Can I get a cowabunga?! That’s right, the world’s most famous pizza loving mutant reptiles are back after taking NYC by storm two years ago in their first big screen adventure of the new millennium. Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo — the whole gang — have been reunited in glorious 3D CGI, but there is definitely something amiss in their second silver screen outing. “TMNT: Out of the Shadows” scores plenty of nostalgia points for the twenty-something crowd, but for everyone else, this sequel lands with a gigantic, earth-shaking thud.
Much like 2014’s outing, the plot of “Out of the Shadows” centers on the titular Turtles saving New York from a mega-bad guy. The evildoer this time around is Kraang (Brad Garrett) a robotic, talking brain with a heck of a bad attitude. Of course, the Turtle’s unrelenting foe in the first film, Shredder (Brian Tee), also has something to do with all of the hullabaloo. Not giving too much away, let’s just say there’s teleportation involved.
The most prevalent actual human character, April O’Neil (Megan Fox) is the one that actually first learns of this villainous pact. She’s also the one that outs genius physicist Baxter Stockman (newcomer to the series Tyler Perry) as being in cahoots with these two evil super-powers.
Perry is a great addition to the cast, and definitely brings a little bit more credibility to the flick. Until his arrival, the only other recognizable name — beyond Megan Fox of course — was Will Arnett (Arrested Development) as the comedic relief.
Another well chosen casting addition is Arrow’s Stephen Amell. He plays the hockey loving cop Casey Jones. He’s a good fit, but it is nonetheless a bit bizarre that the guy now has his mark on two super-hero franchises. Why not share the love?
Fans of the long-running Saturday morning cartoon should be able to recognize many of the new additions to the sequel. None is more recognizable, however, than the oozy, gooey, brain Kraang who is brought to digital life for the first time. Sadly, no amount of '80s nostalgia can save this sub-par 2016 special effects sensory overload.
Despite revolving around six-foot tall-mutated animals, the tone and pace of this live-action cartoon is resoundingly normal. The plot is mind-numbingly typical. I mean, how many more save NYC destruction sagas are we going to have to sit through? There’s also the pre-pubescent humor producer Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes Production banner use so liberally in all of their Transformers movies. Occasionally, the movie tips its hat to the original cartoon’s original fun loving attitude, but for the most part, it’s a lot of big explosions mixed in with a few fart jokes.
As for the other departments, it’s worthy to note that the bizarre soundtrack, which plays heavy on classic-rock, does not fit the vibe of the film at all. Director Dave Green (Earth to Echo) and music head Steve Jablonsky completely misunderstand their target audience — adolescent boys for those that are scratching their head. Why fill a movie with cheesy tunes made two decades before the turn of the millennium for a crowd that were not even close to being born yet?
On that same note, ultimately it becomes a mystery to even know whom this movie is aimed at. It’s too long and confusing for children, and it sexes up the turtles’ sidekick Megan Fox a little too much for young eyes. Yet its script — by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec — plays like it was written with crayon and magic marker. The film certainly has an identity crisis, and ends up turning off both old-school fans and new lovers of the Nickelodeon reboot.
The result is a forgettable viewing experience for anyone over the age of 14. This innocuous mediocrity almost becomes a living, breathing entity as it breaths into your ear for the entire hour and forty minutes of the flick. While it might not be the worst superhero movie of the year, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” is not very good.
The movie is a lot like day old delivery pizza. I mean the two are both edible, but no amount of microwaving will make it taste as good as the original.
Running Time: 112 Mins