Saw it today and I felt it was decent enough, mostly thanks to the Turtles being so wonderful in this movie. I loved those guys.
The rest of it ranged from just okay to kinda dumb, confusing, or weak. Namely, the villains. Shredder isn't explored as a character and so comes off as being evil for ill good reason. Same with Sacks, who I get wants to be rich but... isn't he already the head of several companies? Does that position not come with some large amount of wealth? I mean, the guy has his own private mansion and all (which I swear has been seen in other non-TMNT media before), yet he comes off as this guy who hasn't yet made it big but is trying to.Just how greedy is this guy?
Also, as I was watching it, I only just then realized that the name "Eric Sacks" is an obvious reference to the name "Oroku Saki".
And was anyone else put off a bit by the "Tonight I dine on turtle soup" line. I mean, yeah, it's a reference, but both it and "Heroes in a half shell" seemed to come out of nowhere, get spoken for little good reason, and just felt forced in. Especially coming from someone as so uber serious as Shredder, speaking it like he was dead serious rather than it being meant as a joke for the audience.
And their evil plan was kind of ill-conceived. I get that they wanted to hold the city to ransom and make Sacks come off as some kind of savior, but they were going to launch the chemicals from Sacks' building! Did they think no one would notice that and think that Sacks might have been at least partly responsible in the first place? And how were the villains going to keep themselves safe from the chemicals long enough to make the cure? Shredder himself would have still been outside the building, so was he expecting his armor to protect him?
And why did Shredder only speak Japanese outside of his armor (save for a line or two), and then suddenly switch to speaking English for all of his armored scenes? He seemed content to speaking Japanese regularly and didn't seem to care whether whomever he was speaking to would understand him or not.
And was it really necessary to have both Shredder and Sacks as two separate characters? There is literally no reason for them to have gone with this Vader/Emperor relationship when the two could have very well bee written into the same character, seeing as how much of a nonentity Shredder was as his own character. I get the feeling that the only reason this movie went this route was because it was already committed to using William Fichtner as the lead villain, but later decided to use an Asian person for Shredder so as to not tick the fans off with a White American Shredder.
And Karai seemed very unimportant as a character. Virtually no resemblance to any other version of her aside from "Female lead member of the Foot Clan".
And the Foot Clan was also a pretty generic crime syndicate; pretty much a cookie cutter bad guy unit with no real intrigue or backstory. Just a by the numbers team of bad guys, like those found in many video games. Being ninjas, especially in a New York setting, would have made them feel at least somewhat more interesting. They needed more than just tar-colored Kabuki facepaint.
And then there was Splinter, A.K.A. Mr. Exposition. I didn't mind the character and thought he was fairly decent on his own. But he seemed to know way more about what was going on than he ought to. Like, he knew just about everything about Shredder despite giving no indication of having any past history with him. And the info he tells us about the Foot Clan coming after them, would it not have been wiser for him to let them know about that beforehand? I mean, he knew all of this and only just now tells them about it minutes before their home is invaded? And how does he even know about Shredder in the first place?
And why is he Japanese? Seriously, he has no ties to Hamato Yoshi in this version, neither being Yoshi himself nor Yoshi's former pet, so why exactly is Splinter Japanese in this at all? What reason does he have to speak with a Japanese accent and have both a Fu Manchu and a Topknot?
Oh well, one thing I was really glad about Splinter was that they didn't kill him off. That was one of my biggest fears going into this, expecting the movie to kill Splinter off as a means to enhance the drama, but that is a route I did not want the movie to take and was glad to see that it didn't.
As for the other characters, O'Neal (I'm not calling her April since everytime I see her I don't see April, only Megan Fox, and she was called "O'Neal" often enough in the movie for me to do so as well) was alright. A little bit more focused on than I was hoping, but it was expected. Like others have said, Megan Fox was far less annoying this time around to be tolerable and, in places, pretty good as her role. I think me favorite part with her was her brief confrontation with Shredder, in which she warded him away from the Turtles with the Mutagen canister.
Burne/Verne/Vernon (seriously which is it? I swear I heard all three names throughout the movie) was also enjoyable enough, though his flirting with O'Neal did get a bit uncomfortable at times. But I fully laughed out loud at several of his reaction points, like when Raph appeared from behind him inside the news van or when Mikey accidentally blew up his new car at the end.
Speaking of the mutagen, we get a glimpse of the TCRI logo on it and young O'Neal mentions that it might have come from another planet. And... that's all we get of that bit. Talk about a wasted opportunity there. I get that it was probably just meant to be a nod to its extraterrestrial origins in other versions, but when you open up that door here you open up a whole world of possibilities and intrigue to the casual viewer. Like, where did that stuff come from? How was it made? Who made it? I mean, we longtime fans might know the answers to these questions, but if they're gonna hint at it coming from outer space, that's bound to pique some interest from those not as in the know. And for them to completely gloss over that with their sole reference being little more than a throwaway line, it comes off as like showing a kid a cookie but not letting them eat it, and that's just cruel.
And I don't really like this new version of the backstory having O'Neal directly connected to the Turtles' origins. It struck me as off as what the first G.I. Joe movie did with Duke, Baroness, and Cobra Commander all having a past relationship together (Duke and CC were best friends, CC and Baroness were siblings, Duke and Baroness were former lovers, and they all broke apart when CC seemingly died and Baroness and CC hated Duke for it, even though CC lived and for some reason didn't tell his sister he was alive). Now we get O'Neal father (was he played by Steve Carell? Sure looked like him
) having been involved in the Turtles' and Splinter's mutation, and she's the one who saves them after her father dies in a fire.
But don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed this movie thanks to the Turtles. Man, they were the main thing that this movie go right on so many levels. Literally no complaints with them, aside from maybe Donny needing glasses since he's the nerd of the group and nerds wear glasses. And maybe aside from Leo being kinda generic, since his character wasn't as explored as much. But, Raph was the one I was the most concerned about, as I was afraid this movie would just turn him in to a vicious psychopathic monster who'd slaughter his enemies. And yet, he (like the others) not only didn't fight to kill his foes, he also had a lot of DEPTH to character. That emotional confession/speech he made near the end, right down to saying how he "loves" is brothers, was so great to see in a movie that works so hard to make itself look serious and hardcore. That speech was so heartfelt and passionate that I couldn't help but love it despite how cheesy it ultimately made Raph seem. This movie showed that underneath that rough, bitter exterior Raph has a caring heart of gold, and that is so perfect!
And Mikey, he stole the movie. Hands down. And rightfully so.
Though, the score was also pretty forgettable. Some of the action scenes could have benefited from something more along the lines of hard rock or heavy metal to go with the lively, upbeat personalities of the Turtles. I mean, we're supposed to be seeing them having a blast with their crime fighting, as they fun it to be FUN, yet all the music in this movie ever did was show us how "epicly epic" these Turtles are, when they're really not. At their core, they're silly, fun-loving, and "totally radical, dude!" (okay, maybe not that far, but), so the music ought to reflect that at the points it needed to. Yet, it didn't. All it ever did was convey a sense of grandeur and might that is more befitting of the Bay TF movies rather than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
So overall, thanks to the Turtles being so awesome and despite everything else being mostly so-so, I give it a B+.