Last year Michael Bay set off a firestorm when word leaked out that he was going to change the origin story of a popular comic book/television series “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. Hell hath no fury like a bunch of fans on Twitter. You really had to wonder if Bay would make it out alive. Slowly the chanting for his head died down and he and his team went back to work to bring the Turtles to life. If you ask me, Marvel is responsible for this outrage, if they didn’t make movies for the fans, that turned out to be amazing, and then the expectations would be lower. The only question here is will this movie make you scream “Cowabunga”?
If you don’t know much about the Turtles they were just normal sewer turtles when some goo got on them and changed them into six foot tall walking and talking turtles. With the help of their Master Splinter, a rat turned giant rat, they learn the ways of the ninja and help keep New York safe. Bay wanted to make them have an alien origin, hence the internet hate. This is something he has changed for the most part. In this film version, Splinter and the turtles were being used as test subjects for a new drug. When a fire destroyed the lab they lived in, they escaped to the sewer where they grew to be the badass ninja fighting turtles that protect the city from the shadows. The city is having a little problem with a group called the “Foot Clan” as the carry out the wishes of their leader Shedder. You see Shredder has a plan, and once he finds out the Turtles are alive, he needs their blood in order to carry it out. With the help of a nosey reporter named April O’Neil (Megan Fox) and her trusty driver Vernon (Will Arnett), the Turtles must come together and stop Shredder and his evil Foot Clan.
There might be many words you will want to use to describe this movie after watching it, and I am pretty sure Cowabunga will not be one of them. When a movie not directed by Michael Bay has his fingerprints all over it, you know few good can come out of that. Directed by Jonathan Liedesman (Battle Los Angeles), but feels like Bay, from the slow motion shots, to the tilted shots that litter this movie. With the story written by a team of writers, ok just three, Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, and Evan Daugherty, who gives us a story lacking in any depth. With little substance, and the direction a bad Bay rip-off, you only hope they at least got the Turtles right. Well they actually don’t do too bad, going with a more cartoonish representation. That is about all they get right, with another performance by Fox to question why she even has a job, only to look at her and have that eureka moment. The CGI looks good for the most part, except Splinter’s head looks more like a horse then a rat, making you think every time you see him of making someone an offer they can’t refuse. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, and it still may be good enough for the 8-10 age groups, but after it is all said and done, you won’t be shouting out “go-ninja-go-ninja-go”.