Cine Reviews: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’ (2016)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is the sequel to the 2014 film adaptation of the hit 90s animated series. The film is directed by Dave Green and stars Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Lauren Linney, Stephen Amell, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Tyler Perry, and Brian Tee among many others.

Plot: As Shredder joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman and henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady to take over the world, the Turtles must confront an even greater nemesis: the notorious Krang.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is colorful and livelier than its predecessor, but at the same time it also managed to end up becoming a boring, lifeless schlock of a popcorn flick in its attempt to stick true to its roots. Going for a more complicated plot, it increases the chances of you getting frustrated as you try to figure out what’s going on amidst all the “excitement” that it’s having. It’s written like a cartoon, and it feels like such-albeit one that over-exaggerates its display of fun by going almost mindless and emotionless with its narrative and not paying any mind to the things that could’ve made it a genuinely pleasing blockbuster at least.

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Every single character may look like they have their own unique traits, but in all reality, it is given little to no justification for having lack of proper characterization that just lets us not give a care about them. Everyone is either too good or too evil, but there is no emotion to convince us that they are such since they are depicted as one-dimensional and are only there to fool us into thinking that this is a well-done filmic reincarnation of the hit 90s cartoon. The unforgettable dumb dialogue from the first is replaced by cartoonish babble, but if you thought that it would bring improvement, then think again because it only spelled annoyance for us to endure. The manner of how they speak is laughable and preposterous, with every word coming out of their mouth genuinely sounding like it was taken from the cartoon series.

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Props should be given to the total revamp that the filmmakers did to the Turtles as that added a bit more to the film’s fun factor. It was good to see the film focusing on the Turtles instead of April O’Neil because we all experienced the infuriating annoyance that we had to endure when that happened in the first film.  But then again, we feel an emptiness in how they are portrayed onscreen. Sure they are not meant to be taken seriously, but as the film tried to squeeze in a little realism in its recurring themes, the feelings that we get for them becomes a little confusing and questionable since in the manner of their portrayal, we couldn’t really see something to care about. This isn’t a bold move but rather a bit of a misstep as the film leans a little more onto a certain amount of depth despite being aware of its lack of material solidity and heft to do so. While some moments admittedly raised up its entertainment factor, it is brought down so easily as we feel itself doing a little too much to breathe in some life into it.

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So much so that the color that gets splattered onto it evokes a sense of sickening, disgusting pleasure, enough to make you throw up with its untimely  campiness. With all that said, it’s easy to conclude that this sequel tries so hard to be a 90s flick that it overlooks all of the material hindrances that would make it as fun as those. The serious moments felt wrong in how they are executed and treated that it all becomes unbelievable even if it tried to be convincing-all because of the fact that there isn’t a sense of seriousness to be found. But amidst all of its mistakes disguised as “entertaining fun”, there are still some few things to be enjoyed and by that, I mean Stephen Amell’s Casey Jones who brought a little coolness to this supposedly “awesome” flick.

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For fans of both Krang and Shredder, you might find yourself disappointed as the film treats them like mindless harbingers of doom who spout off cliched words of their evil desires. Shredder is once again a villain for the film’s sake of having an antagonist, and Krang is only there as nothing more than cheap fan-service. Both are far from being good villains, and the film’s depiction of them could most definitely be seen as a painful slap to the face for those who have been waiting for them to be put onscreen for the longest time. They are butchered in one way or another, but at least we get a handful of Bebop and Rocksteady-both of which had faithful characterizations and were still somehow fun to watch. But again, that isn’t saying much because they are basically as they were in the animated series.

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Director Dave Green wasn’t lying when he said that he could improve on the first’s mistakes, and that shows in his over-excited efforts that to him, unknowingly brought a sequel that could be even worse than its predecessor. While Out of the Shadows might be preferable to its 2014 forerunner, mainly due to its energetic vibe, it is also not as good as you’d think it would be because this is as cartoonish and unrealistic as this sequel would get-almost completely taking out the chances of you receiving even the slightest of guilty pleasure for your entertainment.

Rating:

1 half

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is now showing from United International Pictures Philippines. See it in IMAX 3D and 3D!

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