Is it still called “jumping on a bandwagon” if you hate what everyone else seems to be hating on? Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot seems like an easy target and wanting to feel like I have a mind of my own, I’d really love to have something nice to say about it. Bay’s project was controversial from almost the moment it was announced – with the last Michaelangelo even accusing the filmmakers of “sodomizing” the Turtles’ legacy – and has been almost universally panned by critics since its release.
I do not write this reboot off because of its comic book origins or because it uses the word “mutogen” at least five times. I don’t blame it for its source material nor its deviation from it. I do blame it though for being bad. So bad. Worse than I had feared.
I grew up with these characters and have seen the 90s TMNT movies more times than I can count. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the first (and best by far) of that franchise but I remember it being a lot more fun. I remember it as a little darker. I definitely remember it taking its time in introducing us to the Turtles, Shredder, Splinter, and their origin stories.
In 2014, we are forced to settle for a talky and lazy script, loud and incoherent action scenes, charmless turtles, and a how-is-she-so-stupid April O’Neil. Splinter and Shredder fail to command respect. I couldn’t help but feel bad for Will Arnett who plays April’s sidekick and is tasked with bringing comic relief to a witless screenplay and can barely conceal his embarrassment. Only Megan Fox, as April, seems immune from the embarrassment with over-zealous delivery as awkward to watch as Arnett’s sheepishness.
Were my childhood memories “sodomized” by this new franchise? Probably not. My memories will remain as fond as ever. It’s this mess that I wish I could forget.