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‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ lacks strong plot, energy

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”—Starring Megan Fox, Will Arnett and William Fitchner

5 out of 10

By Cameron M. Bray ’16

Here is a question: Did anyone expect “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” to be good?

My guess: probably no one.

Yet another nostalgia franchise reboot produced by Michael Bay, starring Megan Fox and numerous CGI monstrosities—in this case turtles—”Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” certainly shocked no one by being subpar.

The mediocrity of the entire film is akin to that of the “Transformers,” Bay’s other well-known work.

TMNT originally debuted on the big screen in 1990.

The mistakes shared between the two are obvious, unless you possess the apathy shared by its creator.

Let’s talk plot: The film stars Megan Fox as April O’Neil, a reporter for Channel 6 News in New York, who is trying to escape degrading human-interest stories for serious journalism.

Meanwhile, New York City is apparently being “terrorized” by a vaguely defined terrorist outfit called the Foot Clan.

However, throughout the entire movie, we only see the Foot Clan commit two crimes, both of which are thwarted by the turtles.

Secretly the clan is being led by Eric Sacks, played by William Fitchner, a billionaire business magnate who worked with O’Neill’s father in inadvertently creating the turtles, and the Shredder, played by Tohoru Masamune, Sacks’ evil martial arts master.

The two villains are plotting secretly to contaminate the city with a toxin before selling a chemical extract from the turtles blood as a cure.

Before their asinine evil plot is completed, however, their schemes via the Foot Clan are repeatedly thwarted by the Teenage  Mutant Ninja Turtles—Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Rafael—who are accompanied by Fox and her goofy cameraman, Vernon Fenwick, played by Will Arnett.

If the plot of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” feels a little complex and hard to follow, that is because it is.

The film falls into the same trap of 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” in that it feels necessary to tie all the characters’ history in major ways.

Remember, April, her late father and Eric Sacks are all notably connected to the history of the turtles.

And all these connections do not not form a epic narrative but rather an overly complicated mess, with which we have to waste several paragraphs just to explain the basic plot.

Besides the plot, there are several other complaints about the film.

First, Fox is still as dull and bland as she was in “Transformers,” and her character arch neither feels genuine nor meaningful

Second, there is no reason why Sacks and The Shredder should be two different characters. It would actually improve the plot if they were one.

Third, the character designs look awful, especially when in motion. The Shredder’s outfit is too busy and the turtles would have looked good, perhaps, eight years ago.

Overall, if you asked me how to describe “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” in a phrase, I would say, “Nonsensical, convoluted, schizophrenic nightmare; enjoy.”

The humor was all right, though.

There were a few funny scenes, but they were largely overshadowed by the incoherent mess that is the rest of the film.

And for these reasons above, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” gets a 5 out of 10.

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