I will admit to dreading this screening, of Paramount’s TMNT: Out of the Shadows, most of the week. Friends went so far as to wish me good luck, and I was completely prepared to be disappointed AGAIN by a reboot of something I loved as a child. But you know what?
It was DAMN fun! Light years better than the first film in the reboot franchise.
You can sort of compare it to when Christopher Nolan decided to go ‘dark and gritty’ with his Batman trilogy, whereas before it was only ‘comic dark’ which at the time wasn’t anything compared to what it is now. For Batman in the ‘modern’ age it worked, for the most part. The first TMNT reboot film attempted to do the Nolan thing, going darker and grittier in textures and lighting, without realizing these four teenage amphibians don’t REALLY translate the best that way.
The problems with 2014’s Michael Bay-tastic produced film from director Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans 2012, Battle Los Angeles) are many, but the main problem was the lack of true heart the characters have always had. Ok, and the casting of Megan-no-emotions-Fox as April O’Neil. But the script didn’t gel, the action in 3D rendering wasn’t smooth, and it left the majority of hardcore turtles fans longing for the simpler times of 1990’s live action heroes in the halfshell.
TMNT: Out Of The Shadows fixes most of the previous film’s issues under the guidance of young director Dave Green, who’s only feature directorial credit before this is the heartwarming children’s film Earth To Echo. The script also was much much better, less screen time for Fox would have been ideal, especially with the whole school girl quickchange moment in Grand Central Station that had ABSOLUTELY NO GODDAMN PURPOSE.
Sorry, sorry, I promised myself I wouldn’t yell about it. More good things about the movie:
Ok, Bebop and Rocksteady. For fans of the cartoon, we KNOW these guys, we LOVE these guys. The announcement of their addition into the sequel was exciting, and I was really happy with how they looked and were used in the action sequences.
The Turtle Van (Garbage Truck)! Complete with launchable manhole covers and giant nunchuck arms. It was like seeing one of my favorite toys coming to life, because seriously that van toy was AWESOME when I was 8.
Krang. I wasn’t sure how they’d bring him in, and despite the Avengers/Chitauri portal thing over the skyscrapers of Manhattan, he served well as the ‘big bad’ after putting The Shredder on ice. But still not sure whether it’s more likely to be recycled images from Doctor Who or Star Trek: Generations in place of the ‘portal ribbon’.
Casey Jones. Arrow‘s Stephen Amell was an interesting choice, and I feel he probably was the least well used actor in the film. We know he’s capable of strong scene work, but perhaps in an effort to keep the action going, his presence was limited to what the character is good at; hockey.
In reality, it felt more like what a reboot of a much beloved childhood franchise SHOULD be, letting the audience know that ‘hey, we love this thing too’. Mikey’s quips will make you laugh, Donnie’s Venkmenesque goggles will make you think Ghostbusters (as will the end shot on top of the Statue of Liberty), Raph and Leo do their best to lead and set good examples. If TMNT 2: Secret of the Ooze is your jam, then this is the reboot for you.
SCORE: 7 OUT OF 10, 1 point added for really good 3D
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows opens worldwide on June 3rd, 2016.