People want heroes…but heroes are not born, they’re created.
So this is our first installment of four reviews of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle films.
So I know those of you who haven’t been following me, and have stumbled upon this post are probably really confused. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? As a horror film? NO WAY.
I know you are all saying to yourselves, hey this is a superhero movie, not a horror film. Au contraire, you see the turtles are radioactively enhanced to be larger; agile, smarter, etc. In fact the only thing that separates them from other radioactively changed creatures: such as the ants in Them, the giant spider in the Tarantula, or even Godzilla. They choosing to use their abilities for good and be superheroes doesn’t change the fact of how they were made.
You also might be wondering why am I starting with the 2014 film instead of the 1990 one? Well I decided that I would review the one with the closest horror film components, as these turtles are engineered in a lab instead of accidentally created, just like Frankenstein.
It might be a little confusing working backwards, but fun all the same. So here we go.
So as you know I hate remakes and sequels.
I was not excited about this film coming out at all. And when I heard that Michael Bay was directing?
It’s going to suck. I just knew I would hate it.
But then, I had some friends tell me they liked it and really enjoyed it. I thought, okay. I’ll watch it, I’ll see how it is.
So I went to the movies and I sat through it. And I really tried to be objective, I really tried to be open and like the film. The only problem was that it sucked.
It had some good things, but on a whole it was boring, ugly, the same-old-same-old, and stupid. I hated it. I hated everything they did. They ruined the turtles!
So let’s get started on the actual review.
So I liked the beginning comic book look for the credits, that was okay although I didn’t like the backstory. I mean it makes no sense that Splinter would want to prepare the turtles to fight Shredder and the Foot clan, unless they had a backstory and prior knowledge of each other, like in the original. This made no sense whatsoever. It was just so stupid!
So Megan Fox as April O’Neal. Why, why would you do that? She is a horrible actress because she doesn’t act. If you put her, Kristen Stewart, and Channing Tatum in a room with a pile of wood, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between any of them.
Now the whole April O’Neal being a young, fluff reporter trying to make it as a serious journalist, at first put me off…but afterwards I didn’t mind it so much.
I prefer the established April, but I didn’t mind that change. I know they wanted to make her young, “hot”, and more relatable to the viewers.
So this is the first film to have Vernon, a character from the original cartoon TV show. Instead of being an egotistical jerk, he’s one of those “ugh guys”. You know the type that tries to be Fonzie, but isn’t anywhere as cool as him.
So April is looking for a way to break into the serious news scene. She has been hearing rumors of these vigilantes fighting back. She knows there is more but no one will talk to her. One dock hand says he knows a guy that will talk to her later, at night.
That night April heads to the docks to get answers.
Excuse me? At night? What person in their right mind would head down to the docks in the middle of the night?
That seriously has to be the stupidest thing anyone could do.
So April spots a group of people breaking into the storage containers at the docks and of course calls the police.
Oh wait, I’m sorry. That would have been the smart thing to do. Instead she goes to record it, but her phone starts dying. Her phone can’t record anymore, as the battery is too low, but instead of making a phone call to the police and reporting it, she gets closer!
April in the other film was much better as she made smarter decisions.
So this April witnesses the Turtles fighting, sort of. It’s too dark to make it out what is actually happening. She sees the graffiti mark they leave behind and photographs it.
The next day she goes to speak to her supervisor, Whoopi Goldberg. Now this is a big problem with this film. In the original, the actors became the characters. They were all well-known people before the film, but they were just so awesome they became them. In this the stars don’t make you forget, they constantly push it into your face that they are Megan Fox and Whoopi. It would have been better of they had picked different people.
Whoopi is especially distracting as I don’t even know what her character name is.
I also think it is so stupid that she would throw her idea out there in front of everyone instead of going to speak to her editor one-on-one. She should have waited until later.
So then we switch to our first introduction of Shredder. I thought this was okay. We watch Shredder blindfolded in the shadows, masking his face and fighting the Foot clan. I like that they all speak in Japanese. That was pretty cool.
Now the thing I hate, is they make a big deal on keeping Shredder in the shadows and masking his face, just like in the original, only to show his face and then go back to the shadows. WHY WOULD YOU BOTHER TO KEEP HIM IN THE SHADOWS AND THEN SHOW HIM WHEN IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE A BIG REVEAL.
And as we are sidenoting, have you noticed how every single person has green eyes in this film? Do you know how rare that is? I have natural green eyes and hardly run into anyone who has them (naturally). In fact let’s get the statistics.
