I went to see the new CGI Ninja Turtles movie this afternoon with my sister and her children, and we ran into her brother- and sister-in-law and their children at the theatre, so all eight of us sat together. Four adults, four kids, four guys, four girls.
The children, as near as I could tell, enjoyed the movie. I'm sure my sister and her sister-in-law were mildly entertained, while my sister's brother-in-law and I were in agreement, I believe, as to the silliness of the plot. Which is not to say the movie wasn't enjoyable. It was a fun, though relatively nonsensical joyride of nostalgia.
The animation was, for the most part, fantastic. Very stylized and detailed. The turtles, Splinter, the big stone statues they had to fight, they all looked very, very cool. The human characters, on the other hand, looked a little ... off. They resembled the characters from The Incredibles, only not quite as polished. I realize animating people is one of the toughest things to do in CGI, but I think they could've spent a little more time on them.
There's a great fight scene about halfway through between Leonardo and Raphael, and an almost great fight scene toward the end between the turtles and a shitload of Foot Clan ninjas, but there aren't enough close-up shots of the fighting, and it's over way too quickly.
The plot was, well, some reviewers have said "muddled" or "confusing," and while I can understand those points of view, I will go another route and simply say that the main plot is just stupid. Not that it doesn't make sense in the world of the movie; it does, but it's just ... well, stupid. I can't think of another word to more accurately describe it. Stars perfectly aligning, monsters from another dimension, an immortal warlord from 3,000 years ago ... and no Shredder (think sequel). I guess I just wanted more ninja-y action and less bad sci-fi cliches.
A funny moment: there's a scene in which April O'Neil, Splinter and Donatello are standing around a table covered with dusty, old books, researching the film's Big Bad, and I half-expected April, voiced with perfect Buffy-ness by Sarah Michelle Gellar, to quip accordingly. It was a scene right out of Buffy, which, of course, I have on my mind because I've been watching the seasons on DVD, but even if I weren't, it was a pretty obvious comparison.
Incidentally, when did April O'Neil stop being a reporter and become a Lara Croft wannabe?
The turtles themselves were the same ol' characters from the previous films and the cartoons, which is fine. The familiarity was kinda nice, actually, but, to be honest, Michelangelo seemed a bit dated. I never much cared for his personality anyway, but he just seemed out of place in a 2007 movie, what with the "cowabungas" and surfer dude attitude. He was very early '90s.
All in all, TMNT was a nice trip down memory lane, and I'm certain I wouldn't be nitpicking the plot if I were my nephew's age. But I have to admit, I think I like the original live-action flick better.
But at least this sequel didn't have Vanilla Ice.