Paramount Pictures’ animated feature film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem has certainly made an epic addition to a 40-year franchise.
TMNT: Mutant Mayhem‘s story is a barrel of fun to watch and it’s filled with plenty of exciting action.
It’s essentially an origin film; which makes this easier for newcomers to get into, as well as long time fans to still enjoy, with multiple callbacks to the franchise over the years.
In the beginning of the story, this film builds up the backstory about the ooze, that mutated them all. Although, this is fast paced; in order to spend longer focusing on the ‘present time’.
It’s a similar plot that’s been done in mutliple previous TMNT adaptations about the Oooze, except this time it’s Superfly as the villain instead. At one point, it’s also like the plot of The Amazing Spider-Man (2012).
The characters also feel like they are actually quirky fighting teens now, and they don’t have that ‘surfer dude’ style speech anymore. It’s great choice to finally cast teen actors as the voice of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; voiced by Micah Abbey (Donatello), Brady Noon (Raphael), Nicolas Cantu (Leonardo), Shamon Brown Jr. (Michelangelo). Their bubbly chemistry was also the highlight of the movie and a breeze to watch.
Jackie Chan is excellent and funny as Master Splinter and Ayo Edebiri worked well as a younger interpretation of April O’Neil. Usually, she’s already a reporter or scientist in her late-20’s, however, they’ve scaled the character back to being a teen in highschool, with an interest in journalism.
Ice Cube was awesome as Superfly; a well-developed menacing character. One of the other standouts is also Mondo Gecko; a funny character voiced by Paul Rudd.
Mutant Mayhem is also filled to the brim with contemporary pop culture references, sometimes funny, and also a little bit over the top at times.
The humour mostly landed, although some of the relatively new terminology/Urban slang in the script may get lost on people depending on the generation.
This film has brilliant animation and it’s inspiring to see. It’s refreshing and somewhat similar to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse/Across the Spider-Verse, yet still becoming its own thing. The human characters’ faces all have quite a distorted shape to them, with dark lines to define their features.
An oil pastel-like plasticine view of the Ninja Turtles adds depth and subtle texture to their green skin. They’ve done a great job with creating these characters.
Distant shots and waterfront backgrounds appear to be a form of impressionism, and the art also reminds me of a style of a typical French cafe paintings and illustrations for inner city life scenes; sketchy ink lines blocking in the coloured shaped. The environments really feel lived-in too.
There’s impressive use of lighting, especially how illumination is presented in motion around objects such as phone screens, street lamps and the glowing ooze.
Live-action mixed media elements were quite surprising to see here, incorporated much like those scenes in Wall-E. It looked odd at first, but then I realized that it does seem to make sense, that animated characters would have their own realism of media in film, just like we have both.
Montage scenes were an excellent use of context building, as well as for displaying multiple fast-paced fight sequences happening.
The drum ‘n’ bass, oscillating synthesizer soundtracks and powerfully moving piano pieces by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross were so fresh and amazing to listen to.
I have quite a few favourite tracks from the album: ‘New Form of Life Itself‘, ‘We only Need Eachother‘, ‘Techno Cosmic Research Institute‘, ‘We’re Very Well Adjusted’, ‘Do You Need A Veterinarian?‘, ‘Better Than Mark Ruffalo‘, ‘Conveniently Placed Pizza Van‘ and ‘Trapped Like A Rat‘.
Audio was also mixed really well, where their lines are always listenable, and the music isn’t drowning them out.
Had an absolute blast watching this movie! Thoroughly entertaining scenes, brilliant animation and mostly fast-paced. The final act of the film was a grand event, and I’m surprised by how the film finished. I’m also already looking forward to a sequel, considering what happens in that credit scene as well.
Check out the cast list and final trailer: