TMNT (2007, animated)
Plot: After opening a portal to another dimension 3,000 years ago, the great and powerful warrior Yaotl became immortal and unleashed 13 monsters while the power of the portal also turned his Generals to stone. Now in present time, the portal is set to open again as Yaotl (under a different guise) sets out to find the monsters and release his Generals. It’s up to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to stop him, but they are having trouble coming together as a team when their leader, Leonardo (James Arnold Taylor), returns from a long absence.
Despite being a huge Turtles fan, I had no idea what this movie was all about, and had absolutely no expectations. I barely acknowledged the film’s existence. But after seeing it, I was completely floored. This is a solid movie, one worthy of the Ninja Turtle name. The characters are all dead on. I love Donatello working as an IT technical support guy. Michelangelo is cracking jokes left and right, and we get a classic skateboard scene complete with ‘Cowabunga.’ Casey Jones and April are back, although I’m not sure how I feel about April being a trained Ninja. But I guess it was time. Splinter is as wise as ever. I especially love the scenes where he has individual heart-to-hearts with Leonardo and Raphael. The soul of the movie though is the rift between Leonardo and Raphael. This is the most well done I’ve ever seen it. It’s completely riveting. And when they finally have it out: holy shit. The voice acting is great all around. They embody the characters perfectly. As great as the characterization of the Turtles are, I wish I could love this movie more. TMNT is significantly weakened by the absence of Shredder. He’s briefly mentioned in the prologue and teased at the end, but that’s it. The villains are a complete waste of time, as is the story. Some bull shit about a portal opening 3,000 years ago and rounding up a bunch of monsters. Come on…the turtles deserve better. The heart of the movie is the Turtles learning how to come together as a team again, which fires on all cylinders. But the film desperately needed a villain. The Foot Clan returns and is lead by the female Ninja Karai. She’s a solid character, but the Foot Clan’s presence in the film was very minimal. We do get to see the Turtles fight a bunch of them towards the end which is always satisfying. What’s really cool about this movie is that you realize you are watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4 at the end. We see the scepter from Turtles 3, the TGRI can, and Shredder’s mask. It’s all there. Raphael’s voice is practically identical to the one he had in the live action movies. This film came out of nowhere, and I appreciate it washing the taste of Turtles 3 out of my mouth. All the main characters are great…I just wish there was a story.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (Very Good)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):
Best Performance: Mako as Splinter
-At first I didn’t like the voice, but as the movie went on, it grew on me quite a bit. It’s classic Splinter.
Worst Performance: John Di Maggio as Colonel Santino
-I didn’t have any problems with the voice acting, so I had to dig deep for this one. He’s at the beginning for one scene. Leonardo bags him and that’s it. The voice was just a little bit of over acting, but whatever.
Best Line: “You aren’t ready. You’re impatient and hot-tempered. And more importantly, I’m better than you.” –Leonardo to Raphael
-Leonardo has the tendency to be a prick sometimes, but he really goes all out with this one. The look on Raphael’s face was priceless, and it’s the reason why this line won the category.
Worst Line: “Sewer’s up, bra.” –Michelangelo while skateboarding
-Michelangelo is probably the only movie character in existence who I don’t mind hearing bad jokes and puns from. But saying ‘bra’ was pretty annoying.
-Leonardo Vs Raphael is simply epic. They just go all out. The build up was incredible. It’s a fight almost 20 years in the making. Not only that, but it had a surprise ending as Raphael actually beats Leonardo, cracking his katana swords into oblivion. Did Leonardo hold back at the end? We’ll never know. One of the greatest movie fights of all time.
-How does no one know Raphael is the vigilante Nightwatcher? Thank goodness for Casey, the only guy who immediately figured it out who rightfully says, ‘You look like a big metal turtle.’
-It’s definitely the lead up to the Leo/Raph fight. They have it out with dialogue before fighting. The back and forth is compelling. And I love the sound of the rain hitting Raphael’s metal armor.
-I could have done without Raphael bumbling around a restaurant kitchen trying to catch a Gremlin like monster.
-Max Winters falls from a ledge onto the museum floor. Here’s what transpires:
Michelangelo: ‘Looks more like Fall. Get it?’
I admit this is a terrible joke, but coming from Michelangelo, it’s a laugh riot. And it’s followed up by a great Donatello line: ‘Mikey, remember our talk.’
Bad Ass Moment:
-Seeing Raphael for the first time as he watches over the city on his bad ass motorcycle and covered in metal armor was a sight to see.