Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
"What more can really be said other than it's a Michael Bay film? The villains are boring, the dialogue is forced, the action scenes the extended a white noise snore. The whole thing reminds me of the Smurfs movie shot in the dark under an ugly green lights filter. It's not bad enough to be interesting, and not good enough to be recommendable."— PhantomStrider
"The Turtles are back, and they're scary as shit."— Honest Trailer
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a 2014 American superhero film based on the fictional superhero team of the same name, and a reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film franchise. It was directed by Jonathan Liebesman, written by Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, and Evan Daugherty. The film premiered in Mexico City on July 29, 2014, and was released on August 8, 2014 in the United States, by Paramount Pictures. A sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, was released on June 3, 2016.
It was a box office success, earning $493 million on a $125-150 million budget, and became the highest-grossing movie produced by Nickelodeon Movies.
Spawned from a lab experiment gone awry, teenage terrapins Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael live in the sewers beneath New York. Although their rodent sensei, Splinter, advises against showing themselves above ground, the justice-loving, pizza-eating brothers can't stand idly by while evil Shredder and his minions terrorize the city. With help from intrepid reporter April O'Neil and her cameraman, the Turtles set out to save New York.
Why There's No Turtle Power
- The biggest main criticism of the film is the new cast, as they don't really try too hard to look like the original characters in the original films, and don't necessarily fit or match the roles of the characters from the previous and earlier films. This is noticeable especially between the Turtles, April O' Neil, Shredder, and other characters.
- Most of the characters have been many several main problems and lack of characters development. For example:
- The Turtles' designs look a bit like ugly and discounted as they look like they had botched head surgery, and their personalities were also flanderized with air-headed noise garbage that happens during the climax. Their personalities were made more very obnoxious and stereotypical. All of the turtles have no real personality or distinguishing features, with Raph being a generic "fearless leader". Besides, Raph was never even the leader of the Ninja Turtles. Also they made Donatello a generic tech geek wearing glasses.
- Another problem however that the Turtles barely acts like ninjas, instead the act like a bunch of Superman wannabes.
- April O'Neil's appearance doesn't necessarily match her original appearance as her hair lacks the proper look that the original incarnation of the character had. This is because Megan Fox portrayed her.
- Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett's character) is just an annoying comic relief character.
- Shredder has pretty much been reduced to a generic and lame villain who wants to wipe out all of New York City, with no real motive for doing so, and does not have any connection to Splinter, whereas the original incarnation had a well-developed hunger for power, and had a longstanding rivalry with Hamato Yoshi, Splinter's owner (pre-mutated Splinter in some incarnations). His redesigned outfit being too similar to the Silver Samurai armor from The Wolverine and Whiplash’s mark ll armor from Iron Man 2 does not make him look badass, instead, it looks derisive. He even looks more like "Roboshredder", or "Shredformer" or even Starscream from the Transformers movies which were directed by Michael Bay at the time.
- Eric Sacks is a pretty weak villain and a generic "corrupt CEO" with an even more weak plan, in fact, there's more focus on him than Shredder, and that's because Sacks was originally gonna be this film's Shredder, but it was subsequently abandoned in favor of casting actor Tohoru Masamune as an authentically Japanese incarnation of the character and changed later in production. Honestly, Sacks as the Shredder in this version would have made him a more interesting character if he was written not or so.
- The Foot Clan are just generic American terrorists instead of being ninjas.
- The side characters like Bernadette (April’s manager whom she had fired her for telling her about the Turtles) and Karai are very sidelined and uninteresting.
- Terrible and mostly poor acting, even from actors such as Megan Fox.
- What's worse about Megan Fox, she ends up being won at Worst Supporting Actress for 35th Golden Raspberry Awards.
- Very lazy cinematography that not only acts very similar to the Transformers movies from producer of that film and director Michael Bay, but also looks just like a made-for-TV or direct-to-video movie.
- In some scenes where the Turtles are fighting, the camera constantly shakes, making the viewer dizzy and resulting in the camera work being very poorly done.
- A tiresome plot and convoluted storyline, which doesn't really seem to follow the franchise at all.
- Speaking of said story, it severely plagiarizes The Amazing Spider-Man (with the same plot revolving around experiments, healing factors, cures, and viruses) and it shows.
- Very unfunny and weak humor, particularly the scene where April O' Neil takes a photo of the turtles and Michelangelo farts at the sewer hole in one scene.
- The grasp of the comic books, original films, and television shows is very poor: the Turtles, Shredder, Splinter, April O'Neil, and other characters all act nothing like their original counterparts or designs.
- The writing and dialogue is awful, clichéd, and all over the place, especially compared to the earlier and previous films and television series. The idea of having April and the Turtles having a connection since childhood is a decent addition, but everything else is pretty standard, cliched, and predictable, and unnecessarily changed Splinter's backstory (with him being a laboratory experiment than a sewer rat).
- The movie itself only involves the Turtles trying to save New York City from getting deadly virus, yet most of the film boils down to a lot of filler, with almost nothing going on during the movie.
- Confusing and hard-to-follow climax, especially the fight with Shredder.
- Incredibly unlikable characters (eg. April O' Neil, Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Splinter, Shredder, and Vern), who are very bland and only exist as plot devices.
- Excessive loads of insulting and blatant product placement (eg. Skype, YouTube, Google, Windows, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin' Donuts).
- Jonathan Liebesman's direction is not very good.
