Sunday, March 3, 2024

Movie Review: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem”

MosaicArts and EntertainmentMovie Review: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem”

BY SHAYNA DEMICK
Co-Managing Mosaic Editor




BY DANNY TULL
Staff Writer




Danny: In recent years, movie studios have released titles that still leave the audience confused on what the film will be about. “Nope (2022),” “Lightyear (2022),” “RRR (2023)” and “Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)” are just a few examples. You won’t have that problem with “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.” There’s plenty of mutants, mayhem and more when it comes to this film.

Four teenage mutant ninja turtles (TMNT), Donatello, Michaelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo (voiced by Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr, Brady Noon and Nicolas Cantu, respectively), all skilled in martial arts, live in the sewers and are raised by their adoptive and single father, Splinter (voiced by Jackie Chan). Despite being a rat, it does not change the fact that Splinter loves his turtle sons very much. He became protective of them after traumatic events involving humans in their shared past. As the brothers start to reach adolescence, they long to explore New York City, which Splinter forbids them from doing.

After a night of sneaking out, the boys retrieve the bike of aspiring teen journalist April O’Neil (voiced by Ayo Edebiri) from some criminals. It’s in this scene where they make their first human friend. From this interaction, the group of teens work together to reach internet stardom and acceptance from society. Unfortunately, another group of mischievous mutants led by Superfly (voiced by Ice Cube) has alternative plans. Seeking to transform the world’s entire animal population into mutants, they intend to unify and destroy all the humans. It’s only through this that Superfly feels his mutant group can be safe and accepted. It’s up to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to stop them, find another way to live alongside humans and come to terms with their own personal worth.

Shayna: My brother forced me to watch the TMNT movie after  already seeing it, claiming it was so good he needed to view it twice. While I can’t say I agree that the movie was worth watching twice in theaters, it is a very enjoyable film. 

I knew that it wouldn’t disappoint when I found out that Seth Rogen wrote it during his recorded introduction of the film. I love that man, truly. “The Interview” and “Superbad” (both comedy films that Seth Rogen wrote and acted in) are some of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. Let it be known that I find Seth Rogen to be quite the cutie. In fact, in 2020 he made my extensive list of celebrity crushes. That doesn’t mean too much, given the year – 2020 made many of us think questionable thoughts – and my blatant lesbianism. While this fact isn’t important, it’s critical to know that I’m a little bit biased when it comes to anything Seth Rogen. He has a special place in my little queer heart. 

Another one of my faux 2020 crushes, Paul Rudd, was also in the film. He plays the role of down to earth mutant Mondo Gecko, something 2020 Shayna would’ve been very pleased about.  

The script of the film was unsurprisingly phenomenal. I laughed … a lot. Significantly more than my parents sitting beside me, who clearly did not understand the many Gen Z jokes. The film definitely seemed to be curated for Gen Z, which makes sense, given that my generation grew up on the show.

However, I did not personally watch the show growing up. This was made very clear when in fourth grade, I wanted to buy a TMNT shirt from Forever 21 (for the aesthetic, of course), but my brother told me I needed to correctly name one of the turtles in order to get his blessing for the purchase. After many minutes of brain rattling, I successfully named Michaelangelo, but a true fan would be able to name more than one character from the show. Alas, I did not buy the shirt. 

I digress. The film was lovely: the plot had a clear beginning and end, the character development was crystal clear and the watching experience was highly entertaining. This film is certainly feel-good, where you grow to love nearly all of the characters (the best kind of film, in my opinion). 

Danny: Contrary to Shayna, I did grow up watching the many TMNT series. One of my favorite things to do as an only child on Saturday mornings was to sneak to the living room, pour a bowl of Cap’n Crunch and scream “COWABUNGA!” as the 2004 TMNT theme song came on. Coincidentally, Michaelangelo, with his nunchucks and chill energy, was my favorite. 

However, my favorite part of the film is Ice Cube’s funny maliciousness and his addressing of the turtles as “little tortoises.” You have to watch the movie to fully get the humor of how he says it. It was enjoyable to see him voicing this crazy character. As a TMNT for-lifer, I agree with Shayna’s sentiments of the film being lovely, and you can tell a lot of  passion went into the design of the characters and storyline. 

Whether you have a nostalgic tie to TMNT since your youth or happen to be a Seth Rogen super-fan, you should check out the film. It’s safe to say we rate the film 10 shells out of 10. COWABUNGA!

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