TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTAN MAYHEM Review

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem provides a fun little romp to distract you from whatever reality is haunting you at the moment.

Never seen the Turtles? Don’t know anything about them? No worries. Producer, writer, and character voice actor Seth Rogen brings a fresh take on the famed quartet and everything will be explained for you. That’s also helpful if you’re steeped in the lore from past productions.

Not trusting my own sole opinion of the film, I took 2 “consultants”, ages 13 and 9, with me. They loved it as did just about everybody in the audience. It’s not overly long — just over 1 ½ hours — energetic, fast-paced, and colorful in a Day-Glo sort of way.

Rogen wanted actual teens voicing the characters this time, and they do not disappoint. If you’re not familiar with the Turtles who are named after famous, Italian Renaissance artists, here they are: Leonardo (Nicholas Cantu}, Raphael (Brady Noon}, Donatello (Micah Abbey}, and Michelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr.}.  Their “father” and teacher of martial arts skills is Master Splinter, a mutant rat, wonderfully voiced by the great Jackie Chan.

Splinter has raised his boys in the New York sewers, completely sheltered from the human world. However, their brief ventures out of the sewers to get supplies and such have made them curious and very much wanting to be part of that world. The brothers come up with a plan to win acceptance from humans by doing heroic deeds. They win over their first human, April O’Neil (Ayo Edebiri), a high school student striving for her own definition of acceptance, and begin their journey.

They soon find that it won’t be that easy when they encounter a mutant who is not human-friendly and commands a legion of angry mutants bent on extinguishing humans. Ice Cube hilariously voices Superfly, a supervillain if there ever was one. His little army features voices by some familiar Hollywood stars: John Cena as Rocksteady, Seth Rogen as Bebop, Rose Byrne as Leatherhead, and Paul Rudd as Mondo Gecko.

Unknown to the brothers, another foe is planning to capture them for her own nefarious reasons. Maya Rudolf voices Cynthia Utrom, a human who wants to discover how to create mutants. So it seems like they have the whole world against them. How can they prevail and realize their dream of going to high school? It’s going to take everything they’ve got along with help from an unexpected source.

Be sure to stay for the mid-credit scene that sets up the next chapter in their adventures. Rest assured that they’ll keep “kickin’ it, Bro”. There’s enough humor that only adults will get to keep them interested. As for the younger folks, let me just say that my 9-year-old consultant gave it 5 stars while his 13-year-old brother gave it 4 ½. I wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as they were, but I was sufficiently entertained. – JoAnne Hyde

GRADE: B+