Quotes of the Week: Trashing the Turtles
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie inspired some howls of outrage from critics. As usual, when movies are good, the writers I admire are good, but when they’re bad, they’re better.
I enjoyed this one from Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir:
Yes, every moment when the ultra-buff turtles are on screen, busting each other’s chops, doing human beat-box routines and ineptly pitching woo at Megan Fox (because they’re, you know, teenagers) was so acutely painful that I had to draw on my own ninja training and reflect intensively on the transitory nature of all phenomena, just to fend off the profound yearning for death.
Charlie Jane Anders spells it out in the headline over at i09: The New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Fails in Every Possible Way. Count number one:
Any time you revamp a beloved series like TMNT, you have to please the die-hard fans while also appealing to newcomers. And unfortunately, this film feels like it’s not quite going to do either of those things — I’m guessing the redesigned turtles are too weird-looking, and the storyline is too generic and off-base, to please long-time Turtle-lovers, while neophytes will wonder what the fuss was about.
It’s the classic problem: this movie goes out of its way to shoehorn in all of the trappings (pizza, ninjitsu, “heroes on the half shell,” etc.) but misses the core of what made people love the Ninja Turtles back in the day — their basic weirdness and silliness. Great care is taken with the surface, but the core is completely empty.
(Plus in a weird echo of last year’s Lone Ranger, the Turtles are apparently embarrassed to say “Cowabunga,” and apologize profusely before actually saying it.)
She goes on to take down the film in every category: not funny, poorly staged action, poor use of CGI. Basically, she’s a ninja critic.
On Grantland, Wesley Morris uses a variation on Karl Marx (who would approve this update, I am sure):
In Hollywood, history repeats first as farce, then as marketing.