Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016): Life is great as a human-animal hybrid Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016): Life is great as a human-animal hybrid
In a summer filled with disappointments, TMNT 2 might not stand out as a gem, but can at least live up to its predecessor,... Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016): Life is great as a human-animal hybrid

In a summer filled with disappointments, TMNT 2 might not stand out as a gem, but can at least live up to its predecessor, delivering what it promises.

Shredder (Brian Tee) is back with a vengeance, after he escaped prison with the help of a teleportation device created by the evil Dr. Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry). The resulting rift in space attracts the evil alien Krang though, who convinces Shredder to join a pact that should result in shared world dominance, if Shredder’s minions can trace and re-assemble a bigger teleportation machine which is able to create a wormhole big enough so Krang’s armada can pass through. Inevitably, the Turtles, April O’ Neill (Megan Fox) and prison guard/hockey fan Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) are the only ones who can stop him.

There is also a subplot involving “The Ooze”, a mysterious serum that allows humans to mutate into human-animal hybrids and vice versa. Is this a chance for the Turtles to become human and live among us as regular people?

caseyjones

The first TMNT was a pleasant surprise and ranks among my top guilty pleasures of the last decade.

This sequel is, coming back to what I said in the intro, pretty much a large refill package of the first one: A lot of elements improved, some stayed the same and a few things got worse.

Let’s start with the things that got better.

First, the story is, if simplistic, definitely more coherent now. If you enjoyed the action beats from the original, be assured you will get more of that, amped up and improved. Sure, 80% of those scenes are CGI, but they are impressively realized and quite engaging. Now that the origin story is out of the way, the individual Turtles -who are, subtly redesigned, looking better than ever before- are fleshed out more properly.

What stayed the same is the rogue gallery that is still a little bland. Krang’s new design rocks, but he is as one-dimensional and expendable as poor Shredder.

But what’s really baffling about this movie is the occasional dissonance in tone. While all the parts with the Turtles or other CGI characters (Bebop and Rocksteady make an appearance) interacting work effortlessly, the scenes that only involve live-action actors bring the movie’s flow to a screeching halt.

The Turtles’ story hits all the right notes, from the characterization to the humour to the kid-appropriate, uplifting humanist message. The live-action cast parts on the other hand are not just outright awkward, they also reflect the fact that the production company Platinum Dunes is a brainchild of the infamous reactionist director and producer “ol’ blue eyes” Michael Bay after all, in terms of style as well as regarding the wonky world view.

Platinum Dunes is notorious for shooting every movie of any genre in a way so it looks like a generic action movie, be it an actual action movie or one of their loveless horror film remakes. The live-action part of TMNT 2 is no exception, all trademarks are there, from the martial soundtrack (Steve Jablonsky, who already committed, uh, composed the Transformers scores) to the steely fashion in which it is edited and framed. A little more off-putting is the caricature-like depiction of the human characters that stands in stark contrast to the warmth and lovable eccentricity the Turtles are exuding.

rhino

I never thought the day would come when I would defend Megan Fox, but here it is. Casting her as April O’ Neill might have not been the greatest decision in the predecessor, but at least she got something to do in the first one. Her only achievement in this movie is dressing up in a “sexy school girl” outfit to distract a bad guy. Yep, they found another creative way to justify her appearance as eye candy for 13 yo boys.
Tyler Perry’s performance as a scientist who is obviously an evil “mirror universe” -spoof of real-life scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson, is repugnant due to its awfulness and an underlying mean-spirited streak that hints at jockish anti-nerd tendencies (that are thankfully absent from the positive portrayal of the “nerdy” Turtle Donnie), which I would not put behind Bay. Also, both the depiction of Casey and the performance by Amell are disappointing. Elias Koteas’ interpretation of the character as free-spirited slacker beats this version of Casey by a mile, as he is now portrayed as a prison guard who is riddled with self-esteem issues because he has not passed the test to become a police officer. Ugh.

As it’s a Bay production, there traditionally has to be one over-qualified and underused thespian on the cast list, which would be Laura Linney this time, in a nondescript turn as police chief.

karai

The only somewhat interesting non-CGI character: Brittany Ishibashi as the deadly/determined/cute “Karai” (Japanese for “spicy”, ahem).

If Platinum Dunes was a company that makes smart movies, I would say this was intended. Because when the anarchic, hedonistic yet morally steadfast Turtles choose to remain mutants over becoming humans (oops, was that a spoiler) in the end, it’s almost as if they came to that decision after looking at the shitty lives of their repressed co-humans whose main goal in life is to live up to societal expectations. This is just confirmed when Rocksteady and Bepop seem to have and be more fun when they turn into ugly mutants. But Platinum Dunes is not a company that makes smart movies, so this subtext might probably be just an interesting, unintended by-product.Or did actually someone manage to let a subversive message slip by Bay’s merciless popcorn-propaganda machinery?

