Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023)
August 13, 2023 6:42 PM - Subscribe

After years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtle brothers set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers through heroic acts. Their new friend April O'Neil helps them take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them.

Just a serviceable, though sweet, plot, but the "hand-drawn" art style was fantastic and the soundtrack was...banging? Perfect to take your tween to.
posted by praemunire (16 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
This movie was FUN!
posted by triage_lazarus at 7:30 AM on August 14, 2023


I agree. Turn off some of the higher critical functions and enjoy the vibes.
posted by praemunire at 7:35 AM on August 14, 2023 [1 favorite]


I was a tagalong to this movie because a family member really wanted to see it, but I ended up enjoying it so much more than I thought I would. Loved the use of various animation styles to tell the story (I realize this is probably influenced by the Spiderverse movies, but I'm not complaining). What surprised me most was how much I actually laughed out loud! So many quick (and often dumb, but fun) jokes -- the Chris scene, especially "best Chris," nearly had me weeping with laughter.
posted by paisley sheep at 9:22 AM on August 14, 2023


I've read in reviews that they had all the Turtle actors (actual teens) record their lines together, and, hey, it turns out that if you have voice actors working off each other in the same space, it can create a naturalistic camaraderie!
posted by praemunire at 9:51 AM on August 14, 2023 [1 favorite]


Only saw the trailer so far but the animation was so cool! Felt extremely fresh.
posted by latkes at 3:09 PM on August 14, 2023


Yep, as with Barbie, the trailer nudged me from "godspeed, but not interested personally" to "well, I should give this a shot, I think."
posted by praemunire at 6:24 PM on August 14, 2023


This was fun but it really felt like it wanted to be Spiderverse without quite having the plot, characters, or jokes to back that up. Cool animation style although the actions scenes felt a bit hard to follow at times which is a shame because the martial arts stuff was pretty good. Personally I'd give it 3/5 but my kids (7 & 11) would give it 5/5 - maybe it was just more kid-focussed than Spiderverse in the end. Good soundtrack.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:25 AM on August 15, 2023


I'm all for making kids movies be for kids again..
posted by latkes at 8:18 AM on August 15, 2023 [5 favorites]


I would like to push back a little on this idea (not expressed just by you) that any attempts at non-photorealistic or ultra-simplified animation must be "trying to be Spiderverse." I'm sure that the success of Into the Spiderverse helped persuade studios that there was a wider market for non-Pixar/Illumination-style animation. But otherwise the two movies don't have all that much in common and are really not trying to do the same things. TMNT has a doodled, smudgy, sloppy style with an almost stop-motion approach to light sources. As I'm hardly the only one to notice, it looks like the style of a 14-year-old scribbling in a school notebook during science class in the 90s. I wouldn't be shocked if one could identify one Spiderverse denizen depicted in a similar style, but Miles's universe is much cleaner and tighter, sometimes shifting to a beautiful soft focus that is cloudy rather than smudgy. Spiderverse is more accomplished and gorgeous in a way that TMNT isn't even trying to be (and has stronger story, characterization, themes, etc.), but it would be great if we saw more attempts at more varied animation styles in films for kids without them all being criticized as if Spiderverse were the platonic ideal.
posted by praemunire at 8:41 AM on August 15, 2023 [2 favorites]


Vanity Fair article about the animation style, which is indeed the style of a 14-year-old's scribbles in a school notebook. But they acknowledge Spiderverse did open the door to more experimental styles for a standard big studio animated story.
posted by paisley sheep at 10:26 AM on August 15, 2023 [1 favorite]


This was fun but it really felt like it wanted to be Spiderverse

Yes, this 110% had a bunch of people in the room repeatedly saying "what if we have a bit more Miles Morales?".

I would like to push back a little on this idea (not expressed just by you) that any attempts at non-photorealistic or ultra-simplified animation must be "trying to be Spiderverse."

The animation was about the least of the evidence of the "MOAR SPIDERVERSE!" studio notes.

