How many of you readers know what that acronym stands for? Anybody? Anybody? Okay, I'll tell you. It means "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." Anybody who lived through the '80s probably knows that, except those who were not paying attention to popular childhood culture at the time.
This particular movie is a computer animated film that was reviewed as nothing more than middle-of-the-road. As it turns out, I quite enjoyed it. I put it into our Blockbuster queue, fully expecting that it would show up sometime in 2009, but suddenly it was on it's way, and we were obligated to watch it. (Okay, I was -- my wife wasn't so convinced.) What I found was pretty compelling stuff. Read on.
The fact that the main characters are mutant turtles that walk, talk, and eat a lot of pizza was actually fairly irrelevant. They could have been replaced by any four (or even three, as the case may be) brothers with a penchant for the martial arts. The movie itself was actually quite grown up -- there were only a few flatulence gags and, strangely enough, I thought there were far too few utterances of "cowabunga" and "dude" for the characters being portrayed.
What impressed me most were the themes involved. Portrayed were the concepts of honor (of course, what ninja movie can do without?), brotherly kindness, teamwork, forgiveness, and long-coming penitence. All this was wrapped around fairly grown up dialog, steadily paced through the film in a manner that was quite contrary to what one would expect. The action sequences were very well done, particularly for CGI, and a rooftop scene in the rain where two of the brother-turtles were fighting each other was nothing short of poignant.
All in all, I'll give this a 3 out of 4 stars. I think it's well worth renting once, particularly if you remember the Turtles from your youth and want to take a more grown up stroll down memory lane. All in all, it was even fairly child appropriate -- if you children know anything about the Turtles. We decided not to have our kids spend 2 hours in front of the TV watching characters with whom they have no emotional history.
I wonder what Blockbuster will send us next?!
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