Theatrical Review: TMNT

Here is a movie that needs little introduction. Based on the 1984 graphic novel and subsequent movie sequels and cartoon shows, this movie hit an already eager viewing audience.

It’s been fourteen years since the release of the last film, and this one doesn’t waste much time getting right back into it. After a somewhat inconsequential prologue, we are quickly reintroduced to the four brothers and their recent ventures. Unlike other continuity reboots, such as Superman Returns, TMNT does not dwell long on the past, though the references make you remember quite often.

The story runs the typical ex-superhero team gamut. We have a world where the turtles have pretty much stopped all their major enemies, leaving them to the tedium of a normal albeit teen-aged mutant life. A new threat arises, however, forcing the brothers to reunite and stand together as one.

The film does a good job bringing the turtles back to their roots. It comes close to the original comic’s grim and gritty feel, a definite departure from the previous three. Few animated features manage to break out of the mold, offering something for children and adults alike, but this is one of them.

From start to finish there is little to pull you out of the action. There is a definite pace that draws you in quickly and carries you through until the end, which, unfortunately comes all too soon.

The animation is done masterfully, flowing more fluent than many of its predecessors. Movies like Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, and The Polar Express seem like ancient technology by comparison. With realistic physics and wonderfully rendered backgrounds to balance out the slightly cartoonish character design, TMNT should be recognized as cutting edge, at least for the next few years.

Final Score – **** (Excellent)

Final Word – All and all, the movie is beautifully animated, maintaining a careful bridge between the cartoon shows and the live-action films. I personally felt that it was too short, lasting only 87 minutes, but that is to be expected. As Imagi Animation’s first feature length film, it definitely feels like they were testing the water. Hopefully we’ll see further sequels as well made as this one.

13. April 2007 by Joshua Ebling
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