Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem introduces a new iteration of the Ninja Turtles. Splinter (Jackie Chan) has hidden the Turtle Bros from the world, hoping to shelter them from cruel humans. However, Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu), Donatello (Micah Abbey), Raphael (Brady Noon), and Michelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr) want to be normal teenagers and do teenage things, like date and go to high school.
When the boys recover a stolen scooter for April O’Neil (Ayo Edebiri), they devise a plan to get humans to like them by fighting crime so they can be accepted and… go to high school. Superfly (Ice Cube), a fellow mutant with a whole family of mutants, including Bebop (Seth Rogen) and Rocksteady (John Cena), commits crimes all over New York to get revenge on humans, and the Turtles decide to go after him. When the Bros finally meet Superfly and the family of mutants, they become conflicted because the mutants accept them. Of course, they’re the Ninja Turtles, so they do what’s right, and in the end, they accomplish their sought-after goal of being real teenagers.
Usually, I do not see animated children’s films during the day, I go late at night or only go to subtitled anime. I dreaded seeing this sneak peek at 2 PM on a Saturday because of the kids. Surprisingly, or maybe not, most of the audience were adults without children, assumedly, like me, fans of the original TMNT animated series and films. I didn’t have any real expectations for this film, but the animation style drew me in and I ended up enjoying it for the most part. The Turtle origin story was changed up a bit, and being a purist I prefer the original story. I also like Shredder as a character, but I guess they’ve either moved on, or he’ll be introduced later.
The humour in the film was amusing for all ages, and the Bros had great back-and-forth banter. Though it did get a little too much sometimes, they were teenagers after all. There were so many pop culture references, too; most hit the mark.
The animation was excellent, and I liked the mix of animation styles, particularly the painterly aspect which was nice to see. It reminded me of the animated Spider-Man films, which was a positive for me. I liked the revamp of the turtles; making them all have distinctly different body styles was great. But that’s kind of where my love ended for the animation. OG animated April O’Neil was my favourite character growing up, as a little auburn-haired day walker; however, this film followed the recent trend to change the ginger to another ethnicity. Whatever, I expected it. All the character designs, aside from the turtles, were pretty hideous. All the characters, human and not, were repulsive. Seriously, they looked like they melted in my hot car. I don’t know if hideous animated characters are a thing now in children’s media, but it was off-putting. Those character designs are going to haunt my nightmares.
Overall, I had no expectations and was pleasantly surprised by Mutant Mayhem. It was entertaining to watch as an adult, and I assume kids will like it too because it’s the Ninja Turtles. The message of acceptance was a nice sentiment for kids seeking it.
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I’m a Data Analyst, from the land of Matthew McConaughey. I’m an avid movie-goer and love seeing films in theaters. My most recent favorite films are Good Time, Only Lovers Left Alive, TENET, and England is Mine. When I’m not at the movies, I’m either reading or watching obscene amount of true crime and historical documentaries.