DVD Release Date:  August 7, 2007
Theatrical Release Date:  March 23, 2007
Rating:  PG (or animated and action violence, some scary cartoon images and mild language)
Genre:  Children’s Animation
Run Time:  87 min.
Director:  Kevin Munroe
Actors:  (Voices of) Chris Evans, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Marko, Kevin Smith, Patrick Stewart, Ziti Yang and Laurence Fishburne (narrator)

“Before the Internet, before cell phones, before roller-blades, there was a time ... 1985.  Don't pretend you don't remember.”

Ah, The Wedding Singer—a great movie.  Unfortunately, it is not that film to which I refer.  It’s TMNT, or the “teenage mutant ninja turtles,” and the year was actually 1984 when these cartoon warriors were first invented.  Now, rather inexplicably, they’ve been resurrected from their cinematic grave yet again (there were two not-so-great sequels in the ‘90s), two decades after being the “it” reptiles of children’s television and movies.  Why?  No doubt, to market more junk to another generation of unsuspecting kids and gullible parents. 

This time, the warriors are in full CGI, and the animation isn’t bad at all.  They have green frog skin and animated faces, and I like the details—like the rain falling into puddles.  Unfortunately, however, the plot isn’t particularly creative.  And yet, bizarrely, it still manages to be somewhat convoluted:

“Four brothers, genetically reborn in the sewers of New York, named after the great Renaissance masters, and trained as ‘ninjas.’  They battled many creatures and foes before defeating their foe, the Shredder.  But now a greater evil is poised to destroy their greater brotherhood—an evil born 3,000 years ago.  It was in that time that a warrior came who fought side by side with one purpose—to conquer all the kingdoms of the world.  Nothing could stand in their way, and they left a trail of destruction behind.”

“This is scary,” said my five- (but going-on-seven-) year-old daughter, interrupting the film’s narrative.  “I’m not scared,” said her six-year-old friend, a boy. 

I stopped taking notes.  As Laurence Fishburne narrated this doom-and-gloom back story, a metal-clad warrior with glowing red eyes was leading an army sporting terrifying weapons into battle.  The trombone-heavy score was thundering a deadly a warning.  The warriors raised their weapons and marched forward, their eyes filled with murderous intent. 

Hamm, I thought.  What age is this movie aimed at again? 

“In his quest, the warrior learned of a constellation.  Every 3,000 years the stars would align, opening the portal to a world of unknown power.  He became immortal—but at a price.  His brotherhood was turned to stone.  And upon the portal’s opening, 13 monsters were released into our world.  The warrior king was left to eternally walk the earth, unable to die, lest he forget his horrible mistake.  And the monsters who were unleashed continued to plague mankind to this very day.”

Don’t worry, because of course the ninjas save the world.  But, you know, they’re just not the turtles they used to be.  At the insistence of their rat “sensei,” Splinter (the late Mako) has sent Leonardo (James Arnold Taylor) away for training.  For some reason, this really annoys brother Raphael (Nolan North), creating a lot of tension between the two.  Raph has stayed home, where he’s been fighting crime as a one-man vigilante called "The Nightwatcher.”  Michelangelo (Mikey Kelley) has become "Cowabunga Carl,” entertaining children for pay.  And Donatello (Mitchell Whitfield) is a tech support geek.