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Moriarty's TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Review!

Y’know, I don’t buy into the idea that a film is only good or enjoyable if you’re already sold on a property. I’m perfectly indifferent to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as an overall property. I read the black-and-white original run of the comics (thanks to the insistence of my buddy Bill Rosemann, the biggest comics nerd I knew), and I enjoyed them as a goof on the world of Marvel, and DAREDEVIL and the various X books in particular. But I thought the live-action films were sort of disastrously weird. Yes, even the first one. And I had no interest at all in the animated series. Walking into the new feature film opening this weekend, I just wanted to see a film that was entertaining on its own, one that worked (or didn’t) no matter what my feelings were about the series overall. Hats off, then, to director Kevin Munroe for making a film that somehow manages to pay tribute to the earlier films in the series and also invite in new viewers with no muss or fuss. I’ll be the first to admit that I watch films through a new prism now that I’m a parent, and I do think about how something is sold and whether it’s appropriate for young viewers or not. I’ve still got a few years before Toshi really starts watching films. For now, he seems content with watching PEE WEE’S PLAYHOUSE on DVD on endless repeat. But when he is ready to see films, then a film like this is perfect for him. It’s exciting, but it’s not violent. It’s a little scary, but it’s not gory. It’s funny, but it’s not so broad that an adult will feel punished for sitting through it. This is the exact definition of what a family film should be: it’s got a little something for everyone, and it doesn’t exclude any part of the audience. For those who are unfamiliar with the basic premise, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES is the story of four turtles who were exposed to something that turned them into mutants. They were trained by a rat named Splinter to be ninjas, and then they embarked on a career of fighting crime in New York while also hiding the truth about their identities. Basic superhero archetypes, but with tongue firmly in cheek. There are a few key human characters, like reporter April O’Neil or vigilante Casey Jones, but the emphasis has always been squarely on the family relationship between the four turtles, and that’s what Munroe has wisely chosen to focus on. In fact, if I have any complaint about the film, it’s that the main plot falls into place a little too easily. There are thirteen monsters that have to be assembled, and they all sort of happen to show up at the exact right time and place to make things simple. Then again, that’s not really the most interesting part of the film. Instead, Munroe made the choice to split the Turtles up at the start of the film. Leonardo’s been sent on a mission to learn how to lead his brothers better, leaving the other three to fend for themselves in his absence. Donatello has become a customer support guy over the phone for computer repair, Michelangelo’s resorted to performing at birthday parties dressed up in a cheesy fake turtle head, and Raphael has taken up a new disguise so he can continue to fight crime every night. When Leo does finally return, everything’s set in motion for what eventually becomes the key scene in the film: Leonardo’s showdown against Raphael, his own brother. I may not be a raving TMNT fan, but I can respect that the reason this series works for fans is because they invest in the dynamic between these characters, and the Leo/Raph thing has been simmering as long as these characters have been around. Munroe pays that off in a fight scene in the rain that is dynamic and exciting, but which also carries a genuine emotional charge. The greatest advantage that this film has over the New Line live-action films is simple: energy. I admire the attempt to bring the Turtles to life using martial artists in giant foam rubber outfits, but it’s pretty much silly from start to finish. Jim Henson’s Creature Shop did everything they could to make them work as flesh-and-blood, and it just... doesn’t. The martial arts were always perfunctory at best, and when you’re dealing with ninja superheroes, it seems like that should be a priority. Munroe’s team of animators, both American and in Hong Kong, have created something that has real kinetic kick, and there are a number of scenes here that convincingly make the argument that this is what Turtles fans have always hoped for but could never see until now. Check out that scene where Mikey skateboards all the way from the surface to the underground hideout. It’s something no live-action director could pull off, and Munroe makes it look effortless. Voice work in the film is good, and I like the choice to use relative unknowns as the four main characters. It results in the Turtles coming across as unique characters and not just movie stars sitting in some recording booth somewhere. Even the “names” in the movie like Sarah Michelle Gellar, Zhang Ziyi, and Chris Evans blend into the world of the movie and never overpower things. I also like the way Patrick Stewart’s “bad guy” really isn’t. It’s a nice writing choice, and it’s played well. Overall, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES is exactly what it set out to be: a reintroduction of the characters to the bigscreen and a family film that actually works for the whole family. If you’re one of those fanboys who demands that everything be “dark” and R-rated and filled with blood and angst, then skip it. But for anyone who wants a solid adventure film with a charming sense of character, TMNT works, and it gives me hope that GATCHAMAN could be something special in a few years. I’ve got more reviews I’ll be writing all weekend long, including GRINDHOUSE, so keep checking in.


