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teenage mutant ninja turtles

There’s a lot to like about TMNT, but maybe not all the right things. First and foremost those of us who are in our early 20’s and grew up with the original cartoon and spent endless quarters in the arcades hammering on the old Konami cabinet will find a lot to like about the new film as seeing the mutant turtles on the big screen again is enough to satisfy.

For newcomers to the series, TMNT offers an ample introduction to the turtles, their master, and their fallen foe, The Shredder, who is reduced to nothing more than a two line explanation. In fact, that’s the reason many fans of the franchise will be disappointed with this 2007 update, many of the elements we remember have been taken out and a new, cliché-riddled storyline has been put in place concerning monsters from another dimension and an immortal business man with unknown intentions.

While a majority of the film focuses on the turtles and the fallout from the Shredder’s death (being a sequel to the live action films of the early 1990’s) one can consider this a reintroduction to the characters and a way to get them back on the big screen and set up sequels, this update is lacking in many things we would have expected to see. After abolishing Krang and the Technodrome from the live action films and putting a laughable third installment out, the fans of the franchise can only hope that Mirage and the film’s license holders come back to the comics, and even the recent cartoon series which provides a reasonable update to the characters as well.

With that said, TMNT is an enjoyable way to spent 87 minutes at the theater if you aren’t expecting brilliant storytelling and an endless supply of jokes. Few and far between does the humor resonate with the audience and, as mentioned before, the story could have been a little more relevant to long time fans of the series that would have killed to see a Shredder vs. Splinter match up on the big screen again.

What TMNT does very well is animation and the designers at IMAGI should be commended in as many ways possible for bringing the unique style they have devised to the big screen with the flair and technical prowess the studio has. One particular action scene has Raphael and Leonardo squaring off on the rooftop in the rain. As the camera moves around and eventually ends up peering up from the ground, the real beauty of the movie is shown.

For being as anticipated as it was TMNT does disappoint in some respects, but when you look at it as the first part of a new silver-screen legacy for the mutated turtles you can see where the creators were going and how they might be able to really turn on the nostalgia with some very ambiguous lines towards the end of the film. Could the Shredder or Krang be back the next time around? If they want to keep the fans enticed in this rebirth, they had better plan on it.