Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem - Review

Since their introduction in the pages of a comic book back in 1984, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have now seen seven film adaptations. Somehow, this animated version is the first one to feature actual teenagers portraying the heroes in half shells. And the film is all the better for it, taking the enthusiasm, immaturity and general goofiness of its young cast and infusing the titular characters with an infectious energy that makes this film a blast to watch.

After years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtle brothers (Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr., Nicolas Cantu & Brady Noon) set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers. Their new friend, April O'Neil (Ayo Edebiri), helps them take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them.

For what feels like the first time in while, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are relevant to the world again with this version. Gone are the charming rubber suits of the ‘90s. No more monstrous CGI versions of the mid-2010s. Just this grimy, lively and fun animated version, occupying a world that feels rich and worthy of being explored in the future. And let’s hope we all get to step into the sewers to see it soon.

One thing that’s really started to improve over the last five years is the variety to animation styles in major studio animated features. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is another that utilizes its unique style to pitch perfect effect. The griminess and general weirdness in each character’s design is incredible, and it works to build this world in unique ways. The turtles themselves are pretty standard, but the way they move and flow through this world is so well done, and proves why variety truly is the spice of life. 

The story is nothing spectacular, it largely serves as an extended origin for the characters to become the heroes they are, but it does its job well. It often teeters on the edge of devolving too far into the oddities of the ragtag bunch of antagonists, but wisely pulls back to focus on the relationship between the brothers at the heart of it all. And that relationship is what makes this film, bolstered by the pretty great voice work of the aforementioned teenagers.

No comments :

Post a Comment