There have been many fads I have never understood like pet rocks, beanie babies, and even movie franchises like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I get the concept but just don’t see what the obsession was all about from the comics to the toys to the leadup to the first big-screen installment in 1990. I did see the movie, but it still didn’t do anything for me. Now there is yet another one, but I am still willing to give it a shot.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is directed by Jeff Rowe (The Mitchells vs The Machines) and Kyler Spears (Amphibia), featuring the voice talents of Jackie Chan, Ice Cube, Paul Rudd, Brady Noon, Nicolas Cantu, Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown, Jr., and Ayo Edebiri. This is actually a retelling of the early days of Leonardo (Cantu), Michelangelo (Brown, Jr.), Donatello (Abbey), and Raphael (Noon), raised in the sewers of New York by Master Splinter (Chan) after they are caught up in radioactive ooze as babies. They stay underground because although they have been to the surface before, it has not gone well, but when they meet April O’Neil (Edebiri) who is somewhat of an outcast, a friendship starts to form. The group takes on Superfly (Ice Cube), who is heading a group committing robberies all over the city and is bent on much bigger evil for the entire world.
Ninety percent of this film is a new style of CGI, but I thought it still looked pretty great and fit the storytelling mood that Rowe and Spears seemed to be trying to convey. I did not look up the voice cast before I saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, and that actually benefitted me because the only actors I could pick out were Cube and Chan (who have pretty distinctive voices on their own). This coming from me is a very high compliment, as I am usually pretty good at picking out voice actors, and not being able to do so made me enjoy the film that much more.
I also enjoyed the message this film puts forward in not judging others by how they look but more looking into who they are through their character. Even though this can be considered an action film, there are also a few good emotional moments that helped the overall mood, and being right under an hour and forty-five minutes, it is paced well. There are some great Easter Eggs in there as well and catching them really added some cool comedic moments as the story unfolded. I am actually surprised in how much I enjoyed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem and even would say it is better than its 1990 counterpart, so I will recommend seeing it as a twilight showing in the theaters.