We don’t have movie passes here at Untied yet, so we have to buy a ticket to see the movies that we review. Sometimes, we’re just not willing to plop down that $11.50 in the name of film criticism. Judging A Book By Its Cover is a discussion as to why we’ve opted not to spend money on a given movie. Today’s topic: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’
Steve: Ninja Turtles is the result of the efforts of Michael Bay’s production company, Nickelodeon, and director Jonathan Liebesman. If you’ve already decided that you don’t want to see it based off of that information, then you and I are on the same page.
Michael Bay is well known for being a shallow director who enjoy blowing things up and slow motion garbage. I don’t have anything bad to say about Nickelodeon, being a cornerstone of my childhood and the primary thing keeping slime manufacturing alive and well in the United States. Liebesman was an unknown factor to me. One quick look at his IMDB page told me everything I needed to know. No, no, this was not the team I wanted making a movie of my beloved Ninja Turtles.
The first trailer horrified me so much that I used terrifying twice in the same paragraph when it rolled out back in March. They gave them noses! Why do turtles have lips!? They look like monsters and I’m scared, hold me.
Sue: Megan Fox! NYC Destruction! Crazy camera! Lens flare!! Wait… is this Transformers with turtles instead of robots? That is what immediately comes to mind watching the trailer for this movie. I’d rather not waste money, time, and my childhood memories of TMNT when I can just suffer through any other Michael Bay movie ever made (excluding The Rock, of course). I understand he’s only a producer on this one, but you can clearly see his influence in the project.
Let me guess the plot via the trailers: Shredder forges an alliance with some powerful NYC businessman set on dominating the world. NYC destruction ensues. The turtles and their master Splinter, are a forgotten mutation experiment that emerge to save the city because it’s their destiny. And guess what, they DO save the city (ignoring that it’s completely demolished in the process)! Cowabunga! Also – Megan Fox stands around looking hot and confused, Will Arnett adds the only funny lines in the movie, there’s an epic Splinter vs Shredder showdown, and the turtles get a pizza to celebrate the win. Cue the Skrillex.
Steve: What the heck is going on with the cast in this movie? Megan Fox is a Michael Bay staple at this point, after they made up from their little spat. This is another example of Will Arnett disappointing me for a paycheck (still love ya GOB). Were you aware that Whoopi Goldberg is in this movie? Tony Shalhoub is apparently voicing Splinter. Then there’s my favorite bit of casting: Johnny Knoxville as the voice of Leonardo. There are two turtles that I could see Knoxville voicing, and the serious leader type isn’t one of them.
What I’d really like to understand is why the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are getting the gritty reboot treatment. Yes, yes, I’m fully aware that the original comics were kind of dark and all that, but this is ultimately about walking, talking turtles that wear masks and fight crime. I don’t need realistic here. I want fun hijinks. I want a talking brain in the belly of some weird human suit. I don’t want the realistic version of the Ninja Turtles. Come on!
Sue: I completely agree! Who is to say that a 2D super fun ninja turtles movie wouldn’t do well? I think kids would really enjoy a movie that paid more homage to the cartoon than Hollywood action, because it would be new and different for them. This is just another example of producers not understanding this concept and simply capitalizing on all the teenagers with their disposable income and thirst for world destruction on the big screen. It’s never about making a quality film, it’s about making money.
And don’t even get me started on remakes and reboots, my blood boils at the subject. I hope TMNT tanks. It already has a 20% quality rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Steve: I feel like it should be tmNT, since they’re too embarrassed to put the “Teenage Mutant” part in big letters on the poster. Radical.