TMNT

Cast:
Chris Evans as Casey Jones (voice)
Sarah Michelle Gellar as April O’Neil (voice)
Mako as Master Splinter (voice)
Kevin Smith as Chef (voice)
Patrick Stewart as Max Winters (voice)
Laurence Fishburne as Narrator (voice)
Ziyi Zhang as Karai (voice)
Mitchell Whitfield as Donatello (voice)
James Arnold Taylor as Leonardo (voice)
Mikey Kelley as Michelangelo (voice)
Nolan North as Raphael/Nightwatcher (voice)
John Di Maggio as Colonel Santino (voice)
Paula Mattioli as General Serpiente (voice)
Kevin Michael Richardson as General Aquila (voice)
Fred Tatasciore as General Gato (voice)

Summary:
A well balanced mix of comic book action and kid’s humor ends up making “TMNT” a great reboot of the Ninja Turtles franchise and a fun movie for both kids and adults.

Story:
“TMNT” is based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.

Some years after the previous Ninja Turtles films, Leonardo has been ordered by Splinter to travel the world to learn to become a better leader. But while Leo has been fighting crime in Central America, things have not gone so well for his brothers back home. Michelangelo entertains children at parties, Donatello is tech support for a computer company, and Raphael has become a lone vigilante going by the name ‘Nightwatcher.’ Realizing he has a duty to lead his family, Leo returns home to attempt to revitalize their team.

At the same time, the mysterious billionaire Max Winters has hired The Hand, now led by Karai, to hunt down 13 monsters that are running loose in the city. But how is his plan tied to an ancient evil and an interdimensional portal? And what can the “TMNT” reconcile their differences and act like a team to defeat the menace?

“TMNT” is rated PG for animated action violence, some scary cartoon images and mild language

What Worked:
“TMNT” is yet another great reboot of a comic book franchise. Kevin Munroe has rather successfully taken all the best elements of the Ninja Turtles stories and combined them into this new film. The result is something that should please all “TMNT” fans and hook new fans.

As someone familiar with the very first “TMNT” comics, I was impressed how Munroe was able to capture the dark and violent aspects of the comics. In fact, the opening scenes of the movie started to make me wonder if the film was going to be too intense for my preschooler. From the look of the eyes to the dark mood to the action packed martial arts sequences, it was all there. But at the same time, the film was able to capture the lighthearted aspects of the cartoons and the live action films. The turtles still eat pizza, skateboard, and act silly. But it’s all equally balanced with the darker aspects of the stories. The final product is a film that both dads and kids will enjoy together.

The animation really looked great. While there was nothing technically groundbreaking with it, the style of the CGI was a perfect blend of live action realism, the look of the animated series, and the dark look of the original “TMNT” comics. The colors, character designs, and backgrounds are all perfectly done. And the action was especially well choreographed. Every fight scene in this movie is as good as any fight scene in a movie this year.

What Didn’t Work:
I can’t say I had any real gripes about this film. I was a little worried that the scary moments were going to freak out my 5 year old, but he got over it pretty quickly. And showing April and Casey Jones living together was an interesting choice for a children’s film, but most kids won’t even notice.

I will add that a lot of the footage from “TMNT” that I saw at the San Diego Comic-Con was cut from this version. The scene where the kids at the birthday party beat down Michelangelo was significantly reduced, and the part where the kid kicks him in the crotch was totally eliminated. I hated to see it go because it was an indication that the film was a little funnier and edgier than the theatrical cut. Maybe we’ll see it on DVD.

The Bottom Line:
Overall, “TMNT” was not just a fun family film but also a movie that all comic book fans are going to want to check out. There’s something here for everyone.

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