Movie Review

Maniac Grade: C-

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May 07, 2007

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Lets be honest, since the trailer hit awhile back for this CGI action flick, many people where a bit annoyed with the premise. Some thought it would be darker and others thought that the movie would have a great villian. Seriously, the trailer was a let down both story-wise and visually. Many embraced the CGI concept, myself excluded. When I saw the trailer I felt a bit let down, I could look past the CGI due to my love for CGI. Sadly, the movie was a bit of a letdown as well, but without a few glimmers of hope.

First, lets start with the subject at hand. TMNT is a continuation of the last three live-action movies. There is a great scene at the end of the movie where Splinter puts up a souvenir from the battle that just insued. Along with this you see Shredder's helment, the cracked container that held the Ooze and the magical scepter that transported our reptilian friends to ancient Japan. Speaking of portals and time. TMNT sort of rips of TMNT III as it has a general feel of acient times.

As the movie starts we hear it is being narrated and telling us a story of how a warrior and his family opened a gate to another world and 13 monsters came out and reaked havoc on the earth. Then we find Leo in Central America trying to train himself to be a better leader per Splinters request.  April, who is no longer a reporter and is now Raider? finding artifacts....actually large statues for a man named Max Winters who wants them so he can awaken them to catch the 13 montsters that wreak havoc on the world (yet no one hears of them until the Turtles unite) Anyways, Leo save a small village from a ruthless tyrant and April using her reporting skills tracks leo down. April then tells Leo that the other turtles are lost without him and we get a nice and humerous montage of what they have been up too and how they all had different lives. Of course Leo coming back would reunite them. One thing that bothered me with this montage is that it reminded me a lot of Ghostbusters II and how they had different things going on and then were reunited as well. Anyways Max Winters is betrayed by the statues (which is his own family resurrected.) because they do not want to be mortal. The Foot clan is in the movie as hired help for Max Winters. Max Winters is not the villian in this movie, and neither are the foot. The Four Statue men and woman are along with the 13 montsters. Kind of. Of COurse the Turtles save the day and we are in fr a sequel due to  the leader of the foot, Karai stating that someone from the turtles past will return shortly, obviously meaning Shredder. I am sure EVERYONE saw this coming because I sure did.

There are many questions regarding this movie, why do we have to go through the Leo and Raph dispute again? We saw this in the first one. Why revisit this? How can monsters be roaming NY city for 3000 years with no one knowing and all 13 monsters are in NY and they are only coming out when the Turtles are coming out of semi-retirement? Did I miss something or was the small monster that fights Raph in the diner not the 13th monster? They talked about not getting the 13th monster so they could be immortal and then we see the small monster Raph fights. then at the end of the movie we see a huge monster they have to find in order to break the "curse". How can ONE Stone soldiers easily defeat a monster the turtles could barely fight and yet cannot breakthrough a door? A door attached to a wood frame? And how could Casey and Raph keep the door closed? If Max Winters has lived in NY how does he not know of the Ninja Turtles? So on and so forth.

Overall the movie lacked in many things. II have to get to the CGI. To me, it was horrendous at times and then ok at times. Honestly, this movie should have been a live action movie. The jungle scene with leo hiding would have been awesome if it were live action. The movie just felt so cartoonish and well, poorly conceived at times. It had a lot of pontential, but there was a huge lacking of imagination. The story would have worked better if Max Winters (who is over 3000 years old) was fighting the monsters and protecting earth and was tiring of this and wanted them banished and wanted to be released from his prison of immortality. Not have 13 monsters roaming earth and yet no one knows. Also, have glimpse of shredder. something like Shredder telling Karai that she has done well and it is time for him to reclaim NY city, then the movie ends.

The movie had great moments as well. The scene I spoke of earlier with the souvenirs is great. Casey Jones and April live together, Mikey snoring and exhaling 'dude'. the movie had some good morals and some nice humor. The movie was not the worse but it is by no means a winner. I still think live-action is the way to go. CGI is great, but leave it to the pros like Pixar, Blue Sky and Dreamworks. It is hard for me to look past some of the overlooked sequences (there is a scene when Raph fights the small monster in the diner, the fridge falls on the small monster and then bursts out through the back, yet there is no hole. Attention to detail means attention to something you care about. It it sad when it is overlooked, goofs are one thing....but how can you miss that?)

If you want a good Turtles movie watch the originals, even the III. this movie is more of a TV special movie. Nothing about this movie said GREAT. It said "Hey, just checking in, but I gotta go. Later."

Click here to read the staff review by Mania.


