Come out the shell to watch “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem”

Aug. 21, 2023, 2:18 p.m. | By Angelina Cao | 10 months, 1 week ago

The turtles return with stylish charm

Though geared toward children, the TMNT: Mutant Mayhem movie is a fun watch.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” is the most recent addition to an already iconic franchise and it blows past reboots out the water. This time, the turtles come back with a fresh new look and charm that guarantees a theater full of laughs. 

Living in the sewers, the turtles yearn for the outside world. Their childlike curiosity and love for the mundane is the driving force behind the whole movie as their only goal is to attend their local high school. In the process, they become the heroes of New York.

The four brothers have their own unique personalities that differentiate them beyond just the color of their masks. Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu) is the most mature member of the gang and the unfortunate leader. Raphael (Brady Noon) is an anger-filled mess of a turtle always launching from fight to fight. Donatello (Micah Abbey) is the resident geek of the group in love with anime and K-Pop. Finally, Michaelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr.) is a comedian-in-training and the source for many funny yet cringy impressions and one-liners. Altogether, the turtles have great chemistry, with friendly punches and insults thrown around in the way only family would.

The rest of the cast is fun to watch as well, with Splinter (Jackie Chan) as the best father and ninja master that the sewer can possibly offer and April O’Neil (Ayo Edebiri) as the first human friend of the gang with unmatched determination and wit.

The “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” began as a comic in the 1980s. Since its inception, the series has expanded and become undeniably over-saturated. In the last decade alone, the turtles have been rebooted four separate times in the form of movies and television series. Regardless, “Mutant Mayhem” is still able to stand out thanks to its unique take on the iconic turtles.

The characters of “Mutant Mayhem” feel authentic — they act and talk like real people. The turtles may be a little corny and immature but say nothing that feels out of place. Unfortunately, realistic teenagers can be a bit embarrassing, so there are a few references and jokes that make you cringe in your seat. However, the turtles are endearing enough that their crimes against humor can be easily forgiven. 

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” has started an animation renaissance, with movie after movie taking after its style. While “Mutant Mayhem” has certainly taken inspiration, it is able to put its own spin on the Spider-Verse style. The movie combines 2-D graphics with 3-D effects, but the overall atmosphere takes on a grungier look. The movie achieves this with seemingly thoughtless sketching: shading is left incomplete while erratic coloring is used to convey lighting. On further examination though, it becomes clear that the sketchiness is absolutely purposeful as it perfectly recreates the streets of New York City on the big screen. 

The soundtrack further elevates the setting with 80s hip hop paying homage to the franchise's history. The songs are the perfect addition to the stunning fight scenes as the screen lights up with creative sequencing. The turtles' exaggerated faces are particularly fun as they beat up their enemies with the power of ninjutsu.

At the end of the day, “Mutant Mayhem” is still a film geared for children and that fact becomes obvious near the end of its runtime. It felt like the movie was hitting story beats out of obligation and ended up stumbling to the finale. Nevertheless, the movie is still enjoyable and any missteps are quickly forgotten as the screen bursts with beautiful visuals. 

From the trailers, “Mutant Mayhem” promises a fun time and it is certainly able to deliver. Not a single second in the theater was wasted and it was an entertaining watch all the way through.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” was released on August 2 and is now playing in theaters, including Regal Majestic Stadium 20 & IMAX, AMC Wheaton Mall 9 and AMC Montgomery 16.

Last updated: Aug. 21, 2023, 2:19 p.m.

Tags: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Angelina Cao. Hi, my name is Angelina and I am a writer! I like animation and crocheting :) More »

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