“Green eye color is the rarest color found around the world, and it is estimated that only around 2% of the world’s population has green colored eyes.”
But yet every single person in this film has been given the green contacts. Seriously, Michael Bay back down.
That night April heads down to a big event in which Eric Sacks, gazillionaire, is teaming up with the NYPD to fight crime. And of course, obvious bad guy is obvious.
- Owns a huge corporation? ✓
- Has gazillions of dollars? ✓
- Talks in a creepy voice oozing with evil intentions so that all know he is evil ✓
And of course he’s connected to April.
Yep, as I said this films is full of boring film cliches. He and April’s father used to work together, until a fire destroyed the whole lab, April’s father having died in the process. Same old, same old.
Later that night, Megan oops, I mean April, comes across the Foot clan taking hostages in the subway. Instead of calling the police or the paper, she runs toward the action and gets herself taken a hostage.
Then she takes footage with her iPhone. Hello, you are taken hostage by people who have no qualms about killing, and while in plain sight you are going to film them?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She has no common sense at all.
The Turtles come and knock out all the lights, and defeat the Foot clan. Instead of calling the paper and sharing her story, a real story in which could actually help her break into serious reporting, she takes off after the Turtles trying to get a picture of them. She gets one from far away and of poor quality.
To be honest it is their own faults. Why would they hang around the area after fighting of they don’t want to get caught.
So the Turtles grab her and take her phone. Now why would you do that. Okay in the original April is knocked out and Raphael has no idea what to do. He’s not sure if she is seriously hurt and can’t drop her off at a hospital, so he takes her home. In this the girl is far away, taking a photo at night. The best you are going to get is light flashes, black, and blur. Let it go. Who’s going to believe the story of giant turtles anyway?
But NOOO, they decide, let’s reaffirm her ideas we exist by showing ourselves to her and that they we ARE real.
And I hate the way they made the Turtles. They don’t look real and in the picture. You can tell they are CGI, they just feel fake. And don’t tell me that “that’s the way CGI works”, we had CGI in 2001 with Lord of the Rings, and the stuff in there looks way better than some of the stuff we have today.
They also say their “real names” in front of her. Come on, these are teenagers who love pop culture and have never read/seen any superhero thing and realized they need to protect their “secret identity.”
After this whole thing, April runs home trying to figure out where she heard those names before. Excuses me? What happened to the hostage story? That’s a good story. She needs to pitch it to her bosses while she works on the other one. This is why an older, established April works. In the other movies, April played up pieces while continuing to research into the complete story.
She goes home and finds her old home videos she made of her dad’s lab before he died. Now let me ask you one question. What are the odds that she would have brought those old tapes with her? More likely they would be home and she would have to ask her mom to check the attic or her room for her old stuff.
Anyways, in the videos she named the four turtles that her father is experimenting on. First of all, how would a six-year old even know the names of four great famous artists like Michaelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, and Leonardo? I mean I knew them because I watched the Ninja Turtles. It makes more sense to have Splinter choose those names out of a book he found.
It turns out that April spent lots of time there, feeding the turtles pizza. Excuse me, would scientists conducting an experiment and heavily monitoring everything, allow the turtles to be feed pizza and possibly skew the results? And why do they only eat cheese pizza in this, turtles eat meat more than dairy?(My niece has a turtle, so I know.)
“Never feed a turtle dairy products, as their stomach cannot properly digest lactose.”
So if they are radioactively changed to eat dairy, why not let them eat everything else on the pizza like in the original, TV show, and comics?
April decides that this is her in with a story.
Meanwhile, in the sewer the turtles try to sneak in, but Splinter catches them. Now Splinter freaks me out.
I can’t look at him. You guys might not have realized this, but rats are creepy looking. And this version of Splinter is the creepiest. At least in the original he was older, cuddly, cute, and pulled on your heartstrings. You know, an animal version of Mr. Miyagi. This one is a more active rat; mean and more of an instructor than a father. Yes in the original, Splinter was their Ninja instructor/master, but he was also their father and moved between both roles, knowing when to discipline and when to love. In this, Splinter was just cruel and cold, no Fatherly twinges at all. They tell Splinter the truth, and he warns them that April will be in danger, they must go save her.
Plus we have the same old plot of Raphael fighting with Leonardo to be the leader. Blah! Boring!
It was great in the first film, and worked for the second, but again? Jeez, guys. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!!! It’s boring to repeat the same thing over and over again.
