TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS
Director: Dave Green (Earth by Echo) Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Laura Linney, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson Verdict: A shell game where you’ll never guess where the plot is hiding THE best thing that can be said of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows? It is marginally superior to 2014’s tolerably turgid TMNT reboot.
You will need a very powerful microscope to measure that margin, but it is there. The improvement is principally technical in nature: the deployment of high-end specialeffects during action sequences is indeed impressive.
However, while Out of the Shadows more than holds its own as a visual spectacle, you may be tempted to hold your nose when taking a whiff of what occurs between the fights, explosions and breaking of stuff.
The Turtles themselves? Physically, they’re still in remarkably good shape. You’d think after eating all that pizza beside an open sewer for all those years, at least one of them would have contracted hospital-grade gastro by now.
Emotionally, however, Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), and Michelangelo (Noel Fisher) are in need of some healing.
In their quieter moments, the Turtles all display the symptoms of a strong case of It’s Not Easy Being Green syndrome. Shucks, they just want to hang out above ground, doing the normal things that other teenage boys do.
Instead, they have to spend their time vanquishing an unfeasible number of villains (at a rough count, Out of the Shadows makes room for five bad dudes), only to have any subsequent, hard-earned pats on the shell go to others.
It must be said that in this particular adventure, the Turtles spend a lot of time airborne. While this isn’t really held to be a specialty of their species, it does trigger one undeniably enjoyable (and quite insane) action sequence.
This scene kicks off with the Turtles skydiving between planes to conduct a pitched battle with a warthog and rhino, one of whom is operating an artillery tank inside their aircraft. The surreal skirmish ends on an even stranger note at a much lower altitude.
If that is the extent of it for highlights, there are far more lowlights if you look too hard at Out of the Shadows.
The prominence given to Megan Fox as the token guy-candy of the franchise remains problematic, particularly considering the youngmale demographic being aggressively targeted here.
Scenes where the camera is literally drooling over the leading lady (such as when she goes undercover in a skimpy schoolgirl outfit) are imprinting the wrong image of women on impressionable minds.