Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: The film follows the Turtle brothers as they work to earn the love of New York City while facing down an army of mutants.
Review: Depending on how old (re: awesome) you are, you’ll probably have fond memories of singing along to one of the catchiest cartoon themes of the late 80s while arguing with your friends as to who the coolest turtle was and why you qualified to be said turtle.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ first foray into animation was a massive success and they’ve been around in some shape or form for decades. Shown on both television and theatre screens meant every new iteration was a bit different from the last. But outside of the comic books, their adventures all felt quite similar in tone, which is why TMNT: Mutant Mayhem stood out as something wildly different for me.
Taking a page out from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, these Turtles are hyperactive balls of energy. And for the first time I can think of they use actual teens as the voices of Donatello (Micah Abbey), Michelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr.), Leonardo (Nicholas Cantu) and Raphael (Brady Noon). This made for scenes that were equally entertaining and frustrating to watch as the siblings would speak over each other all the time; you know, the way kids ACTUALLY speak!
Director Jeff Rowe (Gravity Falls, The Mitchells vs the Machines, Disenchantment) as well as perpetual teen (and I mean that positively) and co-creator Seth Rogen ensured frenetic energy flowed all the way through while never forgetting to slow things down occasionally so audiences could catch their breaths and enjoy the more emotionally grounded bits peppered throughout.
The animation and art style, while reminiscent of Into the Spider Verse, is unique enough to stand on its own. Counting this and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, I’m delighted to see animators who are willing to swing for the fences, delivering stories that don’t just look like cookie-cutter versions of movies we’ve seen a thousand times.
The voice cast is all around worthy of praise, but Jackie Chan as Splinter was especially memorable and never failed to make me laugh out loud. Another standout would be Ice Cube as Supa Fly who you could tell was having a blast playing the big bad. Throw in a toe-tapping head-bopping soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and this is the kind of movie that is genuinely enjoyable no matter your age.
Now if you prefer your animated movies to have deeper meaning and themes, this may not be for you. While Mutant Mayhem is somewhat a coming-of-age story, and it touches on themes like prejudice and the woes of being a parent, it’s all surface level. The brothers don’t have much personality beyond their usual traits (Raph is angry all the time, Mickey is funny, Leo is the leader and Doni is a nerd) but personally I didn’t need more. This is a loud, colorful, fun and fast paced experience not a Pixar movie, which is fine as sometimes all you want is to sit back and enjoy a movie as opposed to dissect one.
I went into this one expecting nothing in particular and walked away with a big old smile on my face. But maybe most impressive of all is you don’t have to know a thing about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles prior to this movie and you’ll STILL have a chaotic or should I say “mayhem” of a good time!
Sommer’s Score: 7.5 out of 10
Which TMNT movie is your favourite? And you can check more awesome animated content below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge-Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes. Double Tap Baby! Read More