teenage mu­tant Ninja Tur­tles: Out Of the Shad­ows

Pizza the ac­tion

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - Sam Ashurst

re­leased OUT NOW! 12a | 111 min­utes Di­rec­tor dave Green Cast Me­gan Fox, stephen amell, alan ritch­son, Will ar­nett

Pizza is the ul­ti­mate com­fort food. Easy to make, even eas­ier to con­sume, there’s a rea­son it’s such a pop­u­lar dish. That said, there is room to go wrong. There’s an al­most in­fi­nite amount of top­pings you can sprin­kle on top – mess up the com­bi­na­tion, and your pie will be ined­i­ble. Which brings us to Out Of The Shad­ows, a pizza with a lot of top­pings.

It con­tains live-ac­tion de­buts for alien war­lord Krang and his robot-shaped trans­port de­vice, mad sci­en­tist Bax­ter Stock­man, thugs Be­bop and Rock­steady – all iconic char­ac­ters, much-loved by fans of the ’80s car­toon. There’s a new take on vig­i­lante Casey Jones, along­side a re­turn­ing Shred­der and his Foot clan. Re­porter April O’Neil and her cam­era­man Vern are back. Oh, and those four tit­u­lar tur­tles (and their rat dad Splin­ter) also fea­ture in a scene or two.

It’s a lot to cram into two hours, but di­rec­tor Dave Green (mostly) man­ages it – even if the base sags a bit in the squeeze to make it all fit. The story’s the first thing to melt, with char­ac­ter mo­ti­va­tions sacri­ficed to make ev­ery­thing con­nect. The Tur­tles want ac­cep­tance, Casey Jones wants Be­bop and Rock­steady, Krang wants to in­vade Earth, Shred­der wants to help. Ev­ery­one non-green is in­ter­change­able, the Foot can’t fight civil­ians (let alone the Tur­tles), and noth­ing re­ally makes sense.

Per­for­mance-wise, Me­gan Fox must have looked the wrong way when the wind changed, freez­ing her in a per­ma­nent pout. Be­bop and Rock­steady are car­toons be­fore they mu­tate. Stephen Amell’s Casey is earnest, but doesn’t have much to do. The Tur­tles are the best thes­pi­ans, with CGI ge­niuses throw­ing some neat de­tails into their per­for­mances.

There are a lot of nos­tal­gic nods,

If you’re feel­ing lazy, the film’s fun to watch

mostly in the form of back­ground Easter eggs, in­clud­ing a cou­ple of key mu­sic cues. The un­ex­pect­edly faith­ful ren­di­tions of the new guys prob­a­bly also count as fan-ser­vice – it’s as close to the source ma­te­rial as a Michael Bay pro­duc­tion gets. Mean­while, the ac­tion set­pieces are so goofy you prob­a­bly won’t be shocked to find out that Green blocked some of them by smash­ing of­fi­cial ac­tion fig­ures to­gether (se­ri­ously, he did).

One word of warn­ing: if you’re think­ing of tak­ing young chil­dren, there are a cou­ple of sur­pris­ingly scary scenes, in­clud­ing a mu­ta­tion that could have ap­peared in An Amer­i­can Were­wolf In Lon­don.

If you’re feel­ing lazy, the film’s fun and un­com­pli­cated – just like pizza. Nei­ther’s good for you though.

Ju­dith Hoag, who played April O’Neil in 1990’s Teenage Mu­tant Ninja Tur­tles, shot a cameo, but it was cut.

The den­tists’ new ad­vert wasn’t uni­ver­sally loved.

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