Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a slight improvement on the first of the grotesquely designed reboot but its’ sloppy narrative and haphazardly constructed overall product leave plenty to be desired. It feels like a commercially designed product rather than a story that we are excited to continue watching.
After defeating a constantly shadowed Shredder in the first feature film, the teenage turtles are back to take down Shredder, Bebop, Rocksteady and Krang in a convoluted film riddled with convenient developments, loose connections and manufactured arcs that feel forced and unnatural.
Look, I get it. The turtles aren’t characters that aim t grab the attention of anyone older that 20. They want the kids, they want the nostalgia and they want mindless action much like their studio stablemate Transformers.
Characters magically appear at the exact same time and in the exact same places. Shredder is completely unfased when he is transported from a highway into a different dimension and comes face to face with a speaking octopus brain. He may be a cold-hearted killer but no one responds with a stoic look and agrees to help an alien brain takeover Earth just to take out a few turtles.
There’s nothing special about the acting in Out of the Shadows but there isn’t anything necessarily bad. The motion captures artists and voices behind the turtles are still the highlight of the show. They really capture the heart and soul of the classic characters but the film doesn’t use them nearly enough instead giving us more less interesting characters like the new Chief, Casey Jones and April O’Neill.
The two dudes that ‘portray’ Bebop and Rocksteady are infuriatingly bad. The turtles are meant to be fun and childish and for the most part they are – when the film allows them to be – but Bebop and Rocksteady were laughable bad in their delivery and their personalities. They walked off a parody set and into Out of the Shadows. It was ear-screechingly bad to watch.
Dave Green tackles his second feature film following Earth to Echo and he improves on the first. There are more inventive shots and interesting visuals in this film than in any of the dark and manufactured first instalment. Having said that, Green still feels like he’s producing an advert with a story forced in rather than a story that happens to capture the heart of the audience.
TMNT: Out of the Shadows is better but sloppy, its funnier but still unfocused, it’s faster but loose and it’s silly yet sometimes too silly. Kids will enjoy their time but a cynical adult will find an empty shell that does nothing to fill their need for escapism.