TMNT: Out of the Shadows is One Headache from Start to Finish
- Ryan Duncan Crosswalk.com Entertainment Editor
- 2016 3 Jun
The newest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a bloated, obnoxious, mess of a movie, and it knows it. While the film tries to compensate by embracing its flaws with gusto, a few bright spots can’t stop the utter catastrophe which follows on screen. Overall, this sequel was better off in the dark. 1.5 out of 5
Following an escape from prison, the evil ninja Shredder is accidentally transported to another dimension controlled by a robotic, brain-creature known as Krang (yes, really). The two villains form an alliance, and Shredder departs to recover several artifacts that will allow Krang’s armada to invade earth. The only ones capable of stopping this attack are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with help from their human friends April O’Neil (Megan Fox), Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), and the vigilant Casey Jones (Stephen Amell). However, is the world ready to accept these outcast brothers as their protectors?
Shockingly, the main cast of TMNT deliver a winning performance despite everything working against them. Fox seems to enjoy reprising her role as April O’Neil, while Amell shakes off his trademark broodiness to serve up a goofy, rather animated portrayal of Casey Jones. The real hero of the hour though, is Laura Linney, who deserves an Oscar for keeping a straight face despite the sheer lunacy happening around her. As for the Turtles themselves, the film takes greater care in exploring the team’s dynamics and personalities, rightly putting them at the center of the action. Aside from that, there are a few laughs (intentional of otherwise), and enough combat to keep viewers moderately invested.
Any film starring martial arts reptiles is going to require some "mental flexibility," but TMNT goes far beyond that and takes a swan dive into the nonsensical. The storyline is completely ridiculous, and sacrifices potential opportunities in favor of fart jokes and stale pop culture references. Throw in a load of clunky exposition, not to mention overstuffed CGI, and viewers will be left wondering if they've somehow slipped into a fever dream. Worst of all are the fan-favorite characters of Bebop and Rocksteady, who are so teeth-grindingly annoying audiences should check with their dentist afterwards. It’s too big, too loud, and just way too aggravating.
Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes
TMNT is fairly devoid of anything resembling a spiritual theme. Master Splinter is shown meditating and attempting to find "inner peace," but the scene is played more for laughs than anything else. Another side-plot involves the Turtles discovering a possible way to become human, but this is never really explored in great detail. There is an overarching idea of family throughout the film, as the Turtles seek to work together and respect one-another's strengths, but it’s fairly soft. Lastly, one character is given a throwaway line about humans having "animal ancestors" but again, this is never fully explained.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)
- MPAA Rating: PG–13 for violence, mild sexuality, action and destruction, strong language and suggestive images
- Language/Profanity: A handful of standard curse words, Son of a B*, "A big-*ss magnet," *amn, He*.
- Sexuality/Nudity: April O’Neil changes into a miniskirt and dresses seductively in a few scenes; Bebop and Rocksteady check their genitals after they mutate and wear open shirts; talk of speedos, talk of butts, Casey is teased for his muscles, a joke about playing “one-on-one” in hockey.
Violence/Frightening Images: An attack on a police convoy involves several explosions and a few motorcycle crashes, one character uses a shotgun, Casey fights ninjas in a hockey mask with a hockey stick, the Turtles jump out of a plane, the Turtles fall over a waterfall, Bebop and Rocksteady drive in a tank and shoot at the Turtles, police threaten to shoot the Turtles, kung fu action, April hits a ninja, Shredder threatens some people with his claws, Krang freezes Shredder, Krang tries to blast New York with a laser, Krang fights with a robot, Bebop and Rocksteady mutate into monsters.
The Bottom Line
RECOMMENDED FOR: Ninja Turtles fans, fans of the previous films, parents looking to distract their kids for an afternoon.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Movie lovers, the nostalgic, the average human viewer...
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, directed by Dave Green, opened in theaters June 3, 2016; available for home viewing September 20, 2016. It runs 112 minutes and stars Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Laura Linney, Stephen Amell, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson and Tyler Perry. Watch the trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles here.
Ryan Duncan is Entertainment Editor for Crosswalk.com.
Publication date: June 3, 2016