Friday, 13th April '07
Release of 13 Monsters from Another Dimension and... En Ying's Inner Child
I watched the new TMNT movie today. It's actually not bad! Or, "nubbad", if you must.
*potential spoiler warning*
So to everyone that's been saying that the movie sucked or wasn't good, I ask: what did you really expect? These are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles we're talking about.
Perhaps no longer teenagers in this story (we begin at the point that Shredder, and presumably Krang, have been vanquished, and the turtles have taken up crappy jobs befitting their characters), but still dripping with that sort of teenagerish idealism, belief in teamwork, good triumphs over evil etc.
Expect the usual jibes and mixed breed puns - "will you get off my shell [back]?". I take a bit of issue with Master Splinter's new look - he's a mangy old rat, not a fuzzy cute fox. And he isn't really supposed to sound like Mr Miyagi. But that's nothing that can't be overcome. And hey, the jokes were funny in the typical corny way that the Mirage Studios version was. This movie was never touted as the next Borat, you know.
I guess the movie was heavier in terms of the spirituality and tao of ninjitsu than the Mirage Studios version, most noticably with Splinter constantly ordering his wayward sons to "KNEEL!". But I kinda liked it for that too. It didn't just coast on the happy Jim Henson puppetry like the earlier movies did, but attempted to give it a bit more dimension for the older fans, and I respected it for realising that its target audience was no longer the 7-12 year olds, but the 19-25 age bracket. You've got to give the scripters props for fearlessly and yet non-cheesily tackling the more human issues of chaffing against leadership, the value of brotherhood and abandonment. And I'm so happy they gave all the turtles back their normal weapons and their parkour-styled mode of travel (anyone catch the tribute to the opening theme from the Mirage Studios version in the prologue?), such a rarity in this modern age where every producer seems to think in the tired "the more gadgets the better" way. Did you catch that little snipe at the jetpacks? Haha. I miss the turtlecomms muchly, though. Together with the darker styled art, it all goes to show that keeping the original comic book main man, Peter Laird, in the production team was a good choice.
One slight gripe: APRIL O'NEIL AND CASEY JONES ARE NOT HEROES LAH, FOR GOODNESS SAKES. It's a show about the TURTLES, ok? April O'Neil is a freaking news reporter who is gutsy in her own way, but does NOT practise ninjitsu and does not go trekking in the forests of Central America a la Lara Croft. She drives a Channel 8 News van like a maniac, but she does NOT - I repeat, DOES NOT - wield a katana and kick foot soldier butt. Neither is Casey Jones the baseball bat / hockey stick flourishing alpha male. He's a snivelling, cowardly brownoser with bad hair and self-deluded arrogance that would make Mr Bean wince. And for the love of Mike, he is notnotnotnotnot April's live-in boyfriend.
Otherwise, great show if you appreciate for what it is. A feel good action flick, with more than acceptable animation, and a bit of the "angmoh trying to incorporate an asian sub-culture" thing going on, and a few life lessons thrown in for the impressionable youngsters who still need a bit of guidance here and there. It starts out a little unsteady, but ultimately it gives all old-school "Turtle Power!" fans the best elements of its predecessors. It's the Turtles in their essence, and that's all you can really ask for. I like.
Still, they could have said "COWABUNGA!" at least once.
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]