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Welcome, World Travelers! TMNT: Mutant Mayhem Brings Turtle Power!

Welcome, World Travelers! TMNT: Mutant Mayhem Brings Turtle Power!

by James Coulter

I was born in 1987. The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtlescartoon was released in 1987. So, I’ve been a fan of the Turtles ever since I was born. I had a toy bin filled with Turtles action figures. I even had the Technodrome playset. (Though I always wanted the Turtles sewer playset as well!) So, if anyone should be excited to watch the new TMNT movie, it’s certainly me.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has had many incarnations over the years, including cartoons, comic books, video games, and movies. The latest theatrical adaptation, Mutant Mayhem, comes straight from the mind of “perpetual teenager” Seth Rogan. But will this new movie bring Turtle Power? Or is it time for the Turtles franchise to go back to the sewer?

IMDB Poster

Mutant Mayhem starts off with the same familiar backstory: four turtles and a rat get covered in ooze, transform into mutants, and learn the art of ninjitsu. However, this time around, the Turtles’ sole desire isn’t simply to become superheroes. Rather, they want to venture out of the sewer and into the human world to live as normal teenagers, but their rat father, Splinter, forbids it because he doesn’t trust humans.

Eventually, the Turtles sneak out of the sewer and rescue a human girl named April O’Neil, a high school reporter who’sinvestigating a string of robberies being carried out by a criminal gang, not lead by the Shredder, but rather a mutant named Superfly. Will the Turtles solve this crime spree?

Like Into the Spider-Verse and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, this computer-animated film takes on a unique highly-stylized animation style. While Into The Spiderverse felt like a comic book come to life, and The Last Wish felt like a storybook, Mutant Mayhem feels like a notebook of children’s marker drawings come to life its vibrant colors and uneven designs.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themselves are real fun. They act and talk like actual teenagers rather than young adults—and it helps that they’re performed by teenagers themselves. They have a very close, fun camraderie with one another with conversational talking-over-each-other dialogue that sounds exactly how other teenagers talk with each other.

The story itself isn’t anything new. The Turtles want to be part of the human world. Their father forbids it. They disobey them anyway. They meet other mutants that make them feel less alone, but discover these mutants are led by a villian who wants to destroy the human world so they can stop being oppressed. Essentially, it’s The Little Mermaid meets X-Men.

Despite its run-of-the-mill story, the movie itself is fun to watch with its vibrant art style, dynamic action scenes, and quick-witted conversational dialogue. Overall, the movie isn’t as good as the original 1990 live-action Turtles movie, but it’s way better than the Michael Bay movies that were released last decade. If you and your kids love the Ninja Turtles, you’ll love this movie. It’s a fun film that’ll have you screaming “Cowabunga!”

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