Director: Dave Green.
I was around at the birth of the turtles in the mid-eighties actually still owning a copy of the original hardback edition of Eastman and Laird's creation from their very own Mirage Studios. It's one of my favourite success stories, spawning a massive franchise involving toys, games, cartoon series and lunch-boxes (who didn't have a turtles lunch-box?)
Earth to Echo director, Dave Green, takes over from where Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans, Battle Los Angeles) left off; what feels like a year after Shredder tore up New York. Michael Bay is very much there as Producer and I can imagine he's still going to receive blame for the pretty pouting girls prancing around in skimping outfits.
Everyone returns with some changes to the casting though not really noticeable. Tokyo Drift's Brian Tee takes the role as Shredder, Tyler Perry as Baxter and Johnny Knoxville is absent. Plus, we see other later Turtleverse characters join the fray and doesn't sway to far from their origin stories. Splinter seems to have more of a cameo appearance this time round, obviously to make way for the new additions.
Bebop and Rocksteady seem true to their animated predecessors though it's Michelangelo who is still the teenage comedian of the show. Krang's introduction is slightly tweaked and understandably so for plot purposes but is true to annoying form, voiced by Monk's Tony Shalhoub. And of course Casey Jones, played by Arrow's Stephen Amell. This character is the only one that seems watered down from the comic book, baseball-bat wielding, hockey-masked vigilante.
Dave Green does good in keeping the same comic feel as the previous and it does feel more like a live action cartoon with the silly but forgivable plot holes like Donatello's hacking Alien software, shredder's helmet and Casey Jones' makeshift rollerblades. However we revisit the same themes; the turtles suffer the same brotherly turmoil only to reunite under disastrous circumstances, but because this time, there's an opportunity to become human and live a 'normal' life. Quoting Donatello "I've never seen anything like this before." Unfortunately, we have, to similar effect with Michael Bay's 2011 Transformers: Dark of the Moon and also with The Avengers in 2012. Seems portals over major American cities are the preferred choice of transport with super villains.
But apart from that it does exactly what is expected accompanied by a decent score from Bay regular composer, Steve Jablonsky and a fun filled soundtrack. I have to remind myself this is a teenagers film and not to expect too much from it. The action is good, the CGI is great and the comedy is there also. Will there be a third instalment with evil turtle Slash making an appearance!? Bay's fifth Transformers film, The Last Knight will be released next year so I don't see why not.
Running Time: 7
The Cast: 7
Job Description: 9
The Extra Bonus Point: 0