TMNT – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2007)
Directed by: Kevin Munroe | 87 minutes | action, animation, comedy, adventure, fantasy | Dutch voice cast: Ewout Eggink, Stan Limburg, Rolf Koster, Florus van Rooijen, Hans Hoekman, Laura Vlasblom, Bart Bosch, Metta Gramberg, Rob van de Meeberg | Original voice cast: Chris Evans, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mako, Kevin Smith, Patrick Stewart, Laurence Fishburne, Ziyi Zhang, Mitchell Whitfield, James Arnold Taylor, Mikey Kelley, Nolan North, John Di Maggio, Paula Mattioli, Kevin Michael Richardson, Fred Tatasciore
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (hereinafter: TMNT) first came to life as cartoon characters in 1984, they were conceived as a parody of the standard cartoon heroes. Only 3000 comics were printed and they were immediately sold out. Soon the creators, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, got a toy offer and a television series that became incredibly popular worldwide. And just like every dairy cow is milked until it’s empty, so did the TMNT: there was, of course, a film, and another film, which was already less than the first. In 1993 there was a third film and then the cake was really gone. It grew quiet around our mutated heroes, and it remained so for nearly fifteen years.
But now the Turtles are back. And how! In about two and a half years, a team of 400 people created an animation that is unparalleled. It sounds like a sales pitch, but it has to be said: this is one of the best animations made. Completely of this time and beyond. Also in the making process. The different teams in Hong Kong and Los Angeles kept in touch in video conferences. They could work 24 hours a day because when they were done in LA they could start in Hong Kong. The files were then exchanged with super high-speed internet connections. So a lot of work has been done and with impressive results.
It always takes some getting used to to see two-dimensional cartoon characters developed in 3D in a movie. This is especially noticeable with the ‘real people’ in the film. Their shapes are (deliberately) comic-like and the way of moving does not remain real, but the shadow effect and the details of, for example, the flowing hair are over the top realistic, so it takes some getting used to. The Turtles themselves are simply fantastically beautifully made. As well as all objects and environment. Pieces of art. Rarely has animated film been given so much attention to details of material and colors to make it all more real than real, only better. The settings are also very impressive. The skateboard ride through the sewer is beautiful. Another highlight, especially in motion, is the fight between Leonardo and The Nightwatcher.
And the story? Good enough, especially because of the well-developed characters and their mutual relationships. In terms of story development, it could have been a little better, maybe a little less far-fetched, or just better substantiated. And at the end it is very suddenly finished and finished. That would have been more exciting. The age rating of ‘TMNT’ is 6+, which is a bit on the low side. The makers may hope for the widest possible audience. But the story opens with a high ‘Lord Of The Rings’ Quality, with massive battles and impressive monsters, great, but a bit too scary for the six-year-olds.
The target group of ‘TMNT’ undoubtedly consists of people who used to be fans and of course especially their progeny. Some of the old elements have been lost, such as the typical humor, which is a bit sparse here, yet they are unlikely to come out of the cinema disappointed afterwards. Because ‘TMNT’ is a feast for the eyes and offers an afternoon of excellent entertainment for (not too) young and old. Perhaps this film will make the fathers’ heroes the new heroes of their children.