Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) had everything going against it. It had years of delays. It had outrageous Hollywood twists (like making them aliens). It has Michael Bay as the executive producer and voice of the project. Yet, thanks to Nickelodeon holding the reins and Jonathan Liebesman as it’s director, TMNT is a fun, over the top, exciting superhero comedy that stayed true to the modern incarnation of the characters brought forth by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.
TMNT never takes itself too seriously and knows what it is, a ludicrous idea that hit big in the mid-80s, which Generation X fell in love with and continues to ride the nostalgia train. From when I was in single digits to adulthood, TMNT holds a special place in my heart. Yes, it’s over the top. Yes, it’s CGI overload. Yes, character development is rushed, but who cares? It’s TEENAGE. MUTANT. NINJA. TURTLES!!! They were trained ninjutsu by a giant rat. They skateboard in a sewer and fight a villain known as the Shredder.
The name dropping of other superhero properties and incorporating lines from the original ’80s series will tickle your geek funny bone. The only real issue for me was, why bring in other actors to voice the Turtles who sound similar to the cast on the animated series? That’s like telling Mel Blanc, “Hey, you’re the original voice of Bugs Bunny; well we got a guy who sounds almost exactly like you!” Is Johnny Knoxville that much of a bigger draw than Jason Biggs? Is Alan Richtson more recognizable than Sean Aston? Rob Paulsen has been a Ninja Turtle in two incarnations of the beloved reptiles.
Forget about the casting choices, grab your popcorn, put on your 3-D glasses (that’s a rare suggestion from me) and allow yourself to enjoy this action comedy.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens nationwide Friday, August 8, 2014