Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ( TMNT ) (2007)
Go ninja, go ninja, go!
This is a great movie. I wanted to give it MORE than 3 stars, but I had to dock it a half-star for being a niche movie (preposterous a notion as it is, not everyone loves the Ninja Turtles), and I wanted to leave a half-star room to improve upon in case we see a sequel with Shredder.
But anyway, the best part about this movie is that to me it really feels like a labor of love. There's two types of movies that get made about existing intellectual property. One type is the "Let the name get them IN the theater, by then we've already got their money so screw it," movie. The other type is the "We owe it to the fans to not ruin this for them," movie. Essentially, it boils down to a matter of what you're making the movie FOR. Is this for the fans... or for the fan's money?
I think TMNT was for the fans. Each of the turtles is exactly like you remember them, without being ridiculous exaggerations of a stereotype just to hammer into your head "Raph is the tough one!!!!!!!" Some of the parts dealing with the fact that the turtles just aren't the same as they used to be actually have some real heart.
The story, despite not having Shredder, is pretty solid. I think the reason is the the true enemy, or at least the true CHALLENGE for the turtles is learning to be a team again, and not really the "bad guys". But the good news is that you've still got some decent action scenes and the evil characters are complex enough for them to not be boring. Well... "complex"... this is a CGI movie about mutated ninja turtles, you can't ask for too much.
I LOVED the Ninja Turtles growing up. I had the first movie nearly memorized as a young lad, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game was the first video game that was really, truly MINE. I had the action figures, watched the cartoons, and the first scene between Raph and Casey in the first Ninja Turles movie has some of my favorite back-and-forth movie dialog of any movie I've ever seen.
I guess what I'm saying is that I really kind of thought I'd be disappointed going into this movie, and instead got something I really enjoyed watching.