Turtle Power

Jenna Gerling

Heroes in a half shell reunite

TMNT’s prospective viewers will be that of two very different generations: Twenty-somethings who have far surpassed their Donatello action figure days, and the much younger age group that enjoys the 2003’s revived version of the turtles’ cartoons on the Fox Network Saturday mornings.

For the older and more educated “turtle power” fans, there was one big difference with TMNT — no foam turtle suits. Unlike the turtles’ first three movies, their current film was animated by Imagi Animation Studios, which may have had an affect on some of the viewers’ expectations. Skepticism aside, the storyline of TMNT proved to exceed their previous judgments.

The movie’s storyline picks up right after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ second movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secret of the Ooze, where Splinter asks Leonardo to leave the group of hard-shelled brothers in order to become a better leader. But this leaves the other three brothers lost without him.

In Leo’s absence, Donatello becomes a computer tech, Michelangelo takes a day job as a birthday party mascot and Raphael spends his nightlife as The Night Watcher, catching bad guys by himself and risking the secrecy of the brothers’ identities.

Just as all of the other movies and cartoons, Raphael carries the heaviness of his spite, rebelliousness, anger and jealousy for the duration of the film. But with TMNT, the confrontation between Raphael and Leonardo finally occurs. Leonardo and Raphael have a fight scene, spurred by Raphael’s resentment and refusal to follow Leo’s orders. This scene was quite surprising and moving when Raphael’s realizations about himself and his brother hit him.

A split theme runs alongside the plot of the brothers and essentially mirrors the brothers’ conflicts: Ancient warrior Winters becomes immortal when opening a portal into another dimension; but instead of defeating enemies, he turns his four warriors into stone and lets 13 monsters out to wreak havoc on Earth for centuries.

Winters often refers to his fighters as brothers, and once he revives their stone bodies into moving, fighting statues, deception begins.

At one point Splinter says, “I hate to see brothers fight,” during the last action sequence when Winters’ stone warriors plot against him. This is a direct reflection of both Leonardo and Winters as leaders, and their “brothers” fighting against them – just as Raphael did.

This comparison shows that all the evil and good in the world seem to have problems — such as leadership and loyalty — but the moral is that by working together, the team becomes one and therefore fights even stronger.

Rather than shooting for a cartoon appeal, the movie elects to go for an emo and punk-rock stylized soundtrack. Gym Class Heroes, Amber Pacific and Cute Is What We Aim For all contribute to the movie’s score.

A nice lead from a Foot Ninja hints to a possible sequel to the animated movie. A previously defeated villain may be in the Turtles’ near futures.

Despite all the pre-conceived notions of the next generation of Ninja Turtles turning childhood memories into sour grapes, TMNT stands out as a solid flick. And as for the animation? You’ll just have to see it for yourself.


(Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

Starring Chris Evans,

Sarah Michelle Gellar,

Patrick Stewart, Kevin Smith

Directed by Kevin Munroe

Rated PG for animated action violence, some scary cartoon images and mild language

Stater rating (out of five): ****

Contact ALL correspondent Jenna Gerling at [email protected].