I remember Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles being typical of the 90s aesthetic. The live action movies were grimy and the animation shows were 2D. It’s an interesting thing to experience to peace out from the Turtles and from most kid stuff and then watch this new incarnation. It still shows the New York that can still have bright yet slimy. This is, after all, a production of Nickelodeon, the inventor of slime. The slimy sewers are the home of the four turtles, stewing because Leonardo (Ben Schwartz’ voice) botched a mission to retrieve a relic. It doesn’t help that they don’t have April O. Neal (Kat Graham) to help them, at least during this first act.
A young man appears within the Turtles’ radar, Casey Jones (Haley Joel Osment), who claims to be from the future, among many things. His other claims include that Leonardo and the other Turtles become his sensei. And that that relic is a key that the alien Krang race use to rule over Earth. The only way to stop the Krang is for Casey to travel back in time and help the younger version of the Turtles to retrieve that key, which they lose. That’s the basic premise of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie. This is a feture length installment of the Nickelodeon series that came out in 2018 and ran for two seasons.
Casey disappears at certain times and reappears when the Turtles need him, one of the few ways that Rise uses to compartmentalize these characters into ABCD plots. As I write this though, I can’t believe I’m doing this twice now this week, but once again, I’m overthinking a movie and a children’s one at that. As an art history major and a tangential Turtles fan, I have many opinions on who should be who. Leonardo is the protagonist and immature, Raphael (Omar Benson Miller) is the jacked sane one. Donatello (Josh Brener) is the science one and Michelangelo (Brandon Mychal Smith) is the spiritual one of the group.
All of this feels wrong. Also, the aesthetics are competently sharp. But that competence feels just short of crossing towards better. I wrote above the slimy texture of some of the surfaces which makes the film’s aesthetics interesting. Rise has the bright colours viewers normally see in a children’s animation movie and the dark colours of scenes signaling a world in danger. But I feel like there’s too much of the former and not much of the latter. Some of the surfaces also feel dull, and I feel like children can handle better in their movies.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie comes out on Netflix today.
- Release Date: 8/5/2022