As if TMNT wasn’t a difficult enough acronym to handle, we now have ROTTMNT:TMthat doesn’t translate into Rotten Mint Time: The Moviealthough that could be fun, but rather, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, now on Netflix. Inventory: Raise was the fourth TMNT animated television series to run from 2018 to 2020, and updated the anthropomorphic reptiles for “kids today” who, judging by the series, want things to be louder and faster than things loud and fast that previous generations enjoyed. It’s the first TMNT movie since 2016’s live-action crudfest. TMNT: Out of the Shadowsand the first animated film since 2007’s Movie We Forgot Exist, TMNT. Rise: The Movie is a continuation of the series’ anime-inspired angular 2-D story, tone, and visual style, highly anticipated by, uh, the audience seemingly too small to prevent the show from being axed. in herds not large enough. Now let’s see if you can justify your own existence.
The essence: DATE: THE FUTURE. It’s 2044. Hell is on Earth, which means the Republicans have won the rimshot! Or, slightly less worse, aliens from another dimension showed up and turned the planet into a bubblegum pink wasteland, I guess only inhabitable by microscopic parasites and Ted Cruz clones, assuming you can tell them apart. The aliens are called Krangs and our intrepid Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, presumably aren’t teenagers anymore, assuming the passage of time gets to them, and maybe not, who knows, being mutants and all, they’re trying to stop them. It does not work. Leonardo (Ben Schwartz) is the “world’s greatest ninja,” which isn’t saying much considering the state of the world’s population, and Michelangelo (Brandon Mychal Smith), once a babbling idiot, is now a great wizard. mystic with a skull. The only hope of saving the world is, obviously, to open a time portal and send his friend Casey Jones (Haley Joel Osment!), a wrestler with a hockey mask and a stick adorned with a chainsaw, back 20 years to find a nonsense and prevent the Krang from getting that nonsense and thus prevent the whole Krang thing from happening.
So that’s the main plot. In 2022, it’s been two years since Nickelodeon canceled The Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, because that’s how math works. The turtle boys now have mystical powers, and God please don’t ask me what they are, because it requires making sense of one of the film’s many manically hyperventilating action sequences. So they’re different, is what I’m saying, but not so different that you don’t recognize them as the goofy pizza warriors we’ve known and loved since, like, 1986? It’s called integrity brand integrity. Such integrity, the whole thing of mystical powers is dropped, so we don’t see them doing anything much different either. Namely, his actions, which are as violent as ever. Always with violence. No conflict involving the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will ever be resolved through diplomacy. Without obligation. Disagree to disagree. Just kicks, punches, cuts, hits, explosions, stabs, crashes, explosions and screams. Loud and violent screams. You’ll be riding the kids to mount that damn volume knob, but you’d be foolish to expect anything else.
Which movies will it remind you of? The plot is heavily based on the terminatorso go ahead and call it the turtle, I don’t care at all. Features shades of Marvel stuff and Ghostbusters, also. But yes ROTTMNT:TM shamelessly steal anything, is the rapid-fire sarcastic tone of Teen Titans Go!.
Performance worth seeing: The turtles’ rat father figure, Master Splinter (Eric Bauza), wants those damned chatty kids to calm down so he can watch their stories, and we’re all there for him, aren’t we? (And he gets the best one-liners.)
Memorable Dialogue: Splinter criticizes the big bad bad acting bad for himself: “This psycho grind is wearing thin. Where is the character development?
Sex and skin: None.
Our take: This here is 82 minutes of WHATEVS. Vividly colorful, more than occasionally but less often funny, reasonably entertaining WHAT, but it is WHAT nonetheless. There’s a villain that looks like SpongeBob antagonist Plankton in a Trump wig, mutants that mutate over their already established mutations, and creatures with endlessly sprouting tentacle brains that look like Kang and Kodos on acid, and I mean literal acid, as in hydrochloric, poured on top of them until they’re all pink and melted. The overall aesthetic of the film makes normal hyperbole sound like a mouse farting under a padded-top mattress, and made me wish I was under general anesthesia at times.
I can’t say it’s uninspired, but I can say it feels like it never stops. It’s an endless beating. Gags and action, gags and action, gags and action, lasers and color and explosions and movement. (I forgot to put a verb in that sentence.) (Do I need a verb?) (I probably don’t need a verb.) At one point, a tortoise says, “Shouldn’t we talk about this before we run?” Leave all the fuss halfway? and that’s the film’s most blatantly self-aware joke. Heck, that’s the movie’s baked hardcore. philosophy – and perhaps we should appreciate the irony here, that bringing such a lunatic philosophy to life is not easy to do, and is a remarkable technical achievement, even if it will never win an Emmy or an Oscar. However, he still can’t quite figure it all out. Did I mention the other two turtles, Donatello (Josh Brener) and Raphael (Omar Benson Miller)? Does it matter? Hell and Jesus cheese on a cracker God no, he doesn’t. But I have to fit it in somewhere.
Our call: Is not mucus secret but what is it? Go ahead, STREAM IT, delete yourself, if you don’t do it first.
John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work at johnserbaatlarge.com.
Stream Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie on netflix