Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-7Roze-Rating: 3.5 / 5

April O’Neil is investigating the rise of the Foot Clan who have been causing trouble in the city of New York. She hopes to find out who is behind the clan so that she can leave her currently uninspired news reporting at Channel 6, which sees her doing elaborate bird themed work outs in front of the camera. Her intuition soon brings her to the Foot Clan suspiciously unloading cargo from the docks. As she videos the crime taking place, she witnesses unidentifiable vigilantes stopping the Foot Clan in their tracks. This won’t be the last time she sees them.

Michael Bay brings another childhood staple to the big screen but this time from the producers chair. Although he may as well have directed the TMNT reboot as Jonathan Liebesman clearly takes notes from the Transformers director. Everything from the glossy CGI to the Bayhem that ensues, it would be hard not to draw similarities. At least this time Megan Fox isn’t just there for her looks, although it’s hard not to notice her in that bright yellow jacket.

Despite having watched the cartoons at a very young age, I wasn’t very enthused about the release of this film. Maybe because I’d forgotten a lot about the franchise or after watching Transformers: Age of Extinction a month prior, I just couldn’t stomach another Michael Bay film. That said, I decided to pass on the ticket price and waited for it to come out on video. Although I’m glad I didn’t pay the $10 to watch this film in the cinema, I can’t say that I would have been disappointed if I had. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the outset is clearly a child friendly film. Once I got in that mindset, it was easier to just sit back and enjoy it. It was nice falling in love with these characters again and remembering the old days coming back from school and watching these cartoons. For hard out fans it may not be the same pleasant case of nostalgia as I’m aware they’ve completely butchered the character of shredder, literally and figuratively. He looked like a walking Swiss army knife. The turtles and Splinter aren’t too pretty either, unluckily for splinter he doesn’t have a mask to hide it. That being said I don’t think this is a completely bad film. It’s a decent origin story and first installment in the franchise, and for me personally has aroused enough interest for me to be more enthusiastic about the sequel which is already planned for 2016.

TMNT doesn’t have much going for it in terms of story. It’s incredibly generic and worn out. Bad guy wants to release a biological weapon on the city, corrupt business man makes tonnes of money from curing everyone. Being child friendly isn’t a good enough excuse for a lack of originality. Although The Lego Movie pretty much had that same plot, except it had a nice underlying message behind it. TMNT is quite simply shallow mindless fun which is forgivable if it succeeds in being fun. In my opinion it succeeds thanks to the facetious nature of the turtles and the cartoony action. Although it is let down by a script caked in exposition. There’s a huge portion in the middle of the film which consists of flashbacks and explanations, which ultimately ruins the whole flow of the film.

I welcomed the prospect of seeing a Megan Fox led film, partly because she’s gorgeous but also because I think she has more to give. After seeing her in This is 40, it’s clear that she is funny and has a sense of comedic timing which makes a film like TMNT a place she can thrive. I was disappointed not to see a lot of comedic moments where she could showcase that, and when she did have that opportunity, she was let down by the script. That being said I didn’t connect with her character as much as the turtles. Overall there weren’t any standout performances from the cast; solid but comfortable.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may not be the best film but thanks to some charismatic turtles and a few exciting action sequences, it prevents itself from being a bad one. It’s a film that kids are sure to enjoy but the script is neither exciting or funny enough for the whole family to enjoy together. For me personally, I’m glad that a sequel is being made so that it has another shot at success.

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The Lego Movie (2014)

the_lego_movie_2014-wideRoze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

Emmet is your average construction worker living life by the rules, always sticking to the instructions enforced by president Business. What Emmet isn’t aware of is that his mind is capable of so much more than conforming with everyone around him, and that he has the potential to be just as special as the people he looks up to. Unaware of the coming onslaught of President Business and his Kragal, Emmet finds the “piece of resistance”, the key to saving the universe they live in.

Coming from the directors of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and the “21 Jump Street” franchise, The Lego Movie clearly have Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s footprints embedded into it, from the quirky humor to the larger than life action sequences. Finally a film utilizing it’s ensemble cast to its full potential. Up and comer Chris Pratt is the highlight of the film, voice acting as Emmet, and for anyone who’s a fan of “Parks and Recreation”, will be pleasantly treated to a character with hints of Andy written all over it. We are also treated to the likes of Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Morgan Freeman and Will Ferrell, and other big name cameo’s on top of that. The cast may be large but they all have their moments providing laughs for both adults and kids.

The major highlight of this film has to be the animation which has reached new grounds making each piece of Lego look real enough to grab from the screen. As Lego should be, the aesthetics are colourfully glossy with no limits to imagination. The way the pieces move and assemble is masterfully animated, taking the old timers back to their childhoods and entertaining the kids, possibly giving them ideas for their next big creation. That is where this film succeeds, the Lego really are the stars of the film. Exuding a sense of nostalgia for the older audiences while creating an atmosphere of fun for everyone else.

Both Lord and Miller acknowledged that their first effort in film lacked heart and a true connection between audience and character, although Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was a success for its humor, this time around they’ve successfully found the best of both worlds. What I like about this film is that they never forget what Lego is all about and what it represents and in a way it’s a homage to the toy itself. President Business (Will Ferrell) is the bad guy, enforcing rules and instructions on the public with the ultimate goal of making things permanent. The film illustrates the endless possibility of Lego and encourages imagination and individualism going beyond the instructions you’re given, despite it being based on Lego, it goes for all things in life and that’s as big a connection you can make with an audience.

On top of the messages, what makes this film one of the best of the year, are the little details representing the nuances of playing with Lego, making it so relatable and real. for example the odd manual sound effects as a detachable building floor flies away, or the use of everyday household objects as toys, clueless to what they’re actually for. It’s a definite must watch film of 2014, and has Academy Award nomination written all over it.