The turtles are back and that’s a fact jack! (sorry about that) but would the follow up the their entertaining reboot live up to expectations?
In the aftermath of Shredder’s attack on New York City, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles returned to the shadows – persuading Channel 6 cameraman Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett) to take sole credit for saving the city.
Though they long to live above ground with their fellow New Yorkers, the Turtles believe that humanity isn’t ready to accept crime-fighting humanoid reptiles – so Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), and Michelangelo (Noel Fisher) spend their days training inside their sewer lair, only emerging at night to push back against evildoers and bullies (or catch a basketball game from inside the Madison Square Garden jumbotron).
Thanks to the Turtles, crime in New York City has plummeted – until Shredder (Brian Tee) manages to escape from police custody, travel to an alternate dimension, and borrow advanced tech from extraterrestrial warlord, General Krang (Brad Garrett).
Armed with a mysterious purple substance and the help of a brilliant but demented scientist, Shredder transforms dimwitted criminal errand boys, Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly), into a mutant Warthog and Rhinoceros, respectively, to distract the Turtles, April O’Neil (Megan Fox), and corrections officer-turned-masked vigilante, Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) – while Shredder races to reopen the dimensional barrier between earth and the alien race known as the Krang.
After a divisive response from fans and critics to the 2014 reboot, from director Jonathan Liebesman and producer Michael Bay, Out of the shadows is unlikely to change any minds simply put its much worse than its predecessor.
This is thanks to a heavy reliance on human, not mutant, drama, Out of the Shadows doubles-down on the over-the-top action, one-liner gags, and cartoonish characters (both heroes and villains) but fails to put all the right pieces in place.
Instead of trying to make the Ninja Turtles concept grounded and more believable, Green attempts to make the series a live action cartoon, dumbing it down far too much.
The result is a film filled with one note bad guys (who just want to conquer the world at all costs), a few life lessons (especially on the subject of acceptance), fart jokes (thanks to a fittingly disgusting depiction of Bebop and Rocksteady), as well as mutant-martial arts action – with the occasional eater egg and references for longtime TMNT fans.
But there aren’t enough major changes to the new live-action franchise formula to convert skeptics who still refuse to accept Megan Fox as April O’Neil (ditching the red hair, yellow jacket and dressing her literally as a school girl doesn’t really help)
There is significantly less based story this round, sidelining O’Neil, Jones, and Vernon (I had no idea why he was back in this story at all to be honest) to place the Turtles’ story front and centre.
However, just because there’s less of the humans and more Turtles, doesn’t mean the non mutant storylines or performances are particularly improved. Without having to carry Out of the Shadows as the film’s star, Fox gets to be light-hearted, by comparison, poking fun at the Turtles and Jones to deliver laughs rather than drama and exposition.
Whilst on the subject of Casey jones, the classic hockey mask wearing vigilante, for what ever reason here he’s now officer (soon to be detective) Jones, clean cut guy who does a bit of vigilantisum on the side ….. a far cry from the original character.
Even less time this time around is spent with Shredder or Karai, nor explaining how either character (who are both portrayed by new actors this round) even survived the previous entry (shredder fell off a tower for gods sake!) Shredder doesn’t even don his iconic gear until the very end of the film and even then he only lasts 30 seconds never to be seen again.
Krang is also thrown into the mix without much development and, like Shredder in both movies, emphasis is on the the character’s updated look – rather than a memorable big screen backstory for this version of General Krang. It’s an eye-catching reimagining of Krang and his exo-suit but, in the end, the ruthless alien is just a hollow obstacle with an annoying cartoonish voice for the Turtles to overcome.
People may recognise Krangs voice actor (Brad Garrett) as puff from finding Nemo ….. the problem is he uses the exact same voice – seriously I was waiting for Krang to yell Ring of Fire!!!
After nearly three decades, Bebop and Rocksteady finally made it into a Ninja Turtles movie – and the result are live-action versions ripped right out of the 1987 animated series. They’re madcap, loud, and disgusting – a reflection of everything that viewers will either love or hate about Out of the Shadows.
The problem with these two iconic characters? they one share one sequence with the turtles throughout the entire film! not what the trailers would have you believe at all.
In hindsight, the classic animated series might not be the best foundation on which to build a live-action TMNT film series but, for those who are on board with the approach, Bebop and Rocksteady will be a highlight of the film
But over all this film wasn’t for me, its tailored exclusively for kids (well except the scene with Fox in a school girls outfit, that part must have been for me) With the clear mind-set of selling toys …. congratulations Michael Bay, you have now turned into George Lucas in that respect.
After leaving the cinema, I was so annoyed that I took to twitter with this message:
So out of a possible five stars, TMNT out of the shadows earns:
What did you think of this film?
Thank you for reading