The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Mutant ninjas fight, again

In 1984, the world would have never known that their children would look up to four amphibians as their heroes. Four turtles, named after the renaissance artists Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello, were mutated and trained to fight evil. They lived in the sewers, ate pizza and were guided by their rat sensei, Splinter. The four famous amphibians were simply called the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

First created as comic-book characters, Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman have sparked a sensation with these lovable creatures.

After a television series that debuted in 1987 that ran for more than nine years, and three live-action films, Warner Bros. has now created a full computer-generated movie to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of “turtle power.” With a strong voice cast, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, Chris Evans and Ziyi Zhang, this new movie once again utters the word “Cowabunga!”

However, the new revival of the Turtles franchise seems to be in a bit of a “shell shock” after several years of absence from the big screen. The action falls short and the characters seem unfamiliar. It shows that they have not been together in a long time, as the movie conceals their collective charisma that originally made the Turtles such a hit. The characters’ voices also disappoint.

Laurence Fishburne’s prominent voice narrates the movie’s beginning. An ancient threat arises in New York City as a menacing immortal is born and unknown creatures are let loose. Sarah Michelle Gellar voices the turtles’ most trusted ally, April O’Neil, a former reporter who is now a bit of an archeologist. Gellar, known by many as the star of the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” shows a lack of emotion and interest in her dialogue, even at the beginning of the movie when her character blandly asks Leonardo to come back from his training in South America.

Master Splinter, voiced by Academy Award nominee Makoto Iwamatsu, sounded like a drunken Asian sailor. Chris Evans is voice of the turtles’ vigilante comrade, Casey Jones. Evan’s voice sounded as confused as his character seemed to be most of the time.

Confusion brewed among the turtles throughout the movie. Since Leonardo’s departure, the other three greens have parted ways through their different activities. However, their individual attitudes are still intact. Donatello uses his Einstein-like brain to serve as a phone-in technology support guy. Michelangelo is still “the dude with the party attitude,” as remains the children’s party mascot. Raphael still hones the reckless, arrogant and rogue emotions he is known for, while fighting crime on his own as the “Nightwatcher.” Leonardo still has the reputation of being their wise and fearless leader. The turtles are never portrayed as they were in the past, as the movie played too much on their shortcomings with each other.

Upon Leonardo’s arrival, Raphael immediately disapproves of his commands. Donatello and Michelangelo were portrayed as side characters instead of key members of their crime-fighting team. Both characters almost served no purpose in the story’s plot, as the film focused on Leonardo and Raphael’s conflict that eventually lead to a climactic battle between the two. It was not until the movie’s end that audiences get to see some real old-school ninja turtle action.

The only character that fit his role perfectly was the movie’s antagonist, Max Winters, voiced by Patrick Stewart, who also starred in the X-Men trilogy. Although Stewart’s villainous character did not resemble a typical ninja turtle villain because he did not wear an unusual costume or called himself “the Shredder,” the character does well as the turtles’ new bad guy. Michelangelo’s comedic slurs also pulses life into the movie’s tiring dialogue.

The graphics were the only well dome aspect in the movie. The computer-generated human characters closely resemble humans portrayed in Pixar Studio’s “The Incredibles,” and the turtles’ graphics were sophisticatedly detailed. In a fight scene between Leonardo and Raphael, rain gave their skin a natural shine, as individual drops of rain could be seen on their amphibian skin. The environments and backdrops were also very detailed and enhanced scene after scene. Max Winter’s four main henchmen with an ancient Egyptian style, were exceptionally unique from any other characters in the movie.

The film keeps the turtles in their shells. Instead of blowing the lids off sewers to celebrate their unexpected comeback, they peek out from inside their shells with a bit of uncertainty.

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