In fact, one of those was so obviously "Do the same sort of needle drops, but use the songs a ~40ish year old would expect instead of what someone in the late teens/early 20s would" that I had to go lookup to see if the producers overlapped because Jesus Christ have some self respect.

Anyway, it was ok. My 12 year old daughter liked it, even through she's been real firm that Donatello wouldn't sound that young ever since the trailer came out.
posted by Back At It Again At Krispy Kreme at 10:38 AM on August 16, 2023


In fact, one of those was so obviously "Do the same sort of needle drops, but use the songs a ~40ish year old would expect instead of what someone in the late teens/early 20s would" that I had to go lookup to see if the producers overlapped because Jesus Christ have some self respect.

Wait, you think a movie aimed at kids and tweens has songs their parents would like because of...Spiderverse? You mention having a kid; have you just not gone to any low- or medium-ambition animated movies aimed at kids in the last decade-plus? Using the soundtrack to ease the suffering of the parents is a standard move. Here, have a look at the League of DC Super-Pets soundtrack from last year.

This was a movie with a derivative plot and characterization (no, not from Spiderverse; TMNT is originally a parody of the same themes going back forty-plus years now in older Marvel comics, so in that sense they are both derivative), but the idea that any movie that swerves from one of the Disney house styles in its animation--even if the style is quite distinctive--must merely be biting Spiderverse's rhymes is...just too silly. And frankly dispiriting. Spiderverse is such a generous celebration of the diversity of (mostly) Western comics/animation styles, it's sad to see it being used a stick to beat other work that steps a bit out of the mainstream.
posted by praemunire at 11:05 AM on August 16, 2023 [1 favorite]


In fact, one of those was so obviously "Do the same sort of needle drops, but use the songs a ~40ish year old would expect instead of what someone in the late teens/early 20s would" that I had to go lookup to see if the producers overlapped because Jesus Christ have some self respect.

Shrek did that, over twenty years ago.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:46 AM on August 18, 2023


Hey its TMNT, were all just radioactive turtle friends here!
posted by latkes at 11:01 AM on August 18, 2023


Saw it yesterday and liked it, even though Across the Spider-Verse did hit that groove earlier and a bit better. I think that it may have to do with where your fandom's at; I was much more into Spider-Man when I was younger, and was a bit too old for TMNT to really get into the comics or cartoons or whatever.* Kind of interesting to have two villains, with one seeming a lot more sympathetic at first and the other just doing the standard we're-gonna-make-supersoldiers-outta-you thing. And the Cardboard Chrises were great.

* The whole thing with TMNT was that, not only were they originally a parody of Frank Miller's run on Marvel's Daredevil (with some iconography from Miller's creator-owned comic Ronin, with a sideways nod to Marvel's New Mutants, but that they were intended as just a one-shot comic; their runaway success inspired anyone and everyone who had dreams of a funny-animal comics career to pile on with parodies of the parody, starting with Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters clear to one of my favorite comic book titles ever, Pre-Teen Dirty Gene Kung Fu Kangaroos. It was kind of funny watching Very Serious Comic Book Dudes of the time, such as The Comics Journal, have conniption fits over the whole thing.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:20 AM on August 28, 2023


Finally caught this on VOD -- so damn fun. It's wild that after decades of iterations in every pop medium that this is the first version to actually have the Mutant Ninja Turtles be Teenage. That and the shared recording sessions made it feel so much more authentic (though I suspect the slang will feel dated pretty quickly). I also loved how scroggly and weird the animation got -- some of the background characters were borderline Picasso-ish and looked more like something out of a webcomic (or a 90s Nickelodeon cartoon). Killer soundtrack, too -- the Reznor instrumentals were cool, and "No Diggity" elevated that sequence with all those match cuts and tracking shots into one of my favorite animation scenes in years. I never got into TMNT as a kid -- it peaked a bit too early for me -- but I'm really looking forward to seeing more from this reboot.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:56 AM on September 2, 2023 [1 favorite]


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