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Merin 3/25/2007 8:36:19 PM
Huh. I liked it considerably more than you did, it would seem. I did really like the first live action film, but I didn't like the second at all and refused to watch the third. I can't really comment on the "rehashing" as it didn't feel like that to me. As for better as live action, I have to disagree. I think more of the super-hero films would be better animated or CGI as, well, most of the action needs to be anyway. My only real complaints with this film was I wish the action was a bit more violent, and I could have done without the immature humor amongst some of the turtles (but they are teen-agers, so I can let it go.) I'm not knocking anyone for not liking this - like Ghost Rider, I've not read the comics but I do know the history. This seems to fit well the concept. And I liked the "villain" of the story very much, the general, with his commanders turning on him. The opposing image that gave to the turtles coming together was a good foil. I'd give it a B, B . For a family friendly film. If this were trying for an adult audience, and the studio wasn't (the people making the film, apparently, had wanted to but had their hands tied), I'd probably be with you giving it a C.
Merin 3/26/2007 8:01:03 PM
Ok, you asked for more, I'll try to satisfy. I didn't see the third Turtles movie so I can't talk about "ripping off" directly except that I'd argue that traveling back in time to feudal Japan isn't really the same thing as facing off against ancient immortal south american warriors and extra-dimensional monsters in the present time. April changing from a reporter to something more adventuresome feels somewhat natural to me considering all her exposure to what her friends and beau do. My only real complaint about it is that poor SMG seems typecast - either horror protagonist or butt-kicking heroine. Her inclusion in Scooby Doo seemed to turn Daphne into a martial-arts master, and her voicing April seems to have turned April into the Bride from Kill Bill. This character changes probably got SMG considered for the role, not her being in the role changed the characters, but still seems a bit annoying to me. I seriously doubt any writers or directors out there are trying in anyway to rip off Ghostbusters 2, and I bet good money other movies have done similar things prior to GB2. I don't think the monsters were in New York City for 3000 years - the original portal was in South America, and this time the alignment was in New York City is how I saw it - and the monsters were in the wild, possibly hibernating until the new alignment. It wasn't explained well at all, but I made that assumption. I enjoyed Raph and Leo's quarrel, and thought it helped show their characters well to new fans plus it seemed to fit well with the story as it stood (without it, there'd be no Nightwatcher, nor Leo captured, etc.) I, too, was confused by the "three monsters left" and then "don't let him get the last one." I think, in reflection, that they weren't down to just one at the time the stone warriors planned their coup and saying "make sure he doesn't get the last one" just meant to not capture another after 12 were caught. It wasn't shown in the most coherent fashion, and on that point I'm right with you. The door? I assumed the different monsters were of different abilities and strength. The huge ones were REALLY strong, the small one with wings could fly, and so on. Not that big a thing to me, really. I think you meant 13 monsters for 3000 years, not 3000 monsters. We don't know, in that world, that there weren't sightings and reports of the monsters at various corners of the globe. With only 13, they would be hard to prove if they hid and, as I think, hibernated until the portal re-opened. Again, I can suspend my disbelief about this easily. What did I like so much? I LOVED the Max Winters character so much. Not extremely original, and not that deep, but this was a PG family film and he wasn't one-dimensional. I loved the endless supply of foot clan punching dummies! I like Karai alot. Combine those two, the foot were a threat and not a punchline. I loved how the story and the characters felt deeper and more developed than most kiddie / family fair is. The interaction amongst the brothers, and amongst the "villains", were not as ridiculous as this stuff could be. They felt like real characters and not oversimplified archetypes. I loved the CGI. I think it's come a long way from Toy Story. I found the action well done, exciting and not pointless like so many "action" films have been recently (*cough* X3.) I liked the darker, subdued tones, the sewers, the dark city at night, and so on. To add to what I didn't like - the monsters were too "cute" for me some of the character designs (like April) were so stylized that they distracted me from the film (she was nearly as skinny as the real SMG!) personally I am tired of stories where the heroes "save the whole world / universe" (and where the main character is the "chosen one" *sigh*) - why couldn't the Turtles just have saved the city, or the sewers, or just Leo? That's enough for me. -- Is that good enough? :)
theCOLLECTOR 3/27/2007 9:47:48 AM
Merin, this is one of the reasons i respect you. Even though we can completely disagree (ahem X3), you still come across with respect and understanding of what makes a movie great or not great. Glad you looked passed the imperfections to enjoy this movie. I for one could not bear much. You saying the CGI is better than Toy Story baffles me. I thought the CGI is one of the biggest letdown. Seriously, I have seen Xbox 360 games with better CGI (Gears of War, Halo 3), Is there a particular reason why you say Live Action would not have worked? I can visualise so many different scenes that if it were live action, would be unbelievable and audiences would eat it up. Liek I said, there were somethings I loved about it, how they kept the general personality of the Turtles, Don and Mikey were great. Another thing that bothered me.....their hands! Why are they so huge? They are turtles not frogs. I honestly didn't think that the movie was all that dark (speaking of dark, it was failry shocking watching kids go in with their parents to see 300 on a Sunday.) Yes, the Kill Bill April was a bit much and the monsters were something to be desired. Completey agree with saving the world conecept. It gets old. I liked Karai as well, it was interesting having her in the movie. Oh, you have to watch Turtles III, not because it is great, but you have to watch the de-evulation of what was once a great franchise. Yes, I meant 13, I made the proper correction thanks for pointing that out.


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