In some ways, I think that the new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” film makes a strong case for being my favourite entry in the franchise. I’ve never really had a huge passion for the brand, but I definitely recall a fondness that manifested intermittently throughout various stages of childhood. There were just aspects of the concept that never quite got to me in the right way. A lot of it’s aesthetic. The turtles often looked too squat for my tastes, and the lack of much meaningful distinction between the members of the chelonian quartet prevented an increase in my interest. I always had a bit of a special regard for Shredder, and his visual appeal was probably the most significant factor in that. I actually remember being quite delighted when the new look of one of my favourite “Mortal Kombat” characters appeared to take heavy cues from the head of the Foot Clan.
Now there was a franchise that incited my passions from the start.
Despite their increased size in this film, they actually look relatively lithe, and the addition of distinguishing wardrobe features plays quite well. The personalities of the turtles were always the most intriguing part of the various series for me, and those are definitely given room in the movie, but for the first time, the four actually seem visually interesting to me.
If anything seemed slightly weird at first glance, it would be the choice of Megan Fox for the role of the young reporter, but she seemed willing to honour the part. Whenever I’ve seen her in anything, she’s seemed to be called upon to play some variation of an archetypical Megan Fox character, but I never had any real reason to believe that she was incapable of doing anything else. This seemed to be a bit of a departure from that at last. She didn’t really bring the Fox. In fairness, she bore a closer physical resemblance to some pinup version of Lois Lane than she did to any incarnation of April O’Neil I’ve ever seen, but the yellow coat helped enough.
Altogether, the movie seemed quite concise in comparison to much of Michael Bay’s oeuvre, which made some sense at the end when I discovered that he didn’t actually direct it. Apparently, he was the producer, a position which seemed to consist largely of preventing things that would draw ire from people who love the Turtles.
Incidentally, I went to this music festival a few years ago, and The Turtles played there. In fact, seeing “Happy Together” in concert was one of my main reasons for going. That part was fine, but the attempt at standup comedy by the two frontmen came close to detracting from that. They were introduced with a forced reference to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which explained that the first three words of that phrase did not apply to this band. It wasn’t a terribly good joke.
I bring this up mainly because Michelangelo started playing “Happy Together” at the end of this film, which seemed like a far more elegant way to extract some bit of humour from the tenuous connection between the two groups. Maybe it just seems better in comparison. I don’t know. It’s still a great song.
David versus Mona Lisa? David.