Thursday, January 17, 2013

Not Even For The Nostalgia: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 25th Anniversary Collection Flops!

The Good: Moments of concept, TMNT is not terrible, Moments of performance
The Bad: Terrible writing, Repetitive plots, Often atrocious effects, Inconsistent acting/casting
The Basics: The four-pack Blu-Ray Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 25th Anniversary Collection illustrates just how bad comic book-based movies can be.

When the woman who would become my wife came into my life, nothing drove home the difference in ages between us to me like her affinity for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Some of my peers were into the animated television series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but by the time the live action films had begun, most were beyond that. My charge when babysitting, however, was a huge fan. So, it turns out, is my wife. As a result, for one of our anniversaries, I picked her up the boxed set Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 25th Anniversary Collection, a four DVD set that compiles the four live action/CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films.

Those who have a nostalgic attachment to the franchise, these films might be gold, but it is hard to imagine who exactly might get good mileage out of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 25th Anniversary Collection. This film “saga” it that bad.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 25th Anniversary Collection is a simple compilation pack of:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret Of The Ooze
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles In Time
with no additional discs or bonus features than on the original DVD/Blu-Ray release. There are, however, booklets, cards and other collectible swag in the pizza box collector’s edition of the films.

For those unfamiliar with the franchise, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are, as their name suggests, four turtles who were mutated through exposure to a green mutagenic goo that made them giant, bipedal, and exceptionally smart. Trained by a rat with similar size and intelligence, Master Splinter, the four turtles – Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, and Leonardo – train to become powerful vigilantes. However, because they have the mentalities of teenagers, they crack wise, eat lots of pizza and make a mess of things about as much as they actually protect people. Aided by the intrepid reporter April O’Neil and the slacker Casey Jones, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fight crime in the form of the evil Shredder, his mutants, and similar villains.

After a couple turns with Shredder, the Turtles return for a time travel adventure, before a stylistic overhaul for the final installment. This makes for an exceptionally erratic viewing experience. When the first three films are basically live-action actors running around in foam rubber suits (albeit, by the third they had the technical details of the suits worked out better than the first two installments) and the final movie is a computer generated animated work, it is hard to watch them one after another and feel like one is watching something set in the same universe.

The acting throughout the series is homogenously bad, though for TMNT, the voice actors are of a caliber that makes the film viewable, at the very least. But, more often than not, the fights look cheesy by any standard, the actors miss eye-lines and have awkward line deliveries, which makes the movies less campy and more terrible.

The plots are pretty obvious, repetitive heroic plots, with a little bit of teenage/group dynamic angst thrown in the last three movies to make a pass at character development. It is, however, only a passing attempt and these films are much more about fights and zany one-liners that the producers hoped would make it onto merchandising. For serious cinephiles, this is a set that may be easily passed by.

For other film collections, please visit my reviews of:
The Dark Knight Trilogy
The Harry Potter Saga
The Back To The Future Trilogy


For other movie reviews, please check out my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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