Drew McWeeny, Los Angeles

Readers Talkback
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  • March 24, 2007, 10:52 p.m. CST

    TMNT WAS GREAT!!!!!

    by GibsonUSA Returns

    All those below me who disagree have small pee pees.

  • March 24, 2007, 10:53 p.m. CST

    Good on you, man

    by WolfmanNards

    It was a great film

  • March 24, 2007, 11 p.m. CST

    I'm going to check this film out this week

    by Boondock Devil

    A little sad that Elias Koteas wasn't the voice of Casey considering that he was my favorite part of the first live-action film. Well, him and Sam Rockwell's small appearence in the movie.

  • March 24, 2007, 11:07 p.m. CST

    Missed Another Deadline

    by THE KNIGHT

    huh Mori :) I remember you saying you suck at deadlines... Last I heard, this review was supposed to be up on Friday! ahhhh ha!

  • March 24, 2007, 11:09 p.m. CST

    Raphael is the best one.

    by GibsonUSA Returns

    And the new movie further proves this long known fact.

  • March 24, 2007, 11:10 p.m. CST

    Kewl

    by darquelyte

    I'm actually looking forward to this. CGI is clearly the way to go for the Turtles. NICE! ~ÐL

  • March 24, 2007, 11:16 p.m. CST

    Anyone have the Turtle Blimp?

    by georges garvaren

    It was the best toy I ever owned. I think I popped it, or set it on fire, or imagined the whole experience of even having it as a toy. But failing that, fucking great toy. One of my fav nintendo games too. Just great all around, those Turtles are.

  • March 24, 2007, 11:20 p.m. CST

    No, sorry

    by GregoryHarbin

    TMNT sucked. Well-done CG and a few times of 'lol it's Patrick Stewart' isn't enough to make the film GOOD. The plot was bad, most of the acting was bad, and the camerawork was atrocious.<p> The film couldn't get over the fact that it was a kid's movie from start to finish. The one good scene that Moriarty mentions is killed by there being no sense of danger.<p> MAYBE a sequel could improve on this mess, but what I saw tonight was a series of effects shots, not a film.

  • March 24, 2007, 11:25 p.m. CST

    Mori, I think you're wrong on the lack of angst..

    by Thalya

    Raph has it in spades and I'm surprised they managed to go as in depth with it as they did for a "kids movie", especially the fight scene with Leo.<BR><BR>Odd sort of testimonial on that, but I grew up watching the cartoons and the first two live action movies, and Raphael was always my favorite turtle. But here in this new movie...I've had a short fuse for weeks or months now IRL, have recognized it and am trying to work past it, and seeing Raph up there on the screen today going through his issues was something of a relief and a surprise at how emotionally honest they were and how well it worked. So big thumbs up from a 25-year-old gal, life lessons aren't just for kids (and how awesome is it that the medicine goes down with I-forgot-how-great-it-can-be Turtle dialogue like "And I thought Girl Scouts were pushy!").

  • March 24, 2007, 11:27 p.m. CST

    which reminds me

    by GregoryHarbin

    Am I crazy in thinking that Herc's favorite show Gilmore Girls got a quick namecheck in this movie?

  • March 24, 2007, 11:56 p.m. CST

    More like Ninja Turdles.

    by CoursinLarry

    I hate to say it, but I was disappointed. I walked into the theater a Michelangelo fan, I walked out wishing I could slit his CG throat to get him to shut his stupid mouth. I thought that maybe I had just grown past the age of thinking his "jokes" were funny, but thinking back, Mikey had some good lines in the live-action movies. "Yeah. A little TOO Raph" springs instantly to mind. The music in TMNT was ridiculous. If anyone could explain to me why "Black Betty" started blaring when Raph took on that little monster thing, I'd appreciate it. The fight between Leo and Raph was clearly the best part of the movie. Mostly because it was the only fight that we were allowed to see from beginning to end. Having said all that, I can't wait for the sequel.

  • March 25, 2007, 12:04 a.m. CST

    what he said

    by thebearovingian

    When Raphael fought the little red monster thing in the diner, I kept thinking about Hellboy. In fact, the plot feels like a Hellboy nod/imitation/rip-off...? Definitely some similarities at the very least.

  • March 25, 2007, 12:11 a.m. CST

    Harry the Uncle

    by Loosejerk

    Yeah, Harry wouldn't take his nephew to TMNT unless Shredder went all Cannibal Holocaust on these heroes in a half shell. TURTLE POWER!