In any case, what we learn at the end of the day, is that it’s fun to be a hybrid mutant. Depending on your temperamental disposition, this might or might not make you feel shitty about your real life, so be warned.

krang

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DetectiveDee

Detective Dee reviews movies and sometimes TV-series. He likes to indulge in the Asian cinema, exploitation flicks and the horror genre but is no stranger to Blockbuster culture either. He writes whatever he wants, but always aims to entertain.

  • Cannonball

    I liked the first one well enough. Might see this. Only if Sag comes with me though.

  • Dee-abolik

    Need someone to hold your hand during the exciting scenes? Heh, heh…heh

  • Cannonball

    Sagamanus always sneaks in really good treats in that giant coat he wears everywhere.

  • Dee-abolik

    Booze?

  • Cannonball

    He doesn’t drink but he’s not above supplying his friends.

  • Sagamanus

    I liked the first one as well. But It was the look of the turtles they got right. Does anyone really care about the original films? Yeah I saw those in the theater btw.

  • Dee-abolik

    Is he the guy who kids go to, if they need someone who buys booze for them at the gas station?

  • Dee-abolik

    By this point, the new ones are better. The characters at the least.

  • Cannonball

    No. He makes you fill out forms.

  • Cannonball

    It’s hard to judge. I can’t compare what my 12 year old self thought compared to what I see now.

  • Dee-abolik

    But were Part 2 &3 even good for a 12 yo?

  • Sagamanus

    Yeah they’re way better.

  • Cannonball

    I accepted the sequel. I haven’t seen three I don’t think since those days but I remember being disappointed.

  • Dee-abolik

    cool premise, shitty execution

  • Sagamanus

    I do recall Elias Koteas’s role and that was a high point of the originals. Also Splinter is barely in this one.

  • Cannonball

    I hate punkers.

  • Sagamanus

    Krang looks great in that pic. As does his robot containment chamber.

  • Dee-abolik

    I have to say that I hate Splinter’s origin story in both the old and new movies.

  • Dr. Melissa Reeves

    Especially bald ones with green makeup.

  • Sagamanus

    Yeah I would agree with that. He finds a book on martial arts in this one after living in the sewers for a few years.

  • Sagamanus

    Your pics for names and avi’s are strange. But endearing.

  • Cannonball

    That looks like a good Krang yes.

  • Dee-abolik

    Just dumb. Also, in the old movie he learns martial arts by observing his master….while he is still an ordinary rat, BEFORE he mutates.

  • Dee-abolik

    “like a spit out chewing gum with a face” is a good line in the movie

  • Cannonball

    True. Everything else that happens is realistic though.

  • Jen πŸ’•

    I think I would watch this cz I was very young and I never saw 2 &3 – but sumthing always makes me feel bad for a remake of the original – hope they never try that with ET πŸ˜‰

  • Dr. Melissa Reeves

    It’s from the movie Twister. I’m only going to use characters from bad movies mentioned in the Doj’ from now on.

  • Dee-abolik

    Yeah yeah, I know. But it follows a certain logic at least.

  • Cannonball

    I bet Sag will see that one.

  • Jen πŸ’•

    Im wondering wot that coat is made of

  • Cannonball

    That is an excellent strategy.

  • Sagamanus

    Did Bay as producer put Fox in that school girl outfit considering they had a falling out, where she called him Hitler? Yeah they made up, I guess, but that is some punishment.

  • Sagamanus

    Ha.

  • Sagamanus

    Oh really? I will take that into consideration.

  • Cannonball

    The skin of a male lion.

  • Cannonball

    Oh good observation.

  • Jen πŸ’•

    Oh lordy – lion skin and lobzz eyes

  • Dee-abolik

    Yeah I was tempted to write something about that. The fact that her role is reduced to a damsel now also stinks.

  • Dr. Melissa Reeves

    Why can’t they just make it like the original animated TV series? That would be nice. To hell with the kids; let them have some other thing from their own generation.

  • Sagamanus

    I doubt Bay left that grudge on the floor somewhere.

  • Dee-abolik

    yeah he is an egotistical macho

  • Sagamanus

    Are there any other characters from the Turtle universe that can find there way into any future film? Sure the sequel did very poorly and was pretty much forgotten, but it doesn’t mean they won’t have another go. Beebop and Rocksteady were high points in mutant form if anything anyway.

  • Dr. Melissa Reeves

    Have you ever hung out with old friends you haven’t seen for a while and everything just seemed off and you realize there’s some intangible thing that has died and will never live again?

