HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Batman: The Long Halloween Part One
Salaam Bombay!
Boss Level
My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To
Edge of the World
PTU
Superdeep
Insignificance
Treasure City
Piccadilly
Parallel
Invasión
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Agony
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Lemebel
Hands of Orlac, The
Cats
Death has Blue Eyes
Caveat
Kala Azar
Duplicate
Flashback
Gunda
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Vanquish
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
Homewrecker
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Initiation
Redoubt
   
 
Newest Articles
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
   
 
  TMNT Cowabunga!
Year: 2007
Director: Kevin Munroe
Stars: Chris Evans, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mako, Kevin Smith, Patrick Stewart, Ziyi Zhang, Laurence Fishburne, Mitchell Whitfield, James Arnold Taylor, Mikey Kelley, Nolan North
Genre: Martial Arts, Animated, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 3 votes)
Review: Embarrassing confession time. This writer was one of those kids who latched onto the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze back in the early Nineties. Yes, I watched the cartoon series, read the comics (the bright and breezy Archie Comics version, not the po-faced Eastman/Laird original), bought the toys and the breakfast cereal. No, I’m not proud of it. After three woeful live-action movies, a hideous novelty rap number, and a brain-meltingly awful appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show, everyone suddenly saw the ninja-turtles for the pizza guzzling, couch potatoes they were. We moved on to worthier martial arts heroes like Jackie Chan or Dragonball’s Son Goku. Now, nearly two decades on from their turtle power heyday, the nunchaku-twirling terrapins return in a state of the art, computer animated feature.

After a brief recap of the turtles’ origin, the opening sequence recalls The Lord of the Rings (2001), with Laurence Fishburne providing portentous narration in his moody, Neo voice. It looks like writer-director Kevin Munroe has drawn from two popular film franchises to get the turtles back “down with the kids”, although both are nearly a decade old. 3000 years ago, warrior-king Yaolt opens a mystic portal called the Stars of Kikan, which grants him immortality, but turns his four generals into stone and unleashes thirteen terrible monsters upon the world. In the present day, intrepid April O’Neil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) searches for chief ninja-turtle, Leonardo (James Arnold Taylor) who is honing his skills battling guerrillas in the Central American jungle.

Back in New York, his turtle brothers have gone to seed. Tech wizard Donatello (Mitchell Whitfield) is stuck running an I.T. helpline, surly Raphael (Nolan North) moonlights as an armoured vigilante called the Nightwatcher, and in a semi-poignant nod to their clownish past, pizza lovin’ party dude Michelangelo (Mikey Kelley) is now a pathetic, children’s entertainer. Leonardo’s return pleases rat sensei Splinter (everyone’s favourite rent-an-ethnic, Mako - is there a martial arts movie he isn’t in?), but irks resentful Raphael, who is no longer the wisecracking comedy turtle from the cartoon show. Now, he’s the tedious, Wolverine wannabe from the original comics. Oh joy… With monsters on the loose, and old enemies the Foot Clan on the prowl, led by lady ninja Karai (Ziyi Zhang), the turtles must patch up their differences and figure out why billionaire Max Winters (Patrick Stewart) is out to realign the Stars of Kikan.

Saturday morning cartoons have come a long way since the toy-selling doldrums of the eighties and the self-loathing, Gen-X toons of the early nineties. Nowadays, many strike a happy balance between childish fun and more sophisticated storylines, the same balance that Kevin Munroe strives for here and mostly succeeds. This boasts a wittier script (listen for the captive mugger who whines: “I should have stayed in law school”), and more involving action than the live-action movies, with a story that contrasts two clans of feuding brothers and throws a welcome twist with its villain. The would-be hip and cutesy posturing of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) is largely avoided, but like that tedious movie this dwells heavily on themes of family and sticking together. This results in too much whiny teenage angst and domestic squabbles sapping momentum between exciting fight scenes.

A Hong Kong-American co-production, the animators render an expansive CG metropolis for the turtles to cavort through, with pleasingly angular human characters that resemble Pixar’s The Incredibles (2004), and memorable bug-eyed monsters like Ray Harryhausen on acid. As voiced by the ever-feisty Sarah Michelle Gellar, April O’Neil is no longer the drippy damsel in distress, but an appealing action girl. Sadly, the script doesn’t know what to do with her. It also criminally wastes the great Ziyi Zhang, while even amiable Chris Evans can’t prevent the turtles’ bat-wielding sidekick Casey Jones from seeming pointless, or interest us in his troubled romance with April.

So not quite the triumphant comeback then, but liable to leave fans less embarrassed about their misspent youth. In the meantime all eyes are on Kevin Munroe as he revives a far worthier childhood favourite: anime classic Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (1972), a.k.a. Battle of the Planets.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3019 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: