Teenage Mu­tant Ninja Tur­tles

Cow­abun­gled

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Cinema -

Re­lease Date: 17 Oc­to­ber 12A | 101 min­utes Distrib­u­tor: Paramount Di­rec­tor: Jonathan Liebesman Cast: Megan Fox, Will Ar­nett, Wil­liam Ficht­ner, Alan Ritch­son, Noel Fisher, Johnny Knoxville, Jeremy Howard

Though it ar­rives amidst a storm of con­tro­versy after pro­ducer Michael Bay em­pha­sised that the ti­tle char­ac­ters would have an alien ori­gin, the fact that there’s some tin­ker­ing with the back­story is the least of this film’s wor­ries. Be­cause what di­rec­tor Jonathan Liebesman has de­liv­ered gets very lit­tle right.

Let’s start with the pos­i­tives, shall we? De­spite their weird ap­pear­ance ( the an­i­ma­tronic ver­sions from the ’ 90s movies are less odd- look­ing), Leonardo, Michelan­gelo, Donatello and Raphael work rel­a­tively well as char­ac­ters, their usual ban­ter in­tact and their love for pizza at least briefly on dis­play. Raph is sad­dled with the usual plot bag­gage of feel­ing like the out­sider, but it’s a note that Alan Ritch­son, the man be­neath the CG, plays de­cently. The char­ac­ters, for the most part, feel like them­selves and have easy, charis­matic sib­ling chem­istry. And then there’s Will Ar­nett, some­thing of a Mar­mite choice as re­porter April O’Neil ( Megan Fox)’ s cam­era­man, but who man­ages to get in a few de­cent quips.

The big­ger prob­lems are with the film around the wise­cracks. Liebesman and writ­ers An­dré Ne­mec, Josh Appelbaum and Evan Daugh­erty stick so closely to the for­mula for a movie like this that you find your­self able to pre­dict what will hap­pen be­fore it shows up on screen. The usual batch of broth­erly bond­ing, he­roes find­ing their way, and life lessons learned is doled out in rou­tine style. The ridicu­lous lengths taken to link char­ac­ters in pre­vi­ously un­ex­plored ways will have most peo­ple sigh­ing, es­pe­cially when it comes to April O’Neil, her fa­ther and Wil­liam Ficht­ner’s Eric Sachs.

Ac­tion- wise, things are typ­i­cally bom­bas­tic, with one or two in­ter­est­ing uses of the Tur­tles’ nat­u­ral ad­van­tages far out­weighed by poorly chore­ographed fight scenes and some of the most clichéd mo­ments in main­stream cin­ema this year. And when a film can waste a character ac­tor as re­spected as Ficht­ner, you know there are big­ger prob­lems beyond a slightly hack­neyed script.

The lat­est out­ing for those he­roes in a half- shell is al­ready a hit over­seas, with a se­quel in de­vel­op­ment, so no mat­ter what you think, more is on the way. Let’s just hope the next film fixes some of th­ese is­sues. James White Two mo- cap ac­tors – Pete Ploszek ( Leo) and Danny Wood­burn ( Splin­ter) – had their voices re­placed. Dave Prowse sym­pa­thises.

Leonardo’s feet could prob­a­bly do with a wash.

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