  • March 25, 2007, 12:22 a.m. CST

    Not TMNT, but it is the final Spidey 3 trailer...

    by Negative Man

    Enjoy! http://www.spiderman3oncomcast.com/

  • March 25, 2007, 12:24 a.m. CST

    Bring on the sequel!

    by oh_riginal

    And bring back Shredder... and make him kickass.... Meanwhile, bring on Mel Gibson for AVP3... but leave the human characters at home... have Patrick Stewart narrate!

  • March 25, 2007, 1 a.m. CST

    Saw it twice

    by Knightsong

    Screen it two nights before the release and then again opening day. It's great fun, and I'll most likely watch it again before it leaves the theater. Can't wait to see what they do with Gatchaman.

  • March 25, 2007, 1:08 a.m. CST

    A little overdone

    by Itblowstherobot

    This felt like the original live action turtles movie but on steroids. Every character had their characteristics pushed to the nth degree (to the point of being kind of annoying): Donatello was a know-it-all, Michaelangelo went from goofy to stoner, Raphael went from conflicted to emo, and Leonardo went from leader to arrogant prick. Also, the music took me completely out of it. I think this might be a generational thing, but the music from the first Turtles movie is really good in that it works for the movie. But other than that I found the movie entertaining

  • March 25, 2007, 1:43 a.m. CST

    Shredder

    by blacklodgebob

    Saw it tonight. Enjoyed it quite a bit. Did the largest nod to shredder have to be a picture from the back of a serial box though? I'm very excited for a potential sequel. TMNT without Shredder is like Zelda without Ganon. Pointless, and more or less unsatisfying.

  • March 25, 2007, 1:46 a.m. CST

    surprisngly good, solid movie

    by misnomer

    if you're not a tmnt fan...then yeah, you can miss this movie...but you could do far worse for 80 minutes of entertainment. some genuinely funny gags in there too.

  • March 25, 2007, 1:50 a.m. CST

    I'll still take live action over CG.

    by GibsonUSA Returns

    I know lots of people that skipped TMNT simply for the fact that it was "another" CG. They wanted their live action Turtles, with Cory Feldman and reporter April, back. Not some X-Box looking thing.

  • March 25, 2007, 1:51 a.m. CST

    AICN Promotes Shitty Movie, Film At 11

    by PervOmatic

    Really people, this movie was fucking crap in a hat, just like the cartoon and the live action films before it. Grow the fuck up and get some taste.

  • March 25, 2007, 1:53 a.m. CST

    P.S. 30% at Rotten Tomatoes

    by PervOmatic

    And this should be a surprise to nobody.

  • March 25, 2007, 2:47 a.m. CST

    Good Review

    by Redfive!

    You Nailed it.This movie wasnt mean to do anything but entertain.Its a re-intro to an old francise that stays true to what it is and it was alot of fun.

  • March 25, 2007, 3:08 a.m. CST

    Oh, come on, you STILL trust in Rotten Tomatoes?

    by DerLanghaarige

    I don't believe everything on AICN either, but they are still more reliable than Rotten Tomatoes!

  • March 25, 2007, 3:10 a.m. CST

    Best TMNT movie ever

    by Tookess

    It was a hell of a lot of fun. I grew up watching/reading/playing TMNT; they've been around all my life and I've stuck around this long, so I might be something of a raving fan, and I gotta say, I enjoyed this movie immensely. Went friday night and the theater was packed. When the letters "TMNT" finally appeared on the screen the audience was all shouts and applause. Some guy shouted "I love you, Michaelangelo!" (hilarious--why didn't I think of that?). The first time each of the turtles appeared on screen the crowd went wild. It was pretty cool to see how much people still love these characters. To be honest, I walked into the theater hoping for the best but expecting the "meh", and I was quite pleasantly surprised. Now, I love the first movie and maybe it's just nostalgia, but I never thought they could(would?) make a better TMNT movie than the first one... until now. It's not perfect: Splinter's voice is impossible to get used to (a couple of guys next to me would start snickering every time he opened his CG mouth); Mike hasn't been this obnoxious in over a decade; Donatello is just there (again), their plastrons look like they're made of foamy, and about half of the jokes fall flat (IMHO). I may find more flaws on second viewing, but I honestly doubt I'll enjoy it any less. I thought it was awesome, and I can't wait for the sequel (hopefully w/ a little Shredder this time, PTB?).