  • Jen πŸ’•

    Oh very profound

  • Sagamanus

    Leatherhead. Dreadmon. Jagwar. Ray Fillet – a mutant manta ray?

  • Dr. Melissa Reeves

    It was meant to be funny.

  • Jen πŸ’•

    Well I retract that then – my mistake

  • Cannonball

    I recently started a FB account and have friended a few old friends that I now realize I will do anything to avoid every hanging out with again.

  • Dr. Melissa Reeves

    I was lying. I cannot afford genuine profundity, however. Hard to explain.

  • grovy

    Steve Jablonsky is great.

  • Jen πŸ’•

    Lol – can only be lumes πŸ˜‰

  • Cannonball

    But yes that has also happened to me too.

  • Jen πŸ’•

    Like u grow out of them

  • Dr. Melissa Reeves

    I do have some old friends with whom relations improved dramatically after years of not fun times. It’s weird. Perhaps there is hope for the Turtles after all.

  • Dr. Melissa Reeves

    Like the Third Mind has died, and you must forge a new one and nobody likes it.

  • Sagamanus

    Usagi Yojimbo was hinted at in the first one.

  • Cannonball

    Yeah. Kids are like larva. They aren’t the creatures they are going to be in the future. So kids can get along great in large groups cause nobody has any ideas yet.

  • Jen πŸ’•

    Gosh so true

  • Cannonball

    Let us hope.

  • Dr. Melissa Reeves

    I keep thinking people are talking about the one from 1990 or 1989 or whatever. Are you? Why haven’t you seen Fargo but you’ve seen the first one?

  • Dr. Melissa Reeves

    They got progressively worse. I couldn’t tell at the time of 2. I remember 3 was probably the first time I realized my favorite things could be abused in front of me and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

  • Cannonball

    An important lesson. What CAN’T these Turtles teach us?!

  • Sagamanus

    Have you rewatched those things?

  • Dr. Melissa Reeves

    I suppose I could enjoy the first one quite a bit. I haven’t seen it for probably 20 years at least. I’ve seen the second one a zillion more times than the first one even though I knew the first one was better movie. Sometimes I cannot abide a better movie.

  • Cannonball

    20 years ago IAB was in the Army. In the kitchen.

  • Dr. Melissa Reeves

    I was eleven. Which could mean he’s only seven years older than I am.

  • Cannonball

    Sounds about right I guess. If you are 33.

  • Dr. Melissa Reeves

    31. Because 31 minus 20, y’know.

  • Dr. Melissa Reeves

    How to avoid a public exposure charge.

  • Dr. Melissa Reeves

    I used to have this friend who had three fingers. I envied him because Ninja Turtles, y’know. I’d follow him around and hide my third and pinkie fingers with my jacket so I could be cool like him. This was in first grade. He looked like Al Bundy.

  • Cannonball

    Whoa.

  • CoolHandJuke

    I was just playing the arcade game on the ol’ NES. When does this flick hit Redbox so I can check it out?

  • Dee-abolik

    2-3 months?

  • Dee-abolik

    “grovy”?

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    I want to see Baxter Stockman become the fly mutant. https://s14.postimg.org/5p1cec7ch/Baxter_the_Fly.jpg

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    At least that was faithful to the comic.

  • Captain Genius

    i hated the first movie. i loved this one.

  • “Damn you Micheal Bay” (;’

  • Dee-abolik

    In that case, it was already dumb in the comic!

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    Certainly. But the whole point of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was to be stupid.

  • this!

  • Dee-abolik

    I can’t take it. I just can’t.

  • franks_television

    Can’t get past the turtle design and the casting.

  • Kruger

    And he doesn’t improve or learn anything new. Look at Transformers 4. It is basically shot like Bay got tired of coming up with ways to shoot a movie and just took out a manual “How to shoot Bay Movie” and went with it.

    Seriously, that movie looks like everything he did before, well all of his movies are shot exactly the same but this one is a prime example of him repeating himself in a exadurated way.

    Multiple shots of American Flag – Check.

    Shots of people talking while camera pans around them in a low angle in a way people block the sun and become silhouettes – Check.

    Shots of people coming out of a car that was shot in a Dutch/ Low angle few times in a movie – Check.

    Shots of funny comedians pronouncing very unfunny/ immature Michael Bay jokes – Check.

    Explosions stuffed with fireworks -Check.

    People running away from vawe of sparkly explosion in a slow motion -Check.

    Models trying to look sexy in Dangerous situations – Check.

    Models having zero acting skills -Check.

    Action scenes shot with a shaky cam and edited in a way that you not only can’t see anything clearly but shots last less than a second – Check.

    Masturbation jokes – Check.

    And that’s how you make a Michael Bay movie.

