Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review Round-Up

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens in theaters this weekend, and the critics have begun weighing [...]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens in theaters this weekend, and the critics have begun weighing in.

So far, the reviews aren't exactly glowing, with most reviews criticizing the reboot film for feeling too much like producer Michael Bay's Transformers franchise.

The Wrap's Alonso Durande says that the film is a soulless experience, even by the standards of children's films:

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.

Variety's chief film critic, Justin Chang, is a little more forgiving, saying that the film isn't great, but isn't a train wreck either.

If nothing else, Paramount's attempt at a bigscreen "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" reboot should make for a fascinating case study in the power of fan outrage. Following the online uproar over their proposed deviations from the original material, among them a shortened title ("Ninja Turtles") and a bizarre alien-planet backstory, producer 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. It should be a pretty easy shell to audiences worldwide.

The Hollywood Reporter's Justin Lowe says the film is overly long, and will likely bore its young target demographic, as well as their parents.

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.

Screen Daily's Tim Grierson says  that director Jonathan Liebesman borrows too much of Michael Bay's style, importing many of the blockbuster director's flaws as well.

Impersonal and derivative, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboots the titular reptiles and decides in the process that they might as well just be Transformers with green skin and martial arts skills. Though the film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Battle Los AngelesWrath Of The Titans), the movie's slick, disposable soul seems imported from producer Michael Bay, whose Transformers franchise trademarked the sort of lumbering, over-the-top action and juvenile humour that's on full display here.

It seems unlikely that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be a critical darling, by any stretch. However, the film is frequently being compared to Transformers, and if that franchise has taught us anything it's that a film doesn't need to be good to make a ton of money.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens August 8.