For the first time ever, Drew is reviewing a movie before it goes cold! This time he’s seeing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.
Drew’s Rating: Ehh
Tomatometer: 36% (and rising)
Box Office for 2014 Original: $191M Domestic / $493M Worldwide
Four turtle dudes from the NYC sewer drive pimped-out trash truck, save world.
Some of the benefits of seeing a sequel are being spared from back story, character development and unpredictability and OOTS delivers in these areas magically. Moviegoers everywhere have the rare opportunity to see a film that is so unapologetically mediocre in all the areas that traditionally constitute a good film, yet somehow less mediocre than the other films in its genre, that it jells into a perfectly mindless 97minutes of entertainment. Viewing this film is the equivalent of being released into a weightless ether where you don’t care about characters, story or outcomes. At any point during the film, you will have total indifference to whether the film ends in 5 or 50 minutes, who lives/dies, who mutates (or doesn’t mutate) and the inevitable ineptitude of the next line of dialogue. OOTS puts you in a state of where you’re “just there”, engaged enough to be entertained but totally detached from everything occurring in the film.
While owning the bare minimum in terms of acting, humor and the quality of the dialogue (the film actually includes the line “Time to take out the trash.”) the film aims ridiculously high with the premise that the world is in imminent danger and only the TMNT can save it. The complete implausibility of all the circumstances of the film will cause you to be spooked. You will not know which way is up, right from wrong, black from white, the past from the future. You will have entered the all-consuming black hole of just-barely-enough-to-be-satisfying that is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.
The Good Guys
LEONARDO – The self-proclaimed “leader” of the Ninja Turtles, he reminds you of the distant brother you wished you never had, but unfortunately do. When not being an all-around jackass, Lame Leo focuses on reducing the confidence of the other brothers in themselves and each other. Each paper-thin line delivered by his character is the equivalent of turning a bathroom light on and seeing it spark for a brief second before it completely burns out.
MICHELANGELO – Dimwittingly referred to as “Mikey” throughout the picture, his character manages to take a film that aims very low to begin with and dims it down a shade further. He’s dumb, he likes pizza – OK, OK, we get it.
RAPHAEL – The token “meathead” of the amphibian posse, he brims with misguided rage and boneheaded angst. His performance caused so much eye rolling on behalf of the audience that two people in my theater aisle had to pop their glass eyes back in. My personal advice to Raphael, join a frat and mellow out, dude.
DONATELLO – Even more dimwittingly referred to as “Donnie” in the film, a second token character reveals his four-eyed face in the form of the token Brainiac. If there is a most ludicrous aspect of this picture it has to be that he is able to reverse-engineer the most complicated technical scenarios in a sub-nanosecond. He is the only of the four who tries, and horribly, horribly fails, to be a character the moviegoer remotely cares about.
MEGAN FOX – Let’s be clear here – if there is one great reason to go see this film it is for the simple pleasure of seeing every second she is on film (beyond those not spent rolling your eyes due to “Raph’s” meaty dialogue). Any male moviegoer who doesn’t find themselves completely blueballed by the time the credits roll needs a prescription for Viagra. If there had been a kiosk located on the concourse outside the theater where I could have signed the deed to my house away to Ms. Fox, I would have been at least forced to stop and give it serious consideration.
Hats off to you Ms. Fox, for making OOTS worthy of the outrageous price and inconvenience of seeing a film in the theater.
The Bad Guys
BEBOP & ROCKSTEADY – As part of the crazed tokenization of the cast, this duo of dingbattery double as the token “other mutants” and the token comic relief. One of the most colossal mistakes in the film was trying to do anything with these characters and trying to make them funny. They’re not – they suck. However, there is an incredible CGI moment in the film of the two in a boat at the top of a waterfall. Can one 10 second shot make up for the blither that is their rest-of-the-film? In the thoughtless abyss that is OOTS, that is a resounding yes.
BAXTER STOCKMAN – Alleged hotshot scientist and all-around wet blanket Baxter Stockman is a character who is so neutral and unstimulating that you are sure to have no reaction to him whatsoever. He drifts through this film like a fart passing in the night, where you don’t really know what happened, but you can sense that something was left faintly behind.
KRANG – Let’s be clear again – Krang is the straight-up no-two-ways-about-it Don. With a hideous appearance and a penchant for destroying Planet Earth, yet vaguely cuddly on the inside, Krang nails it as a perfect villain. When the inevitable does occur, and aliens come to blast earth into a quintillion pieces, I hope it’s a legit bro like Krang who shows up to drop the hammer.
KARAI – Not to be outdone in number of total token characters, the film manages to pull one more rabbit out of its hat on this one. Token female second-fiddle version of one of the other villain characters? Where could this go wrong? The answer? Everywhere. However, with the “Kitchen Sink” strategy that characterizes the film, how can you deny the moviegoers an additional pointless, unneeded character like this one? Bravo OOST, you have outdone yourself again.
SHREDDER – Last, and most very certainly least, is the other “villain” of the film. I’m sorry but there is more to creating a villain than: make him Asian, give him a pseudo-ninja hair/beard cut and force-feed him minimal dialogue. This performance is the masterful combination of trudging and sleepwalking that fuses all the other half-hearted aspects of the film into its critical mass of vacuousness.
Despite a truly awe inspiring list of shortcomings, OOTS delivers a showpiece of mind-numbing entertainment that you will like far more than you will hate. The viewing experience is one that provides the opportunity to completely tune out and let your mind go blank. The bad guys are just as likeable as the good guys and the good guys are just as hate-able as the bad guys. No one character is funnier or more amusing than any of the others. No scene is better than any of the other scenes and none of the lines stand out. And if the veritable buffet of just barely adequate doesn’t do it for you, you have the fact that Megan Fox is superhot to fall back on.
Seeing the film is the equivalent of eating a hot dog. Can I get a much, much better meal than a hot dog just as easy as I can get a hot dog? Of course, but I still like hot dogs.
In fact, the film is good enough that it transcends hot dog to the likes of bratwurst and/or Polish sausage.
A big Two and Three-Quarters Stars (out of 4) for this masterpiece of mindlessness.