT, give them that option and skip the ludicrous movie that has nothing to do with those hero’s in a half shell.

So, for now I’m going to raise my hand in defiance of this forgone conclusion failure of a film and yell, “Turtle Power!

May 3, 2014

Simplistic Sneak Peek Ep. 4

On this installment of Simplistic Sneak Peek, Matthew, Justin and DJ take a look at trailers for upcoming television shows including Jack Bauer’s 24 return, Damon Lindeloff’s HBO show Leftovers, and Michael Bay’s…(sigh)…new TNT show The Last Ship.  And just for kicks, the boys keep it on a Michael Bay tip and look at the 2nd trailer for the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.  I got a “tip” for Michael Bay…stay away from Thundercats, Gargoyles, and Centurions if you know what’s good for you, nostalgia killer.  Anyway, you can check out the links to these trailers below if you haven’t seen them, then click the video above to see Matthew, Justin, and DJ’s thoughts about them.

 24: Live Another Day Trailer

The Leftovers Trailer

The Last Ship Trailer

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Trailer #2

March 30, 2014

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast: March 2014 Edition

Here’s a drinking game.  Take a shot every time the boys mention Michael Bay’s new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.  No, wait…you’ll be dead in like 10 minutes.  Okay, take a shot every time they insult Michael Bay’s new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.  No, no, you’ll be dead in about the same amount of time.  Neal DaSouza fills in for an ailing Matthew Stewart and helps discuss various members of the cinematic animal kingdom.  From Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to Alvin And The Chipmunks, to something called Rastamouse.  (And you thought anthropomorphic turtles was disturbing.)  The boys also air more dirty laundry in their most embarrassing segment, Simply Ashamed, and each pick their favorite non-Marvel Studios Marvel movie.  I got my fingers crossed for Howard The Duck.  All that and more on the March edition of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast.

 Show Notes:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Trailer
X-Men Days Of Future Past Trailer
Constantine Promotional Picture
Ben McKenzie As James Gordon
Alvin And The Chipmunks Animated Movie
Rainbow Bright The Movie
Dragnet Rap Song
Don’t Be A Menace Cop Scene With Bernie Mac
Rasta Mouse

Music Notes:
Birds & Brass By Sort Of Soul
Its A Shame Remix By The Spinners
Lawyers, Guns, And Money By Warren Zevon
The Best By Tina Turner


FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.
Click HERE to listen to podcast

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