Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: A Mars vs Venus review

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: A Mars vs Venus review

STARRING: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Johnny Knoxville, William Fitchner

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Liebesman

THE SKINNY: Junior reporter April O'Neil (Fox) stumbles upon the story of a lifetime - crime-fighting turtles. She tracks them down and ends up joining their fight against the evil Foot Clan, which has spread its tentacles throughout the city and is planning some very bad things!

Along the way, April and her colleague Vernon (Arnett) get to know and love the wacky turtles.


THE CONSENSUS: Fans of the earlier Turtle flicks won't enjoy this empty shell of a reboot.


A Mars look

Byline: Jason Johnson

Back in 2007 a really good CGI version of TMNT came out. The turtles looked cool and had a lot of personality. The story was epic, spanning centuries and involving some cool monsters. It really seemed like a labour of love.

Unfortunately few saw it. And now, here we are with this Michael Bay-produced version. It's not so good.

The main problem is that the turtles are just so ugly. The earlier CGI version had a smooth and cartoony look. Now they are monstrosities. Their skin is blotchy, patchy and rough.

Their faces are freakish. Their shells sit weirdly on their backs - lumpy and gross, like unhealthy and unnatural growths. It was a constant source of distraction. To make matters worse, their clothes are shabby.

I don't know why the film-makers decided to go with the idea that the turtles should look so nasty - real turtles can be quite sleek. As for the story, it's a bore. The bad guys are trying to take over the city and the turtles are trying to stop them.

This would be fine, but after Marvel raised the bar for this sort of thing, films have to bring their A-game to stand out. Unfortunately, the Turtles team didn't.

Fox provides the only relief in this dark, dreary and dirty-looking flick. She has got her tight pants on.

A Venus look

Byline: Joanne Soh

This should be called The Megan Fox Show - but that's not much of a recommendation.

While Fox gives one of her best performances, her character is one-dimensional and empty - much like the entire film. It doesn't help that TMNT follows so close behind some superb CGI summer films particularly Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, which utilises similar performance-capture technology.

While Dawn's apes are realistic pieces of art, the turtles are the opposite.

Calling them grotesque sounds harsh, but they are certainly not good-looking creatures. Also, Splinter - the turtles' rat dad-cum-sensei - looks really off-putting.

Looks aside, the foursome also lack personality. Ironic, when each one is meant to have a distinctive trait.

As someone who grew up with the Turtles cartoons, I like my half-shell heroes to be cute, colourful, irreverent and witty.

There are some quips here and there but the general mood is dark, serious and gritty.

In one scene, our heroes do some impromptu beat-boxing - utterly silly, but very much in the spirit of the original Turtles.

Sadly, those moments are a rarity as director Liebesman rushes to the big action finale.

And as expected for something touched by the hand of Bay, the story is ludicrous, even for summer popcorn entertainment.


This article was first published on August 6, 2014.
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