Monday, January 01, 2001


I was a Turtles fan, I read the comic, played the role playing game (don’t you dare judge me), watched the watered down cartoon, played the arcade game, got excited by and then disappointed by the live action movie. I even bought the single "T-U-R-T-L-E POWER!" by Partners in Kryme and to my shame played it so much I still remember most of the words. Why am I telling you this, apart from that self destructive part of my brain trying to destroy my social life? Well it’s important as a journalist to try to be impartial or as that, many would argue, is impossible, at least try to acknowledge your bias.

TMNT got panned in the box office by the other comic book property, 300, and its easy to see why; the film plays like an extended version of the watered down cartoon (remember when they changed the name from Ninja to Hero Turtles?) all be it slightly darker in tone. It starts where the live action movies left off, Shredder defeated and the brothers split, and then there is nonsense about ancient immortal warrior kings and thirteen monsters, that is, frankly, overly complicated, drags round the middle, and unsuitably grandiose. The narrative didn’t have to be as epic or complicated because what is most interesting, and the source of the films only heart-warming moments, is the tension between Leonardo (reluctant and humble leader) and Raphael (hot-headed maverick). Other such interesting and vaguely adult plot points are started but then quickly forgotten, probably edited out, sacrificed in recognition of today’s average child’s minuscule attention span, these included Casey Jones fear of settling down and the potential revenge of the Foot Clan at the hands of a hateful daughter.

Most kids’ films make concessions to the adult audience, normally little moments or quips like in the Incredibles, who TMNT owes all of its visual and animation style, but this film had none, not a wry smile or pop culture reference anywhere. The visuals were sometimes interesting, especially the sweeping camera shots through the battle scenes, that are cleverly done not only do they look good but although it looks pretty violent, there never really any violence on screen, which is sweet really considering most of the audience probably spent the morning killing hookers and shooting nuns while playing GTA.

So if you are one of those twenty year olds planning to “recapture their youth” then bear in mind your going to see a kid’s film, and not a very good one at that.



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