I’m one of those youths that’s all for the importance of new generations, new opportunities for those to come and all that loving stuff, but even for me there are things that are better left in the great past where they belong. Prime example of this age: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. With an astonishingly terrible remake two years ago, many childhood hearts have been disappointed. Now TMNT was never my childhood love so I’m not really feeling the sadness here but I know a bad film when I see one and unfortunately, the rampage continues with this new sequel.
The second adventure of the Turtles sort of continues where the first one left off. The group spends most of its time defeating petty evil and staying invisible for big events like basketball games and Halloween parties. While they are out (sort of) having fun, April (Megan Fox) discovers that well-known scientist Baxter Stockman is working with old foe Shredder on a secret weapon. Turns out those two are working together with alien meanie Krang, who plans to take over the world. While the Turtles battle against these evil forces from both of and outside of this world, they clash over their exposure to the world and the lack of credit they get from the city for saving its ass constantly, which causes great friction between the four brothers.
If the first movie wasn’t already trying hard enough to be funny and cool, the second one sure tops the forced feeling you will experience throughout. The return of Shredder as a villain was already a bit cheap, as if they couldn’t get any proper villains for the sequel, but the sudden jump to ‘oh hey by the way he’s now working together with Krang who wants to take over the world just because’ makes it even weirder. Maybe it’s just me who doesn’t like villains that are just evil without a good reason, just because they couldn’t be bothered to write a better background story, but Krang didn’t do anything for me. Maybe because his total screen time is like 4 minutes, he hardly ever gets mentioned and above all he is some looks like the literal depiction of brain damage. The breaking the brotherly bond storyline isn’t all too bad, but the ‘love yourself, there is only one of you’ moral that lingers behind it feels, like everything, too forced.
Michael Bay tried to put in some lighter tones to make it more (ahem) enjoyable, also known as jokes. “Jokes”. They mainly consist of the youngest Turtle, Mikey, making some 80’s slang pop culture references and newcomer Casey Jones being confused by what’s going on. Even Will Arnett, who is almost a personal hero of mine when playing Gob Bluth in Arrested Development, couldn’t do the trick as Vernon Fenwick who’s ego has blown up after movie one (not even if they played The Final Countdown in the back). The only thing that made me laugh was the awkward laughter of mad scientist Stockman, which (unintentionally or not) felt incredibly out of place. That’s a C- for comedy talent, Bay.
With the Turtles being the title characters and the big heroes, we could almost forgive the writers for not making any of the side characters interesting, newcomers and old friends. Nice to see Megan Fox being reduced to ‘hot stuff’ again with the token sexy scene in which she gets dressed up as a porno school girl while the slowmotion cam captures every inch of her body. Shrudder was just as boring as last time, Splinter got a whole 4 lines to remind everyone he’s only really good at spouting fortune cookie phrases, Will Arnett didn’t do his chicken dance, so many missed chances. Newcomer Casey Jones could have been cool since the Green Arrow himself, Stephen Amell, plays him but he reminds us more of an overexcited, confused puppy dog than an actual part of the team, let alone his suddenly convenient hockey skills and his no-chemistry fling with April. Two more comic reliefs were added to the cast in the shape of villain minions Bebop and Rocksteady, but their complete incapableness is more obnoxious than actually funny. Do we like funny minions? We do, but when my four year old kid next door has more sense of responsibility than they do, it’s almost painful to look at.
Maybe I’m just looking at it the wrong way. Maybe Bay aimed the film at 11 year old kids who freaking LOVE TMNT, in which case it might be a good film for that kind of audience (including Megan Fox’s scene to prepare them for the birds and the bees). It’s got many elements that kids will like. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 is too childish, sloppy and stereotypical to be truly enjoyable for adults. You’d think Bay had figured that out after he made the first one but he had to be persistent. If you love the old TMNT stuff, I advise you to stuck to that stuff, because the new generation is not going to make it any better. In Gob Bluth’s legendary words, aimed at Bay: I’ve made a huge mistake.