Back on the surface, April has decided that she will give her story of giant Mutant turtles fighting evil and leaving graffiti to her editor in front of everyone. Like that is the stupidest thing I have ever seen. Did she not hear how crazy she sounds? Would she really bring all this with zero proof? Like why? This is dumber than dumb.
And of course she gets fired, like no duh. What were you expecting?
She then she heads over to see Eric Sacks to tell him the turtles exist, and we have that old cliché of going to see someone for help and they are actually evil.
There Eric shares his back story (Why?) and we find out he grew up in Japan where he was abandoned by his father. He was reared by his mentor/martial arts instructor. This instructor told him an ancient story of Japan and a warlord that took over when crime was running rampant or something. I don’t know. He hands her his card in case she needs anything, and April leaves. Obvious tracker is obvious.
After April leaves, Eric talk to Shredder who is his mentor that raised him. Now the Shredder in here is boring.
Originally Eric Sacks was supposed to be the Shredder, but they changed that because fans were upset that the Shredder wasn’t going to be Japanese. They then gave both zero character. Shredder has no real motive, reason, or any development.
The original was AWESOME!!! Why? Well we don’t see the Shredder for most of the figure, just his assistant Tatsu. Then when we are introduced to the Shredder, he is awesome. Taking down people, being scary, evil, all-around awesome bad guy. Then we hear Splinter’s tale of his master being killed by Oroku Saki, and how horrible he was. Only in the end to have it revealed that Oroku Saki and the Shredder are the same person.
So April starts looking online to get more information when Donatello hacks into her computer and tells her to meet them at a certain address. Let me tell you that is the creepiest thing I have ever heard. They sound as if they are going to murder her!!
And she actually goes there alone, without telling anybody, the middle of nowhere. Man this girl is just asking to die.
They take April to the sewers and it is the first film to bridge the actual distance of the fact that they are in a sewer, you know a place where poop is.
So here we have the Bay version of the back story. In the original Splinter’s master, Hamata Yoshi and Oroku Saki were rivals in martial arts and in love. They were supposed to fight to the death for the hand of Tang Shen, but as she loved Yoshi and didn’t want to risk his death, they ran off together to America. Oroku Saki doesn’t give up and years later, he tracks them down and murders them. Splinter becomes incensed and attacks Oroku, disfiguring his face. He gets thrown out and winds up in the sewer coming upon four turtles and radioactive ooze. This mutates them and makes them bigger, smarter, stronger, etc. Splinter changes to, and can read, finding a book on painters, naming his adopted turtle children after the people in the book. They find a home in the sewer where he teaches them the secret art of ninja he witnessed his master doing, now not only remembering but able to teach them.
In Bay’s version, April’s father and Eric Sacks were working on some kind of mutagen that will increase immunity, make you stronger, and the rest unsure of what exactly. They experimented on four turtles and a rat. April’s father was a good scientist only wanting to increase knowledge, while Eric Sacks is evil after money. Same old, same old.
When April’s father figures this out, he tries to destroy everything, by burning down the lab. It’s kind of his fault he died. April somehow was there and rescued the turtles and Splinter releasing them into the sewer. Okay, if April’s father was to destroy a lab with fire, why would he bring his six year old along?
And why do they always have a bad scientist and a good scientist. It’s boring and been in everything from The Amazing Spider-man to The Fantastic Four. And you notice the father that died is always morally upright. I was thinking that is one of the things that makes Star Wars so awesome. They aren’t afraid to go there, they aren’t afraid to have their hero deal with a moral issue of what is right, should I follow in my father’s footsteps, etc.
So in this after being in the sewer, Splinter just happened to come upon a book on Ninjitsu, teaching himself and then the kids. That’s as stupid as when Danny is trying to teach himself karate in The Karate Kid. You can’t learn martial arts from a book. Especially Ninjitsu. Ninjitsu isn’t a real martial art, the Ninjas were assassins, the only way to learn is to be taught. It is the dumbest thing I have ever heard and the dumbest backstory ever!
And if the rat is from America and grew up in a lab how does he know so much about Japan? The culture, the essence, etc? If the film took place earlier, it might work as the ’90s were a plethora of ninja things. But in this version, the film takes place in 2014, the turtles are 15-16, which means that the kids and Splinter start their “mutant” life in 1998-1999, meaning they grew up in the 2000s. That means that Splinter should know nothing about Ninjas, Japan, etc. If anything, they should be obsessed with cops and CSI.
So back on Shredder, Eric Sacks has given him an ugly robotic suit. Just no, no, no, no.
