Thursday, 9 June 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows doesn't have a lot going for it. For a start the human characters are terminally flat, a gang of ancillary meat puppets, occasionally employed to burn up screentime whenever the budget doesn't allow for six or seven cavorting monsters. The Turtles themselves are given the bones of a self-determination angle, dramatically, we seem to be heading towards the kind of gold-plated acceptance enjoyed by Johnny 5 at the end of Short Circuit 2. The idea of the Turtles being thrust into the limelight and perhaps drifting apart is dangled but eventually rejected. Disappointingly Out of the Shadows ends upholding the sewer dwelling status quo.

Turtles 2 primary joy then is how it translates the oozing, radioactive aesthetics of its progenitor brand. Ninja Turtles is a property that explicitly sprang from drawings of repulsive beings. Instead of anything heroic and relatable, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's original comics gave us malformed faces stamped with rictus grins and empty, blaring eyes. While a cartoon series was content to render the characters as a series of cuddly circles, a simultaneous toy line employed a staggering level of imagination, perhaps looking to David Cronenberg's The Fly for ideas on how the basic Homo sapien outline could be warped and corrupted. Dave Green's film actually manages to bottle some of this lightning, offering up three central villains who range from stout and diseased to a flayed brain seeping out of a metallic titan's guts.

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