2007 · Warner Bros / Imagi Animation Studios
TMNT — Movie Review by Karthik
8 out of 10
Directing Credits
Kevin Munroe
Writing Credits
Written by Kevin Munroe
(Voice cast) Chris Evans, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Patrick Stewart, Mako, Zhang Ziyi, Mitchell Whitfield, James Arnold Taylor, Mikey Kelley, Nolan North

The Review

A little over a year has passed since the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles defeated The Shredder.  Now, we find the TMNT a broken family — Leonardo is in Central America, training to become a better leader; while back home, Donatello works as a Tech Support Operator, Michelangelo works as a costumed entertainer at kids' parties, and Raphael goes out every night to fight crime as the vigilante The Night Watcher.  April O'Neil is an expert on old relics, and Casey Jones works as her assistant.  When millionaire industrialist Max Winters acquires four ancient Japanese stone statues, and later reanimates them and starts using them to capture thirteen monsters, it seems he's up to no good.  Fortunately, Leonardo returns to New York, and the TMNT regroup — but before they can save the day, they must resolve the conflict between themselves.

TMNT — Movie Review by Karthik Abhiram, Screenshot 1

I was a huge fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when I was younger, and have watched most of the hundred-plus episodes of the 1980s animated series, all three live action films from the 90s (the second one, particularly, I have watched some 30 or 40 times I think — "Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go!"), and read a few early issues of the original Kevin Eastman/Peter Laird comics, and even a few of the 90s Archie comics incarnations of the TMNT.  I kind of tuned out after that, and never watched the "Next Mutation" TV series, and the newer animated series (well, that last one was never shown in India I think, so I can be forgiven for that).  When I heard in late 2006 that a new 3D-animated TMNT film was in the works, I was kind of skeptical as to how good it would be.  Boy, I need not have been worried, for what emerges here is a very good film indeed!

TMNT — Movie Review by Karthik Abhiram, Screenshot 2

The present film is written and directed by Kevin Munroe, featuring some name actors providing voices for the characters.  The filmmakers seem to have had a lot of respect for the material.  The overall premise of the series, with four mutated turtles trained in the art of ninja and fighting crime is quite absurd, but the original comics went with the concept and were quite serious and violent at times.  The cartoon series was obviously far lighter and comedic in tone (but that's not to say it wasn't good, for it definitely provided lots of entertainment and some quite inventive stories).  This movie, while mainly targeted at kids, still has quite an engaging story and never dumbs down the turtles or reduces them to cartoonish characters.  It's a nice balance between the lighter cartoons and the serious comics.  Even Klaus Badelt's music score echoes this — it's dramatic in tone.

Character development is quite good, the conflict between Leonardo and Raphael was nicely done.  As one other review pointed out, though there are big-name stars doing the voice work, that doesn't get in the way of the characters or the storytelling (when you're watching Max Winters, you're watching Max Winters, and not a computer generated character voiced by Patrick Stewart).  The voice acting was also generally good all around.

TMNT — Movie Review by Karthik Abhiram, Screenshot 3

The animation is way better than I thought it would be, with the visuals adopting an overall darker look (most of the film takes place at night, with the cityscape as a backdrop).  The turtles themselves look totally convincing, and very lifelike.  Personally, I prefer this CGI version to the people-in-suits version from the 90s films — mostly because CGI allows for far more fluid and convincing movement of the turtles during fight or action sequences.  One particular fight sequence, set in rain, really lets the animators show off what they can do with this technology — it's quite stunning.  The film goes with a stylised/cartoonish look for the human characters, which also looks good.  The action scenes, of course, were fast-paced and exciting, and though I'd have preferred to see a bit more martial arts from the turtles, I was very pleased with what was there in the movie.

As you can tell from what I've written, I really enjoyed TMNT, and pretty much every aspect of the film exceeded expectations.  Hope to see further TMNT movies from Imagi Studios/Munroe and Co.!

Other Notes

The voice of the diner clerk is provided by Kevin Smith, and Laurence Fishburne is the narrator.

More Details

Running Time: 85 minutes | Country: US | Genre: Action/Adventure

Ratings Info

I rate all movies or game add-ons on a scale of 1 to 10 points.  1 is the lowest score, 6 is barely above average, 8 is good, and 10 is excellent (this score doesn't indicate something that is perfect in every way — it just means that I enjoyed it a lot).  You'll find that I tend to give ratings of 8 and above often (that's only because I enjoy whatever I'm reviewing!).  Reviews are updated as felt necessary.  Of course, everything said in these reviews is my humble opinion only.
Review Date 8 Apr 07
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The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

Email: karthik82 -AT- gmail -DOT- com
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