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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Movie review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is pure junk

Jyoti Sharma Bawa, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 29, 2014
First Published: 15:52 IST(29/8/2014) | Last Updated: 19:29 IST(30/8/2014)

Film: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Cast: Megan Fox, William Fichtner, Whoopi Goldberg
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Genre: Fantasy, sci-fi
Rating: 1.5 out of 5


There is a scene early on in the film where desperate-to-be-taken-seriously journalist April O'Neill (Megan Fox) goes to her editor (Whoopi Goldberg) with the scoop that bad guys in New York are being taken on by a quartet of mutant turtles.

Goldberg refuses to buy it and send her packing. I should have followed Goldberg's example and walked out of the theatre then. So, in hindsight, I just have myself to blame for going through yet another of Michael Bay's films (he is producing this time).

The only backhanded praise for Turtles is that it is more enjoyable than Bay's directorial work Transformers and, at one-and-a-half hours, much shorter.

Mostly, it comes as a disappointment, especially if you have been a fan of the '80s and '90s take on pizza-eating, cowabunga-spewing, jujitsu-trained turtles.



What made them work then was their non-serious attitude and the fact that they were really just teenagers goofing around who could also kick some backside if needed. Hollywood today does not allow you that luxury. There is a new superhero every month and even mutant turtles need to be taken seriously.

So, we have the quartet fighting off against a rogue group Foot Clan. The group is led by Shredder who looks a lot like a Transformer and is part of an apocalyptic plan along with Mr Moneybags, Eric Sachs (William Fichtner).

It is left to TV reporter O'Neil to piece all this together and find the turtles -- Raphael (Alan Richardson), Leonardo (Pete Ploszek, with voice by Johnny Knoxville), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), and Donatello (Jeremy Howard). She then meets their mentor, a talking rat called Splinter (Danny Woodburn, voice of Tony Shalhoub) and realises that they all were once her childhood pets whose life she saved.

Then, they all get together to put an end to the reign of terror perpetrated by the Foot Clan.  

Director Jonathan Liebesman ensures that there are enough computer generated effects and long action sequences. Maybe it will keep the youngsters -- the film's target audience -- immersed but it left me cold. One particular sequence in Sach's snow-covered lair started well but went on for so long that I lost all interest.

The four turtles have no real personality of their own and at times it is hard to tell one from another. Megan Fox, especially her posterior, gets a lot of screen time but acting-wise, she fails to justify it. She's pretty, we get it, but can she try to act next time?
 
In all of this, the only winner is Pizza Hut. After hearing so much about Pizza Hut's 99-cheese pizza (one product placement among many), all I wanted was a mozzarella-laden treat. Alas, the film - just like its favoured food - is pure junk.

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