- The film had been in development for 5 years, so it's not all that surprising that it turned out the way it did. Speaking of the early development of the film, it was originally gonna have the Turtles as aliens as well as the Shredder, while making April and Casey Jones (who would appear in the sequel) as underaged teenagers which was would have been much worse than the film we got.
- A heavy-handed message about everyone being a family, even when they aren't related.
- One of the posters are misleading. For example:
- Despite the four turtles being on the American poster, this film mostly focuses on April O'Neil rather than the turtles themselves, meaning the turtles don't get enough screen time.
- On one of the Australian posters, a poster was released which featured the four turtles jumping from an exploding skyscraper as a promotion for its September 11 release. The poster offended many people since the World Trade Center was destroyed back in 2001 during the September 11 attacks.
- Horrible, outdated and overused CGI effects on the environments and the characters, especially during the action sequences. Because of this, most of the scenes with the CGI characters and excessive special effects are hidden in the dark and/or barely visible so that people don't notice.
- Many plot holes and errors. For example:
- In the final showdown with Shredder, Leonardo throws one of his katanas at Shredder, which falls to the ground with Shredder. However, throughout the rest of the scene, Leo still has two katanas on his back.
- Near the beginning when April interviews the fitness trainer and is jumping on the trampoline, she is wearing a pink shirt and a black coat. When she walks back to the news van she is wearing a gray shirt with a burgundy coat.
- After April is contacted by the turtles and meets them on the rooftop, she is wearing a black shirt. When she is taken down to the sewers by the turtles, she is wearing a gray shirt.
- At the start of the snow hill scene, when the semi-truck spins its wheels after being hit by a rocket, the truck only has one drive axle. In every other shot, the truck has two drive axles.
- During the stasis scene, three of the turtles are in stasis chambers, having their blood removed for the mutagen, but four tubes are filling with blood flowing to the container.
- The rich bad guy (Eric Sacks) plans to get richer by spreading a deadly virus on New York City and by being the only supplier of the cure. That's already suspicious in itself, but the fact he planned to start spraying the gas from the top of the tower means he would be arrested by federal agents right after forensics. The camera footage and testimonies would pinpoint the origin of the gas to his property.
- Another plot hole is that if the mutagen in the turtles' blood was so precious that the Foot needed to take three turtles, why not take Splinter too? After all, his blood has mutagen in it too, and taking three turtles rather than one suggests every ounce of mutagen is valuable. In fact why just take only three Turtles and not all four along with Splinter?
- While pretty neat, the score from Brian Tyler was criticized for its lack of variety, repetitiveness, and overuse of the Turtles' main theme.
- Gratuitous slow pacing issues.
- Despite having the criticism, Brian Tyler provides a pretty neat score, as mentioned above.
- Some humorous moments here and there, particularly the scene where the Turtles are in the elevator and beat-boxing, compared to the previous films.
- Despite the uncanny head designs, the Turtles' body designs remain less faithful to how they looked in the previous films.
- The voice acting for the Turtles is surprisingly good, despite the pitch-shifting.
- The action sequences are pretty awesome, despite the poor and unnecessary camera work and bad special effects.
- Paramount apologized and changed the Australian poster that has the turtles jumping from the exploding skyscraper.
- Shell Shocked is an absolute banger of a song.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles received generally negative reviews from critics and fans alike for the plot, computer-generated effects, and lack of character development. Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 21% of critics gave the film positive reviews; the average score is 4.2/10. The critic consensus reads: "Neither entertaining enough to recommend nor remarkably awful, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may bear the distraction of being the dullest movie ever made about talking bipedal reptiles". On Metacritic, the film has a 31 out of 100 based on 33 critics indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". The audience polled by Cinemascore gave the film an average grade of "B" on a scale of A+ to F, as well as 5.8/10 on IMDb.
Chris Stuckmann gave this movie a D+.
- Jane Levy, Anna Kendrick, and Elizabeth Olsen were all auditioned for the role of April O'Neil.
- Sacks was originally going to become the Shredder. However, him not being Japanese and not resembling Oroku Saki at all created backlash, so Shredder was made a separate character clearly depicted as Japanese.
- The movie was going to just be called "Ninja Turtles" and they would have been aliens instead of mutants, however plans were changed once fan reception was bad.
- According to Alan Ritchson, who played one of the turtles, Raphael, in the movie and its sequel, Alan hated working on the film and its sequel because of the production issues going on.
- At first, Alan Ritchson was not sure about playing Raphael because he didn't want to play a motion-capture character, but the promise of being a star-making career move by the producers, Paramount, and pleasing his son, a huge TMNT fan, convinced him to accept the part.
- The TMNT actors were then not given the same special treatments as their live-action co-stars Megan Fox and Will Arnett and often seemed to be mistreated and afterthought by most of the producers (including Michael Bay) and Paramount Pictures during and after filming of both movies, not even allowing many opportunities to do press for the picture and were not invited to the premiere as promised and instructed them to not give press interviews while claiming they (the turtles) were the ones refusing to give interviews but denying saying they wanted interviews.
- Ritchson personally emailed the late Brad Grey many times about the situation, Alan did not want to return as Raphael after having an unhappy experience making the first movie, but was bound by his contract to do so and then was promised it would not happen again on the sequel and then will be giving interviews for the film sequel and even made appearances at the film sequel's premieres, but nothing much changed during filming the sequel either.
- Originally, the mutant thugs, Bebop and Rocksteady, were to appear in the film to fight the Turtles; they were to be martial arts that were given mutagen and turned into monstrous super-soldier mutants for the Turtles to fight. It was cut for some reason. They were written out with the intent of appearing in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016).