  • March 25, 2007, 3:11 a.m. CST

    RT Doesn't Matter Unless It Supports The Film You Love

    by PervOmatic

    That's right DerLanghaarige, just plug your ears and go "LaLaLaLaLaLaLa!!!" because you don't want to hear the truth. This was about as dumbed down a piece of crap as you can get.

  • March 25, 2007, 3:22 a.m. CST

    CGI

    by oh_riginal

    How about a CGI Alien vs Predator (ya know, since there would be no humans involved to worry about anyway) and of course, have Mel Gibson direct! Mako can narrate! Oh wait... nevermind, sorry. The one movie that must NEVER be CGI'd is Busey vs Nolte! The winner gets to be the villain in TMNT 2!

  • March 25, 2007, 4:09 a.m. CST

    Actually there's a good reason it's low on RT

    by Freakemovie

    ...and that's the mechanics of the plot. I liked the movie, but the needlessly confusing hogwash of a plot -- 13 unleashed monsters, five immortal guys made of stone, one immortal guy not made of stone, etc -- is a major turnoff for professional critics. They just plain don't like dealing with movies that have plots like that, especially 85-minute long kids movies. (Another simple reason: it's way to easy of a target for critics to bitch about how the animation's not up to Pixar standards. The studio has the last laugh, of course, since the budget was less than 40 million.) So the knee-jerk reations of the critics is unfortunate, because I think most of us will see the movie and pay much more attention to the good stuff -- and there's plenty of it. As a long-time Turtles fan, I found it to be very enjoyable; it honored the series and found its own tone at the same time.

  • March 25, 2007, 4:16 a.m. CST

    By the way, have to disagree on one point Moriarty--

    by Freakemovie

    The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie was one of the best movies ever made. (Seriously. I know this is hard to believe, but I'm usually not one to hyperbolize things.) I just watched it for perhaps the 116th time, and I'm more sure of it than ever.<br><br>Raphael: "What Russian novel, embracing more than 500 characters, is set in the Napoleonic Wars?"<br> Donatello: "War and Peace."<br><br> Donatello: "You're a claustrophobic!"<br> Casey Jones: "You want a fist in the mouth? I've never even LOOKED at another guy before!"

  • March 25, 2007, 4:43 a.m. CST

    Freakemovie

    by Boondock Devil

    I love the first movie but "best movie ever" might be pushing things a little. Did kind of like the fact that Shredder just kicked all four Turtles' asses in the end of the movie. A CG Shredder for the sequel (hopefully) would be wonderful to see as long as he is as badass as he was in that movie. Just no cheap falling-off-the-building death next time.

  • March 25, 2007, 5:50 a.m. CST

    PervOmatic sad!

    by DerLanghaarige

    Moriarty likes film, that PervOmatic hates. Makes PervOmatic sad! Poor PervOMatic. Rotten Tomatoes make PervOmatic happy! Rotten Tomatoes says Turtles bad! Rotten Tomatoes says what PervOmatic wants to hear! PervOmatic says everybody who likes Turtles is idiot! PervOmatic must be right! Because PervOmatic shares opinion of Rotten Tomatoes! DerLanghaarige sad. DerLanghaarige wrong. Thinks Rotten Tomatoes is as laughable as imdb-ratings!

  • March 25, 2007, 6:51 a.m. CST

    P.S. IMDb has it rated 7.3 out of 10 right now

    by Boondock Devil

    If anybody even cares about these stupid-ass ratings most of the time. DerLanghaarie is right though; it's about as reliable as RT. The Filthy Critic on the other hand...

  • March 25, 2007, 7:17 a.m. CST

    Saw this last week and

    by emeraldboy

    Really enjoyed it. It looked great. They need a better villian. Getting Fishbourne as the narrator was a masterstroke. The movie is tinged with sadness as it was Mako's final film. This was a movie that suprised me by how good it was. People will take issue about how april O'neill and Casey's characters were changed. We were told that shredder had been defeated, so who is the face from the past, one of the turtles says it cant be...........

  • March 25, 2007, 7:30 a.m. CST

    I Was Offended by the Billboards

    by tonagan

    Wink!

  • March 25, 2007, 8:18 a.m. CST

    freakemovie

    by emeraldboy

    you must referring to the last Turtles film before tmnt. There was no Shredder in TMNT.

  • March 25, 2007, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Much more interesting review than Capone's

    by FilmFanatik

    I loved the movie, despite it's flaws. I will always love these stories. It's my childhood revisited. Of course I'm going to love it. :)

  • March 25, 2007, 8:37 a.m. CST

    Guess I need to see it...

    by justcheckin

    Maybe this week sometime...

