23 March 2010 | Mr_Censored
Heroes in a Half-Decent Reboot
Fourteen years after the abysmal "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III" sent our beloved heroes in a half-shell back to the sewers, "TMNT" finds the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles returning to the limelight in a completely CGI'ed reboot of the franchise.
While the film doesn't go out of its way to ignore or necessarily acknowledge the other films, it works as both a new beginning as well as a loose sequel. Opening up with a narrative by Laurence Fishburne, a gaggle of medieval monsters are set-up as the villains as opposed to the usual Shredder and it is established that that Turtles are in shambles, with Leonardo laying low in Central America while the remaining three work menial jobs and look back at the glory days of yore. After a visit from news reporter/friend April O'Neal (voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar) brings Leo back to the fold, the turtles spring back in action to send the beasts back to where they came from and reclaim their place as the under-appreciated guardians of Manhattan.
The CGI here is rather good (with the human rendering being the only weak factor), but unfortunately "TMNT" feels, in essence, like one big cartoon. While it's entertaining and easy to swallow, it lacks the substance that the first film had (if you remember, that film was true to the grittier origins of the Turtles while keeping their fun-loving spirit alive as well). You can almost assume that this film was meant more for the younger crowd and less for the twenty-somethings who nowadays look back fondly on the days of not only the original movies, but the original Saturday morning cartoon and the endless onslaught of action figures and various merchandising that accompanied it as well. In turn, this reboot is about on par with "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze," and at the very least, washes away the bad taste that the third installment left in its viewer's mouths. Featuring voice work by Mako, Kevin Smith, Patrick Stewart and others, it's an entertaining but wholly forgettable affair that is no more than an 87 minute cartoon.