Magazine article Variety

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Magazine article Variety

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Article excerpt

FILM REVIEW

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Director: Dave Green

Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Laura Linney, Stephen Amell, Noel Fisher

The heroes in a half shell return for more halfhearted fun in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows." Every bit as noisy, brain-numbing, and lowbrow as its predecessor, the Michael Bay production is fast-food entertainment destined for a short run atop the box office charts.

Although the franchise has remained active in animation and video games through the years, the heroic quartet went dormant in live action films for two decades, until 2014's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" resurrected the phenomenon. At the time, some longtime fans took issue with reinventing the turtles as motion-capture-animated heroes, but worldwide audiences didn't seem to mind one bit - the film brought in just under $500 million in global grosses.

Even with that success, a few notable changes were made for the follow-up. Director Dave Green assumes helming duties from Jonathan Liebesman, the roles of villain Shredder and his henchwoman have been recast (with Brian Tee and Brittany Ishibashi), and Johnny Knoxville no longer voices Leonardo (the duties are assumed by Pete Ploszek). But Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, and Alan Ritchson are back as Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael. Not that any of it matters much when visual spectacle still takes precedence over coherent plotting.

The basics of the plot - a term that can only be used very loosely - go something like this: Shredder enlists the help of nerdy mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) to open up a portal to another dimension, where the nefarious mutant blob Krang (voiced by Brad Garrett) plots to escape and take over Earth. But enterprising journalist April O'Neil (Megan Fox) catches on and alerts our turtle heroes to fight back.

Unfortunately, even after they saved the city in the last film, the turtles are resigned to living a secret life in the sewers, so April's cameraman Vern (Will Arnett) becomes the public face of their actions. Still, the mutants are visible enough that they catch the eye of aspiring detective Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) and eventually police chief Rebecca Vincent (Laura Linney, who must have lost one hell of a bet).

But really, everything that happens in the movie is just an excuse to pile one CGI set piece on top of another. …

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