Where to Watch: In theaters
Release Date: August 2nd
Runtime: 1h 39m
Synopsis: After years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtle brothers set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers through heroic acts. Their new friend April O’Neil 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.
Starring: Micah Abbey voices Donatello, Shamon Brown Jr. voices Michelangelo, Nicolas Cantu voices Leonardo, Brady Noon voices Raphael, Ayo Edebiri voices April O’Neil, Hannibal Buress voices Ghengis Frog, Rose Byrne voices Leatherhead, John Cena voices Rocksteady, Jackie Chan voices Splinter, Ice Cube voices Superfly, Natasia Demetriou voices Wingnut, Giancarlo Esposito voices Baxter Stockman, Post Malone voices Ray Fillet, Seth Rogen voices Bebop, Paul Rudd voices Mondo Geck, and Maya Rudolph voices Cynthia Utrom.
Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and (my personal favorite) Raphael are back in action with the animated movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. As a long-time TMNT fan, I eagerly awaited this film’s release, and though I had high expectations, I knew that adaptations of beloved toy or game-based franchises could be tricky. However, this movie pleasantly surprised me and delivered a dose of nostalgia that warmed my heart. Let’s look at why Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem works so well and why I wholeheartedly recommend it.
One of the standout features of the film is the impeccable voice acting, bringing to life the distinct personalities of each turtle. From the righteous leadership of Leonardo to the lighthearted and party-loving Michelangelo, every turtle feels genuine and unique. The attention to detail (such as Michelangelo’s braces and Donatello’s headphones and fanny pack) adds depth to the characters and endears them to the audience.
Underneath all the action-packed sequences, there lies a compelling story about the turtles’ struggle to fit in, much like any regular teenager. Not only were the turtles struggling with this, April was as well, which helped her empathize with the turtles. However, the film’s brilliance lies in its focus on self-acceptance and self-discovery. Each character embarks on a journey to find their true selves, allowing them to be comfortable in their own shells. This theme resonates not only with the turtles but also with other mutated characters, including their mentor, Splinter. Speaking of Splinter, the movie skillfully crafts the origin of both Splinter and the turtles. Splinter’s anti-human stance and his reason for teaching the turtles how to fight adds depth to the story and provides an intriguing look into the character’s motivations.
The movie doesn’t shy away from humor but keeps it age-appropriate, considering the turtles are teenagers. I feel while some jokes may seem juvenile to adults, they are perfect for the target audience and evoke fond memories of our own teenage years. The humor also comes from the turtles’ learning curve as they polish their fighting skills, reminding us that even heroes have room to grow. Additionally, the film embraces its weird and wacky side, with scenes filled with ooze, drool, vomit, and amusing mutations. These elements might not appeal to all adult viewers, but they certainly delighted younger audiences (including my 9-year-old goddaughter) who laughed at these quirky moments on screen.
Despite a large voice cast and an extensive roster of characters, the writers masterfully balance the storytelling, ensuring that the characters enhance the plot rather than overshadow it. As a devoted TMNT fan, I was thrilled to see characters from the cartoon and previous movies brought to life in this film. My favorite characters outside of the four heroes were Ray Fillet (brought to life by the talented Post Malone who charmed us with his melodic voice), Mondo Gecko (voiced by the ever-charismatic Paul Rudd, adding his cool and effortless flair to the character, making him an instant favorite), and of course, Superfly (portrayed by Ice Cube who infused the role with his own famous lyrics and mannerisms). These supporting characters truly stood out and added an extra dimension to the movie’s already fantastic cast.
The animation is visually stunning, reminiscent of Marvel’s Spiderverse films. The blend of 3-D and 2-D animation creates a unique and vibrant aesthetic that perfectly complements the turtles’ colorful personalities. The use of bright colors against authentically dark inner city streets at night during action sequences adds to the film’s overall appeal. The creators of the film also delighted fans with clever Easter eggs and references from the TMNT universe, as well as nods to the classic cartoon and previous movies. The inclusion of an impressive soundtrack further amplifies the nostalgic experience, making the film a treat for long-time fans like myself.
In conclusion, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is a highly entertaining film that not only celebrates the world of mutants and martial arts but also explores the universal themes of self-discovery and acceptance. The film’s heartwarming messages and authentic voice acting will undoubtedly resonate with audiences worldwide. Anticipation brews as we eagerly await the creative direction that producer Seth Rogen and fellow talented creators will take this franchise. The prospect of witnessing Shredder’s appearance adds an extra layer of excitement, leaving fans like myself excited for the upcoming installment.