It’s a regular occurring phenomenon to revisit old franchises and breathe new life into them. 2014 gave us a live-action reboot of a particular reptile-meets-ninjutsu franchise that sounded a bit too ridiculous to take seriously.
Yet no one can deny, when a movie like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” makes over $400 million at the box office, the most logical response is to bank on something that’s clearly working. As a result, this summer will see the release of the sequel “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”.
“Ninja Turtles” started out as a comic series based around four mutated turtles that learned how to be ninja warriors from their, also mutated, rat mentor. Though, pop culture remembers the band of brothers mostly from both their animated series and first live-action film series. Recent endeavors saw a CGI animated television show that still continues and, as mentioned earlier, the recent live-action reboot.
Taking several aesthetic cues from Michael Bay’s ever-bankable “Transformers” series, this adaptation also sets itself in a more real-word atmosphere. It takes the approach of mutated turtles who have learned the art of ninjutsu and also coincidentally, have the maturity of human teenagers. The sequel follows this format while taking on a more lighter narrative to its plot.
“Out of the Shadows” also follows the first film’s events, now with the Turtles in pursuit of a Retro-Mutagen that can turn humans into mutated anthropomorphic animals. Likewise when they interact with the slimy ooze, the Turtles themselves can be altered into human form, causing a rift between the brothers when it comes to decide: do they use the Retro-Mutagen to make themselves human, or stay as they are in order to continue doing their job in fighting crime?
“We wanted to make the happiest, most fun superhero movie,” said Bradley Fuller, one of the film’s producers in an interview with college and university publications. Fuller continued, “We’re trying to stake out the area of the market where families can go with their kids and have a lot of fun, but have big movie action.”
Prior to the interview, Regal Cinemas on South Beach screened a preview of several rough cuts of the film for press and the movie is quite a spectacle. Though the movie has several cheesy one-liners, the action sequences pass the bar. Especially since much of the action sequences involve computer generated characters.
The rendering on the animation is phenomenal and its execution and synchronization with real world elements is surprisingly well done. All in all, it’s a wonderfully executed movie, if burdened only by bland dialogue and banter.
Stephen Amell, also present at the interview and the lead on The CW’s “Arrow”, talked about this switch from television to the big screen: “Time affords you the opportunity to make a much more personal vision.”
He elaborated on the fact that the scale of a feature-length film was broader than he was used to working with, and how it helped his performance in the movie: “To see how collaborative this process was, to see how much of a process it was, was eye opening for me.”
As far as performances go, Amell is definitely notable. Megan Fox, who plays April O’Neil also does well for her role as the Turtles’ go-to when they’re not doing their ninja activities at night.
The movie comes out June 3, and looks to be a fun ride. There are currently no talks of a follow-up after “Out of the Shadows”, but Amell has said he’d be on board to make an appearance.