Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows


★★

Directed by Dave Green

Starring: Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Brian Tee & Tyler Perry Film Review by Colin Lomas There is a theory bandied about in the darkest, most complex recesses of Theoretical Astrophysics that our universe is one of many, an infinitesimal dot in a spiralling infinite multiverse. Within this endless set of dimensions, everything that could have possibly happened will have happened; dinosaurs survived on earth and still rule the planet, Mars prospered and Earth perished, the England football team won something recently. The single most vexing stumbling block, which has had the world’s greatest minds stumped for almost fifteen years is that somewhere, by its own definition, Megan Fox must have been in a film that could not be described with the single word ‘garbage’. Would the latest instalment of the most unlikely heroes in the comic-book world (okay, apart from Ant-Man) bring scientific enlightenment to us all?


Mega-baddy Shredder (Brian Tee) manages to escape from custody during a prison transfer using a teleportation device created by scientific genius Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry), and teams up with extra-dimensional pink octopus-thing Krang. Shredder and his new mutant foot-soldiers, Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly) and Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams), set out to search for a collection of lost relics which will help create a rift in the space time continuum and allow Krang to bring through his world-destroying super weapon. It is down to our four heroes Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), Leonardo (Pete Ploszek) and Raphael (Alan Ritchson) plus the makeshift hero of New York Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett), cop Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) and reporter April O’Neill (Megan Fox) to halt the evil plans. Like many modern action movies, Out of the Shadows feels like a collection of bloated computerised set-pieces linked together with a thin string of pointless narratives mindlessly spoon-fed in dialogue. The scene showing Shredder having the portal activation process explained to him feels like a five second textual introduction from the NES version of Super Mario Brothers (“We must find three artefacts; the one in your hands, one in Brazil, one in a museum”), the only thing missing is a screaming pixelated princess.


As if by activation of the pout-count clause written into her contract, Ms Fox takes approximately three minutes, fifteen seconds from opening credits to change into a cheerleader’s skirt and knee-high socks and parade herself through the centre of Grand Central Station. The turtle’s individual traits start to appear and cause friction between the team (cleverly preceded with ‘Raphael – Muscle’ and so on in big letters on-screen). This gives some level of interest to the plot but dissipates pretty much straight away as father figure cum giant rat Splinter gives some sage advice on the power of many over the power of individuals. It’s also worth mentioning that this storyline was brought through in the cartoons almost thirty years ago and even more recently in the pretty average TMNT, but at least the big-money boys seem to be catching up. The turtle’s personalities are becoming more interesting and the banter between them is starting to gel and get laughs, but there are still enough holes in its entirety to feel unsatisfactory. Towards the end, there is so much CGI at work that it feels like watching your mate playing a computer game, and has the same level of personal interaction. It’s impossible to argue that the effects aren’t excellent because they truly are, but when a certain level of realism is taken out, it leaves the visuals with a lack of soul. In many ways, it feels like the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series is on the right track. The turtles themselves are well cast, there are sparks of real comedy appearing and the action set-pieces are mostly enjoyable and spectacular. There is just too much weeding to do in the ninja garden for it to feel agreeable at the moment. A decent scriptwriter and a de-pouted Fox and there is still hope for the heroes in the half-shells.

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