09 October 2007

Ink Blots - TMNT

The notion of mutated turtles, trained as ninjas who also happen to be in their teens, is a tough one to swallow... decidedly more so in live action than in animated form. I enjoyed the 1990's turtles movies for what they were, but "man-in-suit" turtles can only be taken so seriously. TMNT is the turtles return to the big screen. The story builds off of the continuity set up in previous films, but moves the stage to a CG platform. TMNT is the best of the bunch, and also the least vanilla-ey.

The film focuses mostly on Leonardo (Swords / Blue ) and Raphael (Si / Red). Michaelangelo the joker (Nunchucks / Orange) gets a few lines, and poor Donatelo (Bo Staff / Purple) does pretty much nothing. Speaking of Leo and Raph, they have a fantastic rooftop fight in the rain. This incredible sequence really stood out and showcased some fancy animation. While the CG models were not at the level of Pixar or Dreamworks, they were perfectly serviceable. And the camera movements were cinematic and top notch.

I also really enjoyed the films take on a new vigilante named the Nightwatcher (who may or may not be one of the turtles in disguise). He was a cool dude with an interesting design, and much tougher than Casey Jones, our other returning vigilante.

The voice acting was pretty good. I mean, they got Jean Luc Picard and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but my favorite voice was that of Splinter. Some old dude named "Mako" who also voices Uncle Iroh in the Avatar series. I am not familiar with the turtles voice actors, but they also did a good job and didn't sound too cartoony.

One of the the films weak point was the bad guy(s). TMNT could have benefited from a familiar and established foe ala The Shredder. I know they have been there before, but the cosmic statue / monster plot was a little generic with not too much real danger. The surprisingly strong character moments make up for some of the weak plot, but really the overall story is pretty forgettable... if not slightly convoluted. Still, those fight scenes were pretty cool.

One last question, since when did April O'Neal become trained as a ninja?

In any case, this was a fun little movie that gets me excited for the future offerings of the Imagi Studio with Astroboy and Gatchaman. I laso look forward to TMNT 2. In this first CG outing, the renaissance artists take home a B.



j said...

Wait. Are you saying you couldn't figure out who the Nightwatcher was? Or just trying not to spoil it for those who haven't seen it yet?

Chip Chief said...

Come now J. Give me some credit... though I guess it really isnt much of a surprise even in the movie.

Dragulf said...

I like the movie even though it was a bit busy. 7.5/10

n0s0ap said...

Its true the story was kind of hard to swallow. And as a hardcore turtle fan it was rough to see Mikey and Don take a backseat in this one, even if the theme was "family". But story aside the action was killer and I think this is the best incarnation of the dudes yet. I'm so stoked out of my mind for another film but they've had trouble getting it greenlit: http://the-5th-turtle.blogspot.com

n0s0ap said...

the real latest TMNT 2 news: movie sequel non news news

Anonymous said...

"some old dude named Mako" He was a great actor by the way. He passed away just recently of esophageal cancer.....RIP Mako.

Chip Chief said...

i meant no disrespect for mako, but i just dont know how many people have heard of him by name. i also found the use of a single name to be a little unusual.

anyways, its a shame that he has passed on. his voice work is fantastic. from what i read, TMNT was his last performance.

n0s0ap said...

Mako's most memorable performance for me was Samauri Jack's Aku. One of my favorite villains ever!