Starring: Patrick Stewart, Sarah Michelle
Gellar, Ziyi Zhang, Chris Evans, Mako
Directed By: Kevin Munroe
Produced By: Peter Laird, Francis Kao, Gary Richardson
Genre: Action/Adventure, Animation and Adaptation
MPAA Rating: PG for some thematic elements, mild peril and
Distributors: Warner Bros.
Those wisecracking, pizza loving, trouble finding
turtles are back. This time with a makeover that makes them a little
darker, leaner, meaner and greener. OK, maybe not greener but I
had to throw that in. Animation technology keeps growing in leaps
and bounds and I have a feeling that it won't be long before we
won't be able to tell the difference between CG and live action.
So obviously I liked that part. Especially the rooftop fight in
the rain. The reflected light playing off of their skin is just
gorgeous. And the attention to detail is phenomenal.
The character design was really good too, everybody
was recognizable and everyone got the lean mean makeover as well.
For the Turtles, I found it interesting to note that all of their
under shells had some variation to them. Not like the cartoon where
you could only tell them apart by their mask colors and weapons.
The Nightwatcher - his armor design just plain bad ass. I hate to
sound like a weirdo but I found April, (Sarah Michelle Gellar) when
in her ninja suit, and the new leader of the Foot, Karai (Ziyi Zhang)
to be kind of sexy. The other villains looked just as cool except
for Max Winters (Patrick Stewart), where they went with the super
big chest that looks a little ridiculous.
wise, I didn't really get into it until about halfway through. The
ball really gets rolling after the diner scene (with guest voice
Kevin Smith as the diner owner) with the aforementioned rooftop
battle and then the climax of the film. The beginning was just setup
and I understand, but they could have sped it up a little. What
really makes it interesting is that there is some unexpected developments
for Winters and I won't say any more as it could be construed as
a spoiler. Let's just say that there is a twist or two that I didn't
see coming that made for a nice touch.
Casting - What can you really say about voice acting except that
when it works, you buy it without question. Sarah Micelle Gellar,
Chris Evans (Johnny Storm from Fantastic Four) and the Turtles are
a good example. But, when it doesn't work it sticks out like a sore
thumb. Case in point, Master Splinter. Now I don't want to speak
ill of the deceased but Mako just wasn't right. Every incarnation
of TMNT has always had a raspy voiced Splinter and while the character
and his actions were the same, the voice just didn't work for me.
And that my friends, brings me to my major issue: Patrick Stewart
as Max Winters. Not only is the character design a bit over the
top, but with Stewart's extremely singular voice I just couldn't
get the picture of Picard/Xavier out of my head. That may just be
All in all TMNT is a pretty faithful blend of the
first two live action films and the original comics while still
having a tone of it's own. With great animation and a healthy dollop
of humor, you won't be disappointed. Now you purists out there may
have noticed that I haven't mentioned where this fits in with existing
continuity. And honestly, it doesn't really matter but if you really
want to know, TMNT supposedly is a "loose" sequel that
takes place between the first and the second live action movie even
though there are some nods to all three movies. Mainly in Splinters
For Turtle and animation fans, go see this at the theater. For
casual fans, this is a good jumping on point as well as a way to
get a taste
of what the TMNT are all about without having to watch the dreadful
Cowabunga dudes and dudettes!
(All Photos Copyright © Warner Bros.)