And with Shredder, why do you keep putting his face in shadow? You already showed us his face, why bother?
So the Shredder comes with the Foot to take down the Turtles and kidnap them for their blood. They trip the alarm. And booby traps. Wait no, no, no that is not what happens. In a world where the Turtles have every kind of tech in the world that exists and more that Donatello made, they have nothing whatsoever to protect their hideout?
In the original it made sense, the only tech they had was cable. They lived off what they scrounged. So they don’t have any booby traps or worries about people finding them. In this, they have a gargantuan amount of tech, but no security system? These boys read superhero comics and watch TV, they should have thought to have something.
So Shredder and Splinter fight. I do like how Splinter is younger and can fight, using his tail to as a weapon. But it was kind of sad too, as Splinter is no longer Mr. Miyagi, but now Jackie Chan. However, there is a weird dynamic between the two. Shredder and Splinter act as if they are mortal enemies, but why?
In this film they have no connection to each other. They know nothing of each other, really. In the original they fight because Splinter ruined his face, and when Shredder sees him, he becomes enraged. In this Shredder even calls Splinter a “father”. How would he know that?
I hate the Shredder’s fighting style too. In the original he was a master martial artist and we see him actually fight. In this one, it’s more the tech on his suit. BORING!!!
They knock Splinter out (dropping a wall on him), and Raphael. They steal the other three.
As April only has a bike, she calls up Vernon to help them. When he gets there she tells him she needs a ride to the Sacks estate as they need to save the TMNT.
Jeez April, Vernon hasn’t been spending every moment with her, he doesn’t know what’s what. You need to give it to him a bit slower. You sound like a psycho.
Raphael reveals himself, and they all head off to the Sacks estate.
At the Sacks estate, Eric reveals his evil plans. They want their blood to make an antidote for a virus they created and will be releasing onto the world. The reason? MONEY!!! People dying will pay through the nose for it. Even though Eric is a gazillionare, he wants more. Like world domination would make way more sense than money?
April and Vernon crash into the estate and go in to save the turtles. As they are fighting, they manage to release the turtles giving them shots of adrenaline. Now I tried to discover of this would really help, and it seems adrenaline can reduce blood loss, but there was nothing there on bringing people back after massive blood loss. I’m saying, they died. The end.
The group hijacks a truck and makes there way down to save the day. Now this scene has some stupid parts, but it was pretty cool. The only thing I hate, they made Donatello more than the nerdy one, they downright Urkeled him. I hate that.
The elevator scene, probably the best part in the whole series. Cute and funny.
They go to do the final fight with Shredder and I hated it. It was boring, cliche, and there is no way they would have survived.
April manages to secure the mutagen. She later attacks Shredder trying to channel Indigo Montoya but failing.
The Turtles then band together with a maneuver that allows them to push Shredder off the roof. Donnie goes to stop the toxin’s release as Shredder pulls himself back up. Leo, Raph, and Mikey continue to hold him off, and Donnie is able to stop the release with a second to spare. Shredder then tries to knock the top of the tower down, and the Turtles try holding it back as April gets to the roof and shows off the mutagen to Shredder to distract him. The top of the tower comes crashing down as Shredder lunges at April and throws them both off.
What was the Shredder’s plan here? Run toward crumbling architecture?
They hang on for dear life, and the Turtles try to save April. Shredder tries to finish them off, but Leo throws his katana at him, causing Shredder to lose balance and fall to the ground.
We know he doesn’t die as you can’t really kill the Shredder. He’s always needed for the sequel.
The top of the tower comes loose, taking April and the Turtles with it. Then we hear this really boring thing from Raphael, blah blah blah. I’ve already checked out.
And when everything is done, EVERYONE HAS SEEN THE TURTLES!!! WORST NINJAS EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In the end Vernon still trying to put the moves on April, and failing. We end with Happy Together a sad song about hoping you aren’t dumped instead of the awesome and pumping turtle power or Go Ninja or anything.
It pretty much it sucked and was absolutely horrible. Once again, Michael Bay trying to destroy everything I love.
Why did they ever have to remake it?
But there is one good thing to come out of this: How It Should Have Ended
To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)
For the previous post, go to A Matter of Loaf and Death: Wallace and Gromit (2008)
For more on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, go to Return of the Fandom
For more How It Should Have Ended, go to We’re Mad Scientists. We’re Monsters: Avengers, Age of Ultron (2015)
For more sucky remakes, go to Don’t F*** With the Original: Scre4m (2011)