  • Kruger

    While almost everyone shitted on the last one, I really liked it (not human parts though, they were extremely boring as they are in the sequel).

    I remember when this movie was coming out, cast mentioned in the interview that this time they have a fan directing a sequel and that director of the first one didn’t grew up with Turtles and fucked up. Not very nice thing to say.

    Overall first movie was better, imho of course.

    I say why. Remember that Snowslide Downhill chase? It followed after a cool action scene when April saves turtles by pumping adrenalin into them and they become like overly active kids. Well, that chase scene was long, exciting (besides Michael Bay ass-joke) that showed each turtles showcasing some talent in the battle.

    In the second one we have a scene that was meant to duplicate the success of the that exact chase sequence but it failed hard.

    We have turtles jumping from plane to plane. It is short and mostly played for laughs. Ok. Harmless. Then it followed by a very-very short fight with Beebop and Rocksteady. We see that new mutants are stronger and bigger than Turtles (as real life counterparts are) but instead of them being a struggle for characters in the story they are quickly dispatched by Turtles. And then we supposed to finally have a chase sequence involvong a tank.

    But this time it is a river not Snowy Hill. And it is very-very short and underwhelming by the amount of action that is happening. It doesn’t showcase individual talents of each turtle while they try to get out of the danger. The stakes are not that high, since they are after a part of a bigger thing that is a mucguffin of the story. In the first one turtles were focus of the sequence, they tried to survive using their skills and stakes were high – lives of April, That guy and One of their brother that was unconscious and was sliding down to the cliff (as were they all).

    And they this very unupoologetic, don’t care way of introducing old character (Schredder) played by different actor that looks nothing like previous one and has fake muscles stuffed into his prison robes. And after that dismantle him like he is some sort of a goon of lowest grade. Recast and character were not necessary for this film at all. He interacts with Krang just because they did it in cartoon.

    Director of the first one didn’t grew up with Turtles but he still had a better approach to the material (besides Michale Bay forced stuff that stocked out like a sore thumb). He went with comics, his fighting style for turtles, Splinter and Schredder were better. And he put enough action scenes to compensate boring parts with humans.

    Character of Casey not just wasted but is very inaccurate adaptation of a character. He is a vigilante that watched to many revenge movies and is a bit crazy in the head. Very far from security guy or a cop. Amell does a better job at being a vigilante in first two seasons of Arrow.

  • Dee-abolik

    Okay, I see your point. I totally agree about Casey, it was heartbreaking to see what a wimp, who is just eager to fit in, he was turned into.

  • Kruger

    I think the origins of turtles were a parody to Daredevil in the first place so it Neverending was to be taken seriously in that way. The tone in early comics is much more grim then in any other media turtles appear in but origins are dumb in every version.

  • Kruger

    No, they probably won’t. Michael Bay doesn’t make sequels when movies he produced don’t make money. Look at Firday the 13th remake. It was made for cheap and made some money but no sequel followed. This one lost a lot of money compared to its budget and box office of part one. Doubtful.

  • Dee-abolik

    Yeah I read that the comics are more grim! Never read them, sadly.

  • Dee-abolik

    It raises many questions. Is he actually over this style but still clings to it because he sees it as a “brand signature”? Or is it because he thinks that’s what makes his movies successful? Did he realize it became a joke and now he is trolling us? Is this just his whole repertoire, plain and simple? Or is he just not caring anymore? Boggles the mind.

  • Kruger

    Maybe but of everything. I saw special features for Transformers 1. He says that he listens to constructive criticism and tries to improve the looks of robots, tries to change a script a bit and all.

    But when you watch featurettes for Transformers 2 (after it was critically panned and audience didn’t like it as much as the first film), he went on about that he doesn’t listen to critics anymore and he knows people like his films since they make money.

    If you look at Bad Boys 1 (which I like less than Bad Boys 2) it was his first film, and the style is noticeable but subtle compared to other things his done. The Rock is awesome. Great Performances, and Great Action. It is really good.

    Look at Pain and Gain. It is finally a different movie for Bay finally. But nope. Still shot like it is Transformers 5. Low angel camera pans while people talk. Models that can’t act but gave him a blowjob and got the part. Moronic jokes. Masturbation jokes. Not working dick jokes (is he trying to tell us something about dick dysfunction? Not the first time I see this in his movies), Complete pieces of shit as lead characters, over saturated colors, shots of people in expensive houses that was shot like a commercial and on and on.

    He doesn’t take criticism and makes movies of his own but he also isn’t capable of learning new things. Look at 13 Hours, serious subject matter that is infused with sparkly explosions, unnecessary patriotism and and some racist Michael Bay stuff.

  • Captain Genius

    they just announced his fluffy white ass for the nick cartoon.