Monday, June 6, 2016

Looking at Movies (First Run) - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)

Let's start this off by reminding everyone that I am not a big fan of Michael Boom! 'Splosions! Bay. His directorial body of work is mindless garbage to me, but he seems to be onto something as a producer. Dave Green directed this Turtles movie, and if he doesn't sound familiar to you then he should. Green directed the movie Earth to Echo about that cute little alien robot that people refused to fall in love with. He is used to working with CGI and imaginary characters, and he definitely has more vision when it comes to a story than Michael Pow! 'Splosions! Boom! Bay.

I know it is a bad habit, but I always read other reviews of movies before I make my own review. Sometimes I agree with other reviews, sometimes I don't. But more often than not, I find that some reviewers just miss the point of certain types of movies and they wind up panning a movie for all of the wrong reasons. If you are expecting a cinema masterpiece from a Turtles movie, then you really should not be watching Turtles movies. But if it is a couple of hours of laughs and fun you are looking for, then you came to the right place.

The Turtles themselves have obviously been enhanced thanks to an increased budget and advances in animation technology. These characters are not nearly as disturbing as the characters from the 2014 film. They are more expressive in their actions and their facial expressions, and they come off as warmer and more accessible. The Turtles are also extremely funny in this movie, which always helps.

I like the voice actors they choose for some of the key roles in this movie. It makes sense that the warm and assuring voice of Tony Shalhoub would be Splinter, and it makes even more sense that the chaotic voice of Brad Garrett would be the villain Krang. The Turtles themselves are voiced by actors I haven't heard of yet, but all four of them did an excellent job and their timing throughout the movie was impeccable.

Yes, you can clearly see Buffalo in this movie. The big chase scene takes place on the 33, and it is very easy to recognize our own home despite the fast action. If you are really quick, then you may even notice that the filmmakers did not change our road signs. Which they may have wanted to do because the chase is supposed to occur in New York City. But it was still fun watching a bit of our hometown play a role in a movie that will probably be a huge summer hit.

Now to the bad stuff. This is not the Shredder we all know and hate. This Shredder has been neutered to the point where he isn't really very scary. The Shredder we know has ways of intimidating and frightening people into doing his bidding. This Shredder just kind of walks around and gives the stink eye to people all the time. Shredder isn't scary, he isn't very smart, and he is easily defeated. What a let-down.

The other problem with this movie is that there are so many cliches in it that it did get insulting after a while. The FBI bureau chief who is a real hard-ass when it comes to believing stories about the Turtles, but then goes soft when she finds out just how wonderful they are, and the big, bad alien guy trying to conquer the world have been done a million times and offer nothing new in this movie. But the movie manages to push past its own cliches and deliver a lot of fun.

No, this is not a great cinematic piece of art. But then again, it wasn't supposed to be. This is just a fun movie that makes people of all ages laugh, and delivers on a plot that is easy to follow. Parents should be warned that some of the humor in this movie, especially some of the humor used by the Turtles, is definitely of the adult variety. But the movie is fun, and that is all it was really supposed to be in the first place.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

George N Root III is a movie addict who can tolerate the Turtles. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message to georgenroot3@gmail.com.

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