  • March 25, 2007, 8:41 a.m. CST

    TMNT - Don't be too "cool" to see it.

    by Vonfolger

    I'm nearly 30 years old and enjoyed nearly every second of it.. Raph's armored suit, Casey Jones and Raph just hanging out on the roof talking, April's ninja abilities... Honestly guys, don't be so sopisticated that you can't enjoy somthing fun and silly like this.

  • March 25, 2007, 8:50 a.m. CST

    Blast from the Past

    by T 1000 xp professional

    is going to have to be Shredder. I would love a Krang, they already set this movie up in fantasy with the whole monster enemies, so why not bring in an alien ; ) ..... this movie was fun, It was made for the fans....The plot was a little off and forced, but it was great. They just need to take more advantage of the fact that its CG. The fights were fantastic, but they need to push it and show the audience there is no way they could've done this without CG. Oh yeah and Michaelangelo rocked, the theatre was laughing for most of his little gags. Man, what a treat this movie was.

  • March 25, 2007, 8:55 a.m. CST

    What ever happened...

    by T 1000 xp professional

    to Kevin Clash. Would they be able to get him for the next one? That would be awesome.

  • March 25, 2007, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Can't wait!

    by Immortal_Fish

    Bringing my 9 year old daughter this afternoon. She's been calling me over to the TV every time the trailer airs, so she can't wait either. Guys, I can't tell you how much of a pleasure it is to share something with her from my childhood like the turtles.<P>BTW, those black and white pre-Archie comics that were supposedly all bad ass, dark, and adult themed... really weren't as you remember. Oh, sure, they were harder than the Archie stuff (which was exactly like the cartoon, e.g. Bebop, Rocksteady, etc), and less silly -- but they sure weren't all Takashi Miike by a stretch. I don't have an entire run, but the ones I took out from my collection yesterday aren't as violent as I remembered them to be.

  • March 25, 2007, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Yep loved this film

    by photoboy

    I totally agree with Mori's review, Monroe did an awesome job continuing the story for old fans as well as introducing the characters for a new audience. If only they'd given the new Transformers film to Monroe instead of that worthless hack Bay.

  • March 25, 2007, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Mediocre

    by McGsStepson

    Some good parts (some fight scenes are beautiful and to see the turtles fly through the streets was great), some bad parts (plot is a mess - there are about 20 villains working together in some form or another to achieve something or another).

  • March 25, 2007, 9:48 a.m. CST

    And why don't they say "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"?

    by McGsStepson

    Anyone know if this is a legal thing? They never say it ONCE in the film. They never print it ONCE in the film (title card says TMNT).

  • March 25, 2007, 10:02 a.m. CST

    Justifaction and the Turtles Blimp

    by Affleckwasthebomb

    After read Morts review I feel my own is a little more justified now. It was all a little bit too conveniet with the monsters and all. And I also had the Turtles Blimp and it was the best toy ever. I asked for it for Christmas one year and my parents tried to get it, went all over the place but you couldn't get the fucker anywhere. Maybe a couple of weeks after Christmas my Mum comes home tells me to get a box out of the boot. I go open the boot and there is the turtels blimp. I nearly shit right there. Best moment I think I can remember as a kid. The fucking toy ruled until I popped it.

  • March 25, 2007, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Do I really need to post a spoiler warning for this?

    by plastroncafe

    What I liked about this movie: - That it really was the best treatment these characters have been given since Mirage's Vol 1. - The voice work was sensational. - The animation was believable and amazingly well done. What I didn't: - Far too many "Dudes". My dislike of "Surfer Mike" goes back to the 80s Cartoon. - The Disneyesque PLOTHAMMER OF DOOM! Seriously, we know it's about family, okay. You can back down. I half expected Mike to remind people that Ohana Means Family, and that Family Means No One Gets Left Behind. - The fight scenes weren't long enough. - The tension may have been a bit too long. I kept thinking about "Shellback Mountain". - Wasn't it implied that Raph was fighting the 13th monster? So where did the big rampaging dinosaur come from? - Where the heck did the medallion things that brought the stone "family" to life come from? With all that said I spent a good deal of time while the house lights were up, and during the movie previews, checking out the demographic of the people in the theater. Place was pretty full for a 10 at night showing of a movie aimed at little kids. I hope it's enough for a sequel, because I know I sure as hell would pay to see one.

