Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem Review
Here’s my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem Review directed by Jeff Rowe and stars Jackie Chan, Rose Byrne, Hannibal Buress, John Cena, Ice Cube, Natasia Demetriou, Ayo Edebiri, Giancarlo Esposito, Post Malone, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd and Maya Rudolph. The titular teenage mutant ninja turtles are voiced by real teenagers Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr, Nicolas Cantu and Brady Noon.
In this new cinematic outing we get yet another retelling of the origin of the Ninja Turtles with everything we know about them, the basics if you will including the ooze exposure, Splinter raising the turtles and them having to stay in the sewers for fear of being hated by humans. Only this gets expanded to new levels and new lore is established by the TCP and Baxter Stockman’s involvement. We also have the mutants that have been born from the use of the ooze which could have its own spinoff if you ask me.
The brothers themselves are interesting in their own right in “Mutant Mayhem” with each having their own quirky side we haven’t seen before. Plus the movie also drops us right in their very first fight against thugs and its nice to see how all their training is still not enough to warrant a functioning team. It’s only when they start to focus when things unravel and we see the turtles kicking ass and taking names.
There are a couple of major themes at play here and let’s break those down one by one.
Family – the turtles have always been a family and Mutant Mayhem continues the trend with the main message of family not always needing to been biological. Sometimes it’s about the bonds you create.
Acceptance and belonging – this whole being accepted is new territory for the turtles. Every member of the team wants to be part of the world April is in and they’ve all decided to do something about it. April wants to be accepted too by her peers and even Superfly (voiced by Ice Cube) also wants to be accepted although his way is violent and cruel, a result of his upbringing and the things his father have mentioned to him.
The animation is pretty new and I love how with every new version of the TMMT, we get more distinct looks for each brother. Mikey’s the smallest here and Raph seems to be the biggest amongst the four. Before we had to base it on their bandana to see who’s doing what, for Mayhem, it’s pretty clear.
I didn’t like April O’Neil for this one though. But for the sake of inclusivity and all that, we have a different April. In fairness to her she did sound smart. But come to think of it, maybe this version of April is the personification of the concept of belonging and acceptance and that’s a good thing plus makes me want to take back what I initially said about this version.
Speaking of the comedian, he and most of the supporting characters are all excellent and was given their time to shine including Seth Rogen as Bebop and John Cena as Rocksteady. The other mutants are funny and I applaud the redesign they got. Actually some of these characters made an appearance in the saturday morning cartoons but here in the PH we never got a complete run of the series so there are a lot of times that they aired the episodes with characters like Mondo Gecko but we never got to see any of them.
There are also a number of cringe imagery here so let me warn you like that extended puking scene with April, that scene with Splinter hooking up with somebody from Superfly’s crew and that body horror schtick at the end.
That was so Junji Ito.
I also loved Jackie Chan’s take as Splinter here. Not only do we see another side of him as a dad here. Plus he’s a martial arts master which makes him the ideal voice for the Turtle’s dad. There was also a scene here that pretty much paid homage to Chan’s unique on-screen fighting. You’ll know it when you see it especially if you grew up watching the dude’s films.
The film is also chockful of pop culture references that not only makes them appropriate for their age but also designed to garner a chuckle or two from the audience. The verbal ones are a riot but the visual ones are totally bonkers including the aforementioned Splinter fight where it was a digital recreation of some of Jackie Chan’s iconic fights to references to Avengers: Endgame and a whole lot more.
And the music that they’ve used are primarily hip-hop tracks and one very funny use of this parody:
It’s also refreshing to watch a turtles movie that doesn’t have the need AT ALL to mention Shredder in any or form. You can say that they’ve moved past that and I am all for it. And without Shredder, the bumbling blokes Bebop and Rocksteady are also getting a fresh new take and making them good guys for once is something I look forward to in a sequel. Yes, a sequel. Stay tuned for the mid-credit scene for this reinvented franchise.
Overall, I think that Mutant Mayhem is a happy mix of everything for every Ninja Turtle fan for all ages. It’s got heart, spirit, tons of great action set pieces and more. My biggest praise for this movie is being able to shy away from certain elements that made them “TMNT” and introducing new things that instantly opens doors for these characters. I mean, the turtles in high school? That should be interesting right?
About Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, 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.
In Philippine cinemas starting August 23, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is distributed in the Philippines by Paramount Pictures through Columbia Pictures. Connect with #MutantMayhem #TMNTMovie and tag paramountpicsph