‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Reviews Are Mixed But Not Childhood Destroying

Guardians of the Galaxy gave a significant bump to a down 2014 summer box office, but will Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles be able to do the same? Initial reviews released Monday for this new take on the “Heroes in a Half-Shell” reveal that the movie probably won’t destroy your childhood, but it will strain to earn your hard-earned dollars.

The Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles seemed a natural fit, given the director’s success with the Transformers franchise. However, it was met with immediate condemnation from fans as initial plans included an alien origin and shortening the name to simply Ninja Turtles.

The film evolved into something less divergent from its comic and cartoon origins, but TMNT purists will still find reasons to dislike the effort directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans) and starring Megan Fox (Transformers), who had some hard words for “haters.”

Variety‘s Justin Chang wrote:

“[P]roducer Michael Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman have delivered a back-to-basics origin saga that is neither a particularly good movie nor the pop-cultural travesty that some were dreading. Much slicker-looking but less endearing than its ’90s live-action predecessors, the film manifests all the usual attributes of a Bay production — chaotic action, crass side jokes, visual-effects overkill, Megan Fox — but is nowhere near “Transformers”-level off-putting.”

The Wrap‘s Alonso Duralde added:

“There are a few thrills and a few laughs in this re-jiggered, CGI-heavy reimagining of the comic book/TV/movie superstars, but even by kid-movie standards, it’s a hollow experience.”

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Justin Lowe says:

“Liebesman relies on his genre-film resume to keep events moving at a brisk clip and the motion-capture process employed to facilitate live-action integration with cutting-edge VFX looks superior onscreen, sharply and smoothly rendering some thrilling action scenes and delivering impactful 3D character detail. However, the drawn-out two-hour runtime and the nonstop cartoonish violence may deter some would-be fans, or perhaps the adults who pay for their movie tickets.”

Slash Film‘s Germain Lussier was a little harsher:

“It’s not a total disaster. The Turtles themselves, now fully realized with performance-capture CG, look impressive. Their demeanors often harken back to the happy-go-lucky characters from various hit TV incarnations. Unfortunately, those personalities rarely get to shine because the film is hell-bent on setting up an overly complicated, way-too coincidental plot that never gives the Turtles a chance to breathe. The rare times we’re with them, they’re always preoccupied with saving one person or beating up a bunch of others. And because the Turtles never get to be true characters, there’s no emotional core and the movie fades away.”

Megan Fox - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
How was Megan Fox's performance in TMNT?

Interestingly, Comic Book Movie’s Nathan Best actually had positive things to say about Megan Fox’s performance in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

“This is Megan’s best performance and goes a long ways towards showing that she’s ‘more than meets the eye’, as Liebesman is fond of saying. Not only is it her best performance, it’s also a performance that gives us an April O’Neil that isn’t your standard ‘damsel in distress.’ She’s willing and able to fight back.”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be released on Friday, August 8th. The PG-13 action-adventure-comedy is directed by Jonathan Liebesman and stars Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fitchner, Whoopi Goldberg, Johnny Knoxville, Tony Shalhoub, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Minae Noji, Abby Elliot, Pete Ploszek, and Danny Woodburn.

What do you think of these reviews for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles so far? Are you planning to go see it when it opens on Friday?

[Images via Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]