By Dalton Carver
If you’ve poked your head out of your shell recently, you know that reboots are all the rage these days.
Already reinventing the “Transformers” franchise, director/producer Michael Bay continues his work with “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” proving that remakes don’t always bring waterfalls of nostalgia from fans. That isn’t to say that there aren’t trickles, though.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” originated as a comic book series in 1984. As popularity grew, the franchise branched out to cartoons, toys and video games. The pizza-eating, butt-kicking turtles eventually found themselves in a 1990’s live-action feature entitled “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” the most comparable medium to the 2014 release.
The new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is a fast-paced movie that doesn’t portray enough detail on the TMNT universe. It twists up the origin from the 1990 release, which may irk series purists.
The best part is the turtles themselves. Aside from their new, hulked-up appearance, they retain most of their teenage, mutant traits. They’re likable, comical heroes that are similar to their 1990 counterparts.
Leonardo, the blue turtle, is still the morally-acute leader. Raphael, the red turtle, is rebellious and disagreeable, constantly butting heads with Leonardo. Michelangelo still cracks jokes, develops a crush on April O’Neil and craves pizza as the orange turtle. Donatello, however, was created nerdier than the purple turtle was originally portrayed.
Johnny Knoxville stars as the voice of Leonardo, but it just sounds odd. He’s the only one out of the group that the voice doesn’t fit the character.
The Foot clan, the turtles’ adversary, is more like a militarized mercenary group than a clan of skilled ninjas. Guns and grenades are used more than fists and feet.
Master Shredder, the iconic leader of the Foot clan, looks like a small Transformer that displays next to no martial arts talent. The character fails to make the impact that a main villain should. The turtles fail to show many of their ninja techniques either. Their massive size and strength is utilized as the replacement for their lack of martial arts skill.
That being said, the action wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t what someone would expect from turtles trained in the martial arts. It was brute strength over trained technique, which isn’t what TMNT was originally based upon.
Other significant plot holes and absurdities plague the movie like the Foot clan plagues New York City. It’s hard to believe that Splinter, the turtles’ master, learned ninjitsu from a book he found.
Every character, aside from the mutants, is empty and hollow, failing to show much depth, growth or purpose. TMNT’s plot is also remarkably similar to 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” losing points on originality. This should be hard to do, since it’s a movie based on pubescent turtles that know how to use nunchuks.
Overall, producer Michael Bay furthers his reputation of meddling with people’s childhood heroes. The remake failed the fans, tampering with elements that are essential to the TMNT universe. Newcomers might like it for the action, but there are better ways to introduce someone to the wacky ways of the teenage turtles.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is a monument to money and the recent reboot craze, solidifying that many of the re-creations are not a result of passion for the material, but just to show that they can.
Dalton Carver is a senior majoring in communication. You may email him at email@example.com or tweet him @dalty_james.