  • March 25, 2007, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Walked Out; Ripped Off Gremlins 2 COMPLETELY

    by Flynn Diesel

    About 50 minutes in I ditched. This movie was bad, really, really, really bad. It was too kiddie to be dark, it looked like a Nintendo 64 game, and the lack of Shredder was horrid. (I know, the cliffhanger, but still, no Shredder). Also, the plot was a complete utter ripoff of Gremlins 2. Can't-tell-if-he's-good-or-bad billionaire, monster running around a restaurant, bat-like monster, main humans living together, New York City...this was Gremlins 2 with the turtles, only not funny and poorly executed. Sure to be one of my least favorites of 2007.

  • March 25, 2007, 11:44 a.m. CST

    cowabunga

    by kwisatzhaderach

    shit, all that seems so far away...

  • March 25, 2007, 11:45 a.m. CST

    GregoryHarbin and Gilmore Girls

    by chiahead

    Yeah, I heard the Gilmore Girls reference too. I'm pretty sure that means it was there. If two people heard it. Right? <BR><BR>I totally dug this movie, and for all the reasons Mori stated. Yes yes yes parts of the plot are just too easy and lacked serious consideration, but I forgive that because the stuff that did get serious consideration succeeded. <br>,BR> And a TMNT movie without Shredder is like a Superman movie without Lex Luthor. REALLY REALLY welcome in my opinion. I liked that Munroe saved the iconic bad guy for later. Gives him time to perfect his storytelling a little bit and allows the die hard fans to hope for something a little more epic. <BR><BR> A propos of Surfer Mikey though... I totally thought I'd go in hating his dialogue but I'll be damned if his delivery didn't win me over. "Winters? More like fall." "He's in my mouth now! He's in my mouth!" <BR><BR> the Raph/Leo relationship was so tight and played out almost like Othello- insofar as who gets the final bow then? Othello or Iago? Love that!! <BR><BR>other things I loved: the dialogue on the rooftop scene was soooo sibling rivalry. How many times in my life did my older brother lecture me with 'what were you thinking?' 'you can't' this and 'you can't' that. WHATEVER, you jackass, let me be me. Nome sane? So angsty. Totally made me want to see a ThirtySomething Mutant Ninja Turtle movie where Mikey's like: Dude. I'm thirty. I'm not getting on that board I'll crack my skull open. Get a job.<BR><BR>or something...

  • March 25, 2007, 12:04 p.m. CST

    IT'S A SEQUEL! Great references to the 3 other films...

    by cekma

    Yes filmn is what "Superman Returns" should have been seriously. It was a sequel in the sense 5that it took place after the other films but you did not need to see the other films or have a knowledge of the turtles to enjoy this. At the same time you would appreciate it more by the reference to the other films. A perfect film for the generation that grew up with the turtles, and a perfect film for adults and kids. Sure it has it's problems but damn was it not stunning to look at and the theme of teamwork and leadership was outstanding. I loved all the prior references: The old shredder helmet (1st movie) the ooze canister (2nd movie) the BROKEN Specter (great attention to detail, 3rd movie) And the best reference "2 minutes for high sticking" (from when ralphael meets casey jones for the first time in the first movie, fantastic reference.)

  • March 25, 2007, 12:57 p.m. CST

    SPOILER! That was the 12th monster Raph fought.

    by Lenny Nero

    The dragon thing was the 13th. I was kind of wishing that the final few minutes was the turtles battling the shit out of that dragon. You know it would have been f'ing awesome.

  • March 25, 2007, 1:13 p.m. CST

    gonna see it this week!

    by council estate scumbag

    this'll make up for england last night!

  • March 25, 2007, 2:44 p.m. CST

    We enjoyed it (semi-SPOILERS)

    by Immortal_Fish

    Not a terrific movie, but good enough to put a lift in your shoes as you walk out of the theater with lots of "And what about THIS part?!" conversation on the ride home. Very respectable to the films that came before it in the form of easter eggs (look for Shredder's helmet and an artifact from the third movie). The animation was phenomenal. Inanimate objects looked so photo realistic that my mind didn't register that this was a cartoon until an organic character came onscreen. Some of the sweeping shots on rooftops with cars passing underneath looked fantastic. Excellent texture work on the models too.<P>There were some things that didn't sit well with me, though. Like the new leader of the Foot whatsherface. What's her motive? An out of place use of Black Betty. Do folks even know what that song is about? The stone warriors -- if they wanted to screw Winter's plans, why didn't they simply release all the demons or just stop working for him? And the little red 13th demon must have taken some growth hormones or something before the movie's end.<P>Bottom line, great, great, great fun to see the turtles in action again. I don't buy many DVDs but this will be one of them once it hits the stores.

