Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ★

    In the realm that is film viewing, there are three easily identifiable types of spectators: There are the countless individuals who savor movies purely for their entertainment value, the diminutive amount of souls who still regard film as an art form and the medial folks whose position lies somewhere in-between these categories. Alas, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" is a 2014 picture that gives rise to a timeless dispute that pits recreation versus fine art. (Meaning, should we grade the above-mentioned picture merely as a form of amusement, considering its relative goal and aim, or do we still view it as a constituent of the art of film? Well, I'm afraid that even a combination of the two concepts results in a poor showing here.)  

    Now, regardless of the rationale that will send masses scurrying to the steering wheel of their automobiles and into the dimly lit theater of their choosing, this is a picture whose existence cannot be justified by the notion that its sole intent is to entertain. If anything, these genetically mutated heroes provide a wearisome cinematic experience, and, as an exhibition of art, it utterly lacks any sense of passion.

    The plot is simplistic enough and would be recognizable to anyone who has seen even a glimpse of  "Turtles" material. April O'Neil is a Channel 6 news reporter (based in New York City, an ideal destination for a list of heroes) who spends her time delving into the risky business of investigative journalism. Although, to be frank, her work would hardly be as prominent as the likes of Carl Bernstein or Bob Woodward.

     Meanwhile, the Foot Clanservants of the turtles' archnemesis who have been reduced to mere soldiers with rifles in this unimaginative renditionare terrorizing the city under the command of the villainous Shredder. This leads to an inevitable meeting between the turtles and O'Neil, as April makes it a habit of investigating the activities of the poorly named group of lackeys. With a nod to the original film, there is a very brief description of the turtles' beginnings (provided by the father-like figure in Master Splinter) and a kidnapping that will see these four brothers face-to-face with The Shredder on a New York rooftop.

    Megan Fox is quite forgettable as the passionate reporter April O'Neil, a character whose backstory has now become linked to the turtles. Fox is an actress who got her "big break" via the success of the "Transformers" franchise, and she certainly gets her chance here to shine in a dialogue-heavy role. Unfortunately, Fox can never fully grasp the quirkiness of her character, and she ultimately provides yet another dumbed-down performance.

    Instead of commenting on the unsightly designs of our four protagonists and their lovable Master Splinter (I'm afraid the film's realistic approach to the turtles' look comes off as offensive and downright displeasing), I will reminisce on my experience with these so-called Ninja Turtles.

    As a child growing up in the 1990s, there was nothing more intriguing than the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." Children of the baby boomer generation had Superman to fixate on and to imitate during imaginative roleplaying. For anyone who was born in the late 1980s, or beyond, had the Ninja Turtles. Their appeal is highly subjective, yet they remain as an avenue for interesting conversation. I've collected an excess of memorabiliaincluding the original graphic novels, which tend to depict these heroes in a much darker tone.

    With a foreseeable sequel already scheduled for a 2016 release, the hopes that this interpretation would be short-lived are dashed. The original feature film portraying these four brothers will undoubtedly remain as the finest depiction, and, when it's all said and done, this film becomes nothing more than a product comparable to that of "The Next Mutation," a Turtles spinoff that was as bland as it was forgettable. This Turtles revamping has embraced a culture that I simply do not understand.

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