TMNT: Out Of The Shadows – and into the light?

Yes. For whoever’s sake. I finally did it.

I watched Michael Bay’s “TMNT: Out of the Shadows”.

And I freaking LOVED IT!

I need to say that I kinda despised Michael Bay for ruining one of my childhood favorites: Transformers. The first movie was okay, since it set some focus not only on the action but on the characters as well (though it seemed that ther was some comic relief more than one time by the handy (or doors?) or Bumblebee). But the second was flawed since it threw in a lot of nameless Decepticons, the third one felt just like crushing Chicago for shits and giggles – and don’t even mention the fourth one! I watched it until Mark Wahlberg showed up the first time and then turned it off. It was just boring!

When I heard that there would be a new Turtles movie in 2014, I was excited, since Turtles was another childhood favorite of mine. My excitement dropped fast when I heard that Bay was producing it, but I still watched it. Though… It was boring. Nice action, Nice CGI on the Turtles and even Shredder, but no real development of the characters of our beloved Donatello, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael and Splinter. Then thrown in Megan Fox as “damsel in distress” April O’Neill and a typical “good vs. evil” story – and a lot of “Boom! goes the dynamite!”. Nothing to really keep me entertained for about 100 minutes.

After being disappointed of this piece of wasted time, I was sceptical if Bay would become better at transporting 90′s kids Comic and TV franchises into the 21st century. Still, hearing about Rocksteady and Bebop as well as Krang appearing in the second installment of the new franchise, I got hyped again, eager to watch the movie, though still taking it with a grain of salt.

And what can I say? Bay took the turn to the better! He made the story so that not only it is WAY more entertaining (not showing one explosion every 30 seconds), but it has some kind of plot you can follow. And the way it introduces the “new” characters Krang, Casey Jones (yes, our favorite Hockey vigilante), Rocksteady and Bebop is mostly believable.

OK, you can argue about Shredder being teleported into what I think being Dimension X to meet Krang for the first time being believable, but it’s a comic superhero story we’re talking about. Let’s cut the movie some slack!

One thing Bay definitely did right was creating Rocksteady and Bebop in a way that they look, feel and hear like the ones in the famous cartoon show running from 1987 to 1996. The same goes to Krang, though I definitely missed his dialogues with Shredder, and even his narcissism wasn’t that obvious. Still, he was a nice addendum, and seeing him screw over Shredder and taking the role as the main antagonist was great!

But I was talking about our favorite Rhino and Warthog!

The creators definitely watched the old cartoons and created their looks juuust perfect – even Bebops sunglasses! AND they were as funny as their 1987 counterparts! But with much less comic relief jokes due to being clumsy and stuff, but just entertaining! These two guys were more than just two shitty henchmen who are only in for the laughs, they felt like a real threat to our four ninja heroes.

Now to Casey. I think he’s one of the characters the creators didn’t do full justice. He was good overall, but 1) he had too little to add to the plot and 2) he seemed too nice. Even his run-ins with Raphael were tame in comparison to what I heard about the original comics (I have to admit I never read them, but maybe I will sometime). So not adding him to the movie wouldn’t leave too big of a hole.

Now, let’s talk Fox- errr, I mean April O’Neill.

I know that she was a side character all along. Still, she was also an important one who also showed some strength occasionally. Having her just as some kind of damsel in distress in the first movie was heartbraking for me to see! Megan Fox may look nice, but I wasn’t buying her performance on April. Good looks aren’t everything!

I was relieved to see that the creators corrected this issue in the sequel. April feels like a much stronger character, and in no way does she get into a situation where she needs to be rescued – not counting being surrounded by foot soldiers in that dark alley, b/c she wasn’t even afraid. That scene just felt like a neccessary tool to introduce Casey Jones to our heroes. Nothing really driving the plot here – not even the vial of ooze that, in the end, wasn’t even used, even though it caused a lot of stress! Some kinda useless plot device that didn’t even drive the main story!

Finally back to our main protagonists, our favorite CGI ninja turtle teenagers (not as catchy as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, is it?). While I was missing the dynamics between the four as well as their distinct characters in the first movie, I was happy to see that the creators put more focus on developing their characters in the sequel! The feeling of being left out of society in Mikey, the anger issues of Raph, Leo’s self-doubt – those are all believable character traits. Only Don seemed to be coming a little short on this. He was just the science guy on the team, the nerd, so to speak. He was important for certain plot points like hacking into some computers, but he didn’t really play a role in things like team dynamics and stuff. He was just there!

All in all this was a movie that finally felt like Bay is getting better at creating good movies out of awesome source material. Transformers is f*cked up and will surely stay that way, but TMNT had a weak start but got better with the second installment. And since there are still some questions unanswered after the movie was over, I’m sure there will be another part in this franchise.


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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
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