  • March 25, 2007, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Too turtlish.

    by JackPumpkinhead

    They should have been more EXTREEEEEEEME! Like Buzz Bunny.

  • March 25, 2007, 3:06 p.m. CST

    dood, it was "dark" and it was awesome

    by triplefive

    it was pretty humorless, cause most of the jokes fell flat. not even the kids were laughing, but they were silent and they were into it, thats for sure. And as I was walking out, a little tyke, say 4ish, was "Hi-yahing!" his way out of the theatre. so it worked. and it was moody and serious. im kinda baffled by it now that i think about it.

  • March 25, 2007, 3:08 p.m. CST

    BONUS* TMNT performs live in concert!

    by triplefive

    http://tinyurl.com/3yz99s trust me, it is worth it.

  • March 25, 2007, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Well I guess a sequel's a lock.............

    by GibsonUSA Returns

    Budget is $34 million....opened at $25 million.<BR> Cheap CGI, big bucks..equals sequel time. Hope they don't rush it. It's be cool as fuck if they named the sequel TMNT5...but they are not that cool so it will probably be called TMNT2.

  • March 25, 2007, 3:53 p.m. CST

    TMNT SUCK.

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    real hard

  • March 25, 2007, 4 p.m. CST

    Gosh, Motoko Kusanagi

    by Immortal_Fish

    When I grow up, I wanna be just like you.

  • March 25, 2007, 5:25 p.m. CST

    LOL triplefive

    by clockpolitiks

    I've never seen that before, but it's hilarious.

  • March 25, 2007, 5:44 p.m. CST

    loved it

    by waggy

    worth the price of admission for the raph/leo fight alone. i seriously don't know what a supposed "fan" of the ninja turtles wouldn't like about it (yes, aside from the lack of shredder. does every batman movie need the joker in it?).

  • March 25, 2007, 5:56 p.m. CST

    TERRIBLE script! Awesome visuals!

    by Womb2dooM

    I expected things to be simpler for the wee folk but COME ON!!! The story was crap, Donatello had, I think, three lines. Michaelangelo was *special* in all the wrong ways (give the man a blankey). I think I genuinely laughed at two jokes (i actually found the little crazy monster hilarious). Splinter was an irredeemable joke ("I'm going to watch my stories"). But the reason I liked it way more then I should have was due to the one man who almost cocked the whole thing up - Kevin Munroe (as writer and director). His visual energy, choreography and animation were some of the best I've seen. Cannot wait for the sequel (they usually fix mistakes in those...right?)!!!

  • March 25, 2007, 6:40 p.m. CST

    this film was FUN!

    by gusradio

    Really good time! it's great to get thrown a bone.

  • March 25, 2007, 11:35 p.m. CST

    The first two movies won't be beaten

    by performingmonkey

    OK OKAY!! there were terrible things, particularly about the second movie, but they were also funny and fairly dark in places (I liked that even though I'm not one of those idiots who thinks everything has to be 'dark' and 'mature' and 'hardcore' and has long black hair and thinks he's 'deep' and 'misunderstood' and smoking weed that he doesn't realise is of the shittiest quality ever and that his 'supplier' is just laughing at him while raking in the profits and fucking a fresh, ripe whore every weekend while his wife sits at home with a buttplug and a copy of Anally Attentive 7 surrounded by three men urinating on her tits). The third movie is also watchable. And I disagree that the restrictions of the turtle suits made the fighting crap. I think they did a good job. Splinter was also VERY cool, not like the harsh version we get here in TMNT.

  • March 26, 2007, 12:42 a.m. CST

    The movie's great. Now, I

    by JediWuddayaknow

    The movie's great. Now, I know Rotten Tomatoes, the site that's supposed to change our opinions says it's not good, but really, I'd rather see things for myself. If you're a jaded, failed film maker like I'd assume most of the assholes on here are, then yeah, you probably won't like it. If you can't just sit back and watch a movie to have fun, then yes, you will hate this movie. One thing you need to keep in mind about this movie is that it IS a children's movie. It's not like fucking Harry Potter where the storyline becomes more mature with the characters. It's a movie about fucking mutated turtles who can talk and perform martial arts. You whiney fucks need to get over yourselves. We know, you watch a lot of movies and therefore know everything about film and could do everything better than everyone else. Good for you. Noone's impressed, and, still, noone cares. That said, pretty much the only tie you're getting to the original two movies is a nod that they happened. But now they can do things they couldn't in the originals. Their personalities have changed a bit. Things have gone more to extremes. But it's a fun movie if you can sit back and just watch it to have fun. And, y'know what? I liked the Black Betty scene. I thought it was hilarious. It set a mood for the scene in it's tempo and beat. So the words didn't match it or anything, who cares? It was fun.

  • March 26, 2007, 1:21 a.m. CST

    Damn you Michael Bay

    by MCMLXXVII

    Damn you Michael Bay

  • March 26, 2007, 1:32 a.m. CST

    Saw this a week ago, it was shallow but fun.

    by Novaman5000

    i wish the plot had more depth and wasn't so convenient, but it looked great and it was an enjoyable watch. Also, some of the dialogue was TERRIBLE, but michaelangelo's bad jokes had me chuckling more often than not. Particularly one during the final battle that's so bad you have to laugh.

  • March 26, 2007, 3:33 a.m. CST

    finally a review from someone who actually SAW the film

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    good job mori. the family and i went to see it the other day and we all loved it. as a fan i saw some of the same flaws you and others pointed out, but as a fan i also am willing to forgive minor things and just enjoy myself. something a lot of so called "fans" of certain franchises cant seem to do very well.

  • March 26, 2007, 9:16 a.m. CST

    The movie got things right as often as it struck out...

    by rbatty024

    The film had some problems juggling the comedy and the action/drama. It also suffered from the American animation plague that causes all cgi films to have nonstop talking or music. For some reason American animators can't just trust the audience to enjoy their pretty pictures. This also caused the movie to be a little melodramatic. However, I'm glad they understood the characters enough to realize they're a family and to locate the tension between Raph and Leo. There were some genuinely funny moments, like Splinter's "stories" and the action scenes were pretty cool. I liked the animation. It was one of the few times cgi humans didn't look creepy. I'm pretty much hoping for a sequels that's better than the first one.

  • March 26, 2007, 10:34 a.m. CST

    No. 1 This weekend

    by TimBenzedrine

    Sure the animation looked cheap and the storyline didn't look like it was any better or worse than the cartoon series, but hey, the nostalgia factor was probably enough to attract an audience. I haven't seen it yet, but it's likely I'll take my son and his cousin next weekend.

  • March 26, 2007, 10:45 a.m. CST

    if youuuuu critically review a cgi movie...

    by purplemonkeydw

    about turtles that are ninjas...you might be a nerd. --The Fake Jeff Foxworthy

  • March 26, 2007, 12:41 p.m. CST

    KOREAN animators? Here we go again.

    by Harry Weinstein

    Imagi's out of Hong Kong, whose filmmakers are probably well sick and tired of getting mixed up with other countries by Americans particularly after the Oscars gave Japan credit for INFERNAL AFFAIRS. I'll spare you the snark I'd usually unload on someone making such an easily corrected mistake and chalk it up as a typo because you're Moriarty, and you've demonstrated a lack of such ignorance on these matters numerous times writing about numerous films. A correction would be cool, though.

  • March 26, 2007, 2:19 p.m. CST

    Harry...

    by drew mcweeny

    ... thanks for the catch. I'll correct that now. The sad part is, I even spoke with Kevin Munroe about the experience of working with his overseas team, and I still goofed it up.

  • March 26, 2007, 4:58 p.m. CST

    Does one of the turtles yell "Kawabunga?"

    by www.valiens.com

    That's the part that worries me: the surfer turtle voice. Fucking turn-off.

  • March 26, 2007, 10:09 p.m. CST

    TMNT was awesome

    by Raphman

    The animation was spectacular. Whoever said it looked cheap needs to have the dick slapped out of them. It looked better than any CGI film in recent years. The voice acting was superb. The 4 Turtle's VA's especially deserve an award. The story was actually pretty solid. It focused more on developing the characters and keeping them true to their comic book roots. Sure the monster thing felt a little underdeveloped, but it was never the main focus of the movie. The main focus was the reuniting of the family, and they pulled it off. The humor was alos well played. No fart jokes, it was just all character based, Don especially had alot of great lines, even if he wasn't in the spotlight. The fight between Leo and Raph is worth the ticket price alone, the animation was beautiful and you could really feel the tension between the two. It was a short movie, but it was a damn good short movie. Anyone who says otherwise can fucking eat me.

  • March 30, 2007, 7:32 a.m. CST

    VANILLA ICE

    by Ryder

    this is a great, flawed, but fun Turtles movie that almost... almost completely erases memories of Vanilla Ice doing the 'Ninja Rap'... 'go ninja go ninja go'... ugh