TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS:
A COWABUNGA IMPROVEMENT OVER ITS PREDECESSOR, AND CAPTURES THE SILLINESS OF THE HEROES IN A HALFSHELL!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B- (3 stars)
PARAMOUNT PICTURES AND NICKELODEON MOVIES
Donatello (left), Michelangelo (bottom left), Raphael (right), and Leonardo (bottom right) ready to kick some “Shell” again in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Everyone’s favorite Heroes in a Halfshell are back in the sequel to the 2014 reboot of the successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film franchise, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Michael Bay (The Rock, Transformers franchise, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi) returns as producer and in the director’s chair this time is Dave Green (Earth to Echo) and Megan Fox (Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Friends with Kids) returns as news reporter, April O’Neil and Will Arnett (Arrested Development, Blades of Glory, The Lego Movie) as her quirky former cameraman, Vern Fenwick.
The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (the 2014 reboot) was better than what it had the right to be. However, I still had some major problems with the movie like too much focus on William Fitchner’s Eric Sacks character and lacking the silliness that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons and movies were known for, then again it was a Michael Bay production.
I was expecting something a lot worse though, like a Turtle version of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, however the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie I wanted to see is a movie that delivers on fan-service and lots of goofy Turtle moments, not saying the first film didn’t have silly moments, but not as many to consider it Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles style of silly, it was trying to be a Michael Bay production first, then a Turtles movie.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows however is the movie I wanted to see when I first heard a new TMNT movie was in development. No I still don’t think the CG is nearly as impressive as Jim Henson’s animatronic costumes and puppets from the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and its 1991 sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, but this movie managed to bring back everyone’s favorite characters from the 2014 film, added in the Turtle Van, and brought in fan favorites from the cartoons such as Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry-Madea franchise, Star Trek, Gone Girl), Casey Jones (Stephen Amell-Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow), Bebop (voiced by Gary Anthony Williams-Friday After Next, Soul Plane, The Boondocks), Rocksteady (voiced by Sheamus-Royal Pains, The Escapist, Scooby-Doo and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon), and Krang (voiced by Brad Garrett-Night at the Museum 1 and 2, Ratatouille, Tangled).
After the defeat of their arch nemesis, The Shredder (Brian Tee-The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, The Wolverine, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) we find the Turtles, genius, Donatello (voiced by Jeremy Howard-How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Men in Black II, Breaking Bad), child at heart, Michelangelo (voiced by Noel Fisher-X-Men: Evolution, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2, Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem), aggressive, Raphael (voiced by Alan Ritchson-Justice League: The New Frontier, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Lazer Team), and leader, Leonardo (voiced by newcomer Pete Ploszek, replacing Johnny Knoxville) keeping New York City safe while moving in the shadows and disappearing back into the sewers. No citizens besides April O’Neil has ever seen the Turtles in the flesh and Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael think they won’t fit in with humans or be accepted into society.
The Turtles learn that scientist, Baxter Stockman is helping the Foot Clan break The Shredder out of police custody and plan to experiment on dim-witted prison inmates, Bebop and Rocksteady and turn them into a rhinoceros and a warthog to destroy the Turtles. April and the Turtles team up with vigilante, Casey Jones to stop The Shredder, Bebop, and Rocksteady from opening a portal into another dimension for villainous brain alien, Krang to destroy all of mankind with his superweapon, the Technodrome.
Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is an improvement over its predecessor, the film is thoroughly enjoyable and every minute of the film screams Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Ninja action, silliness, pizza eating, and pop culture references, everything that’s been associated with the Ninja Turtles is here and there’s a lot goofier fun here than in the first film.
The character models on the Turtles and their master Splinter (voiced by Tony Shalhoub-Monk, Spy Kids, Pain & Gain) look a lot better in this film than in the first, their faces are less “Rammed into a Wall” but there’s no competition with the Jim Henson puppets from the early films. Also the Turtles are developed better as characters, Michelangelo and Raphael apparently want to become human so they can be accepted in society after discovering a new mutation ooze, Raphael is supposedly afraid of heights (Which is a breath of fresh air), and all throughout the action scenes, the Turtles are having fun battling the bad guys, one-liners, puns, pop cultural references, and all.
The action scenes and cinematography scream Michael Bay, but surprisingly it’s in a movie where you almost don’t care, don’t get me wrong there’s a lot of dumb flashy explosions, shaky cam, and slow motion, but the director keeps him more restrained here. Also the climax against Krang is a lot of fun and it’s a different kind of Michael Bay action scene, honestly I want a similar final battle in Michael Bay’s Transformers: The Last Knight.
Really, your enjoyment of this film all depends on how you like your Turtles and if you’re a fan to begin with. If you’re a fan of any of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, cartoons, or movies, you’ll enjoy it, but if you’re not a fan of Turtles, don’t even try, it’ll be too stupid for you.
TURTLE POWER INDEED!