Master Splinter (voiced by Eric Bauza) yells with indignation: Where is character development? In a film that has countless opportunities to utilize meta-humor, this is one of the jokes that made it to the final screening. It makes one wonder if Andy Suriano and Ant Ward realized that this was going to happen.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a Nickelodeon series starring Leo (Ben Schwartz), Raph (Omar Benson Miller), Mikey (Brandon Mychal Smith), and their best friend April (Kat Graham) who are surprised by a visit from Casey (Haley Joel Osment), a boy who comes from the past to announce that the Turtles themselves sent him to prevent the world's demise after the alien race Krang invades Earth.
The Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series has one of the best features, being that its 11-minute episodes allowed for quick-paced stories in which jokes were thrown in at lightning speed, to the point that sometimes you would miss a funny remark because you were laughing at the previous one. Sadly, Gama-Lobo and May end up muddying down the personalities of the four protagonists, who were both great entertainers.
The movie does not contain any jokes. The problem is, in this version, the obvious ones are left out in order to make a more serious story. That would be fantastic if the stakes were high, and the viewer could see what will happen to Raph throughout the story.
The other three turtles, April, Master Splinter, and even future Casey, serve as a background to Raphs' drama throughout the film's run, while nothing else takes place in other personal developments. However, this doesn't explain how Casey is treated in the film. By the end of the film, he realizes someone really important from the future is around, but just laughs it off.
The movie is enjoyable to watch because of a couple of scenes. During the climax, there is a brief action sequence that makes me want to come back and see it again