The Cinefessions crew loves sharing their opinions on films, but not every movie can get the attention it deserves with a full review. Enter the Cinefessions’ Capsule Reviews. These capsule reviews cover five of the most important aspects of a film, which allow the crew to deliver their opinions on any movie clearly, decisively, and with brevity. These are not our full thoughts on any film, just a highlighting of the major pros and/or cons.


Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesTitleTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Runtime: 101 minutes
Acting
There is a lot to like about TMNT, but the characters are the strongest aspect. Everyone in this film is likable, with Michelangelo and Vernon, played by Will Arnett, being my two favorites. Megan Fox makes an excellent April O’Neil as well, showing both her strength and beauty in every scene. The Turtles are CGI-heavy, but the voice actors really brought them to life.

Story & Script
Sure, this is another origin story, but I would argue that it’s the most interesting origin story I’ve heard yet for the Turtles. It ties April into the brothers more tightly, and makes the relationship seem more realistic. The rest of the story, outside of the origin tale, is interesting, but nothing too great. Shredder and his cohort want to destroy New York City, and the Turtles want to stop him. Simple good versus evil here, but it works well enough. My main problem was trying to buy Eric Sacks’ motivation for wanting to help Shredder destroy the Big Apple. The only motivation given in the film is for money. Sacks says that he will be “stupid rich”, or something similar. The problem is that he is already obscenely rich. The way this story is set up also made Shredder feel like the secondary antagonist, while Sacks was the primary. That’s not what I was hoping for, but it still made for a fun finale, which in a film like this, is what counts most.

Direction
This movie, like Jonathan Liebesman’s 2011 film, Battle Los Angeles, has been getting a ton of hate. Frankly, I don’t understand it. Sure, the Turtles look a bit different, but Jim Henson is no longer around to make some incredible puppets. These CGI Turtles look great, and are the most “realistic” look I’ve seen for the group. Looking past that, I cannot understand why this was trashed so much. It is a summer action blockbuster, and it delivers the over-the-top action in spades (it clearly has Michael Bay’s stamp on it). Liebesman brings the fun and funny, plus the action. Like Battle Los Angeles, I find TMNT to be underrated as hell. I’m a big fan of Liebesman, and look forward to seeing what he brings us next.

Intangibles
As silly as it sounds, I would have loved more time with the Turtles. They are a lot of fun to watch, but the vast majority of their screen presence is spent kicking ass, and they’re at their best when they’re just joking around with each other. I loved this group, but think more could have been made of their relationships. It would make the Raphael character arc more meaningful (though I did get goosebumps in that final act thanks to him). What I loved was how distinct each brother was from the other. This film showed their unique personalities better than any I’ve seen in the past. Also, the CGI is incredibly detailed, and just a treat to behold. It’s amazing how far we’ve come.

Rewatchability
I will definitely be watching TMNT again because I want to see if it looks as coo as I imagine it will in 3D. I watched the 2D version this time around.

The Verdict
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a whole hell of a lot of fun. I don’t really understand the hate at all. If you went in expecting a big blockbuster film starring our favorite Ninja Turtles, I’m not sure how this was a disappointment. I look forward to the sequel(s).

three_stars
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Branden Chowen
Editor-in-Chief at Cinefessions
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn't until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor's and master's degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.