“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem”, A Passionate Retelling of a Decades Old Origin
Keeping a balance between the old and the new is never easy, but the newest movie in the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series does it wonderfully. The first theatrically released animated “TMNT” movie since 2007’s “TMNT”, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” sets itself apart from every other movie in the series through it’s characters and especially the lingo of the Turtles.
The movie follows the ninjas Leonardo (Nichola Cantu), Donatello (Micah Abbey), Michelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr.), and Raphael (Brady Noon) who yearn to be accepted by the world, all they want is to go to highschool and be popular. After a chance encounter with April O’Neal (Ayo Edebiri) the turtles get to show off their skills and form an alliance with her. Now with the help of her and their father Master Splinter (Jackie Chan) they must find a way to stop the evil plans of a crime boss known as Super Fly (Ice Cube).
By far the largest reimagining of the Turtles, it acts as another origin story for the characters. It is the same story we have seen many times, but the animation style and character interactions set it apart from the rest. The story, although shallow, is still a lot of fun to watch and the filmmakers were clearly passionate about the characters.
The movie is animated in a way similar to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse” with a sketch art, almost painted in style that benefits the movie greatly. This leads to the action scenes feeling very kinetic with camera work that helps create a feeling of momentum during the scenes.
The Turtles this time around are voiced by actual teenagers and feel a lot different than previous renditions because of that. The normal tone and feel of some characters, like Raphael, are toned down because of this, but that isn’t necessarily a negative. Something that definitely can be seen as a negative is some of the dialogue used in the film. A lot of the dialogue that the Turtles say in the movie is improvised and with that comes some pretty cringy dialogue that some may find annoying during its 109 minute run time. Many Gen Z phrases like rizz, sus, cap, and a plethora of pop culture references are very prevalent in the movie. Nonetheless all the performances are fun to watch and very good.
With its creative animation, great action scenes, and fun story this is definitely one of the better animated movies released this year. An easy recommendation and an incredibly fun movie to sit back and relax with during this hot August summer.
Director Jeff Rowe
Starring Nicolas Cantu, Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr., Brady Noon, Jackie Chan, Ayo Edebiri, Ice Cube, with Seth Rogen, John Cena, Post Malone, Paul Rudd, and Giancarlo Esposito
My Rating ★★★★★