Anthony's Film Review
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)
The introduction of various new characters and the continuation of exciting action keep the new Ninja Turtles exciting...
When I look back on the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, I notice one thing I didn't really see earlier. While that movie can stand on its own, its real purpose is to test the waters. In other words, it reintroduces the world of TMNT, by showing us for the first time a reimagining of the core elements, namely the four Turtles (Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael), their rat master Splinter, the reporter April O'Neil (played by Megan Fox in this new series), and the villainous Shredder, to see if the public's reaction to the movie is favorable overall. If so, then a sequel would be a safe bet. I say all of this because the sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, is one that clearly tries to go above and beyond its predecessor.
Notice that this movie is close to two hours long while the 2014 movie was a little more than one-and-a-half hours long. It's a sign that the filmmakers felt a bit more free to make a bigger film and did not have to be as conservative with its filming budget. With that, this movie introduces not one, or two, or three, or even four, but FIVE new characters: an evil scientist named Baxter Stockman (played here by Tyler Perry), a mutant warthog named Bebop, a mutant rhinoceros named Rocksteady, an alien brain-like creature in a humanoid robotic body named Krang, and a vigilante in a hockey mask named Casey Jones. When I heard that this movie would bring to life these five characters who originally appeared in the TMNT television cartoon of the 1980s and 1990s, I asked myself if the movie would be a mess because there are too many characters to follow.
Surprisingly, this is where I give the writers credit. Usually, a movie that introduces too many characters may fall flat because none of them are given enough of a focus, and perhaps each of those characters occupies one single plotline, such that keeping track of multiple characters requires keeping track of multiple plotlines. In TMNT: Out of the Shadows, the five new characters I just mentioned are all introduced within the first 20 minutes of the movie, in what is essentially a single plotline. If I explain that further, I would only take away the surprise of how neatly written that segment of the movie is. Just know that you won't be overwhelmed or confused by having that many new characters introduced at once.
So let's talk briefly about the plot. Basically, the Shredder, with the aid of Stockman, Bebop, and Rocksteady, agrees to help Krang open a portal to another dimension that will allow an alien race to take over planet Earth. April O'Neill has already begun looking into Stockman's connection to the Shredder and informs the Turtles. That's really all there is to it. Remember, the real appeal of the Ninja Turtles is the exciting action and adventure. It isn't so much the plot, though you'd want a simple good-guy-versus-bad-guy story so that all of the action makes sense.
The action here is what you'd expect. Being a 21st-century movie, there is computer-generated imagery enabling the Turtles to do things that were not possible to film for the 1990s live-action Turtles movies relying on mechanical puppetry. For example, there's a scene where the Turtles are jumping from one plane in mid-air to another, and another with some action in a South American river. I also appreciated how, like the previous Turtle movie, this movie puts the TMNT universe in today's world. It was neat to see, for instance, the police looking at the Shredder as a dangerous terrorist and the Turtles secretly watching a New York Knicks basketball game from way above the court.
This movie was, to be quite honest, as fun as the 2014 Ninja Turtles movie. I say this as a casual TMNT fan and as someone who can enjoy a good mindless popcorn movie as much as something more sophisticated. At this point, I have a feeling that a third movie in this new-generation TMNT series will be on the way. Mark my words. It's coming.
For more information about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of the following:
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Films