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TMNT 2007 - Animated Film Review
(There is a spoiler alert further down this blog so warning you now)
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was originally a very graphic black and white comic produced back in 1984. It became really popular in the late 1980s and eventually became the animated TV series which was a massive jump from what people had seen from the comics. They were colourful, playful and goofy and constantly breaking the fourth wall (talking to you on the other side of the screen)
I will be reviewing the original 1980s version of the Turtles the live action films from the 1990s and the TMNT from 2003 and 2012 in all separate blogs. However this film was a combination of all sorts. It has the character profiles of the turtles and other characters similar to the 2003 series. This is where Raf seems to have gone from being the quick witted comedy type to the more rough and tumble punch first and ask later type. Yet the style and feel of the film is very close the the 1990s live actions even down to the character voices they have picked.
The story for me is all over the place because of the conflict between the character profiles and the 1990s set up of the film. Unfortunately for me this lets the whole film down before it starts.
I know you will be thinking 'Wow that's harsh' but for an animator this is basic stuff that's being broken. Don't get me wrong there has been a lot of different types of turtles but the 1990s followed the 1980s series so the 2007 film should have followed the 2003 series. This would have then kept the story strong and the characters consistent and because of what happens in the series would have made a solid base for this film and they could have kept the original voice actors for the characters to make it even more enjoyable.
However with mixing the 1990s and the 2003 the story changes constantly because there seems to be no solid base to work off, it's badly paced, the characters are up one minute and down the next and swapping characteristics between themselves which is annoying because then you can't remember who is who. I said on the Italian Job review if its not like it should be treat it like its own film. But even as its own film the story, pace and characters are all poor.
The film might as well be renamed the Leonardo and Raphael battle saga because Donatello and Michelangelo are hardly seen which is so disappointing and even when they are they are made so uninteresting and boring they are pointless to even be in there. April and Casey even have a better side part in the film than Donny and Mikey. Donny is normally the brainy, quick witted, cheeky one who comes up with lots of ideas and plans and Mikey is the wild, playful party animal who can just fight without thinking which is like a built in instinct which is so cool when its animated well. But none of this gets seen or mentioned because the characters are placed in the background and left there.
It's all Raf and his attitude and how he was angry at Leo for leaving the family with no communication from him. So goes out to continue to fight crime without the rest because if Leo has abandoned them that doesn't mean it has to stop him from doing what he wants, which seems pushed a little too far at times because he is fighting for the wrong reasons and refuses to listen until it's too late but at the same time I'm glad they did something with him which was pretty cool and is the only character with any real development behind him.
Then there is Leo who is apparently doing all this 'training' so he is able to protect his family but feels so much like a failure he hides away to be alone. Yet comes back and continues to lead the family like nothing happened making no emotional connection with his brothers at all. This also means he has gone through three completely different character elements so which one is he meant to be really?
One very annoying fact is the lack of emotion. Leo should have come back and said sorry for disappearing or someone should have told him off for his behavior because it was quite selfish of him not communicating with them and disappearing when they were all obviously worried. Yet the one who gets told off seems to be Raf and more than once in this film I might add which is just unfair. But none of the characters seem to react to anything with any emotion. Mikey is normally the emotional one but not even Mikey has any real reaction to Leo arriving home. Just disappointing as it just makes them all very lifeless and flat.
When I went and saw this in the cinema the final film and render hadn't been completed properly and the sound was dreadful! At least by the time it went to DVD it was corrected but still there was problems. I really wish they had picked better voices for the Turtles too. April and Casey were not bad and Splinters was very unique which was nice but the Turtles all had the same tone like the 1990s which made all the characters the same, sounding flat and boring. There is also no consistency what so ever (spoilers) the monsters they are chasing - we get told that they have found them all and there is only one left which Raf is playing with, YET just 5 minutes after there is at least another 3 monsters seen being caught. There are loads of consistency failures but this is the worst.
Ok is there anything I like about the film. Well the structures of the bodies on the character are good and when they are stood side by side you can see all the little changes to each turtle to make them individual and there is some nice moments between characters specially a sequence in the rain on a roof top or where Splinter is involved in the fighting near the end of the film.
But other than a choice few sections the rest has no thrill or entertainment for me. Because the characters change so much and lack of consistency you feel nothing for them so even when they get hurt where you should be feel the 'Oh no' moment, you sit thinking ' well it's about time'.
It's a big disappointment for me, being that I know the characters so well and I had been looking forward to this release for so long. Thing is many people tell me how much they love this film and fair play to them if they do and to be fair its not bad background noise while your working as it just plods along. Just it doesn't do anything for me I'm afraid.
My rating 3 out of 10
TMNT 2007 and none of these images belong to me I just use them as reference for my review.
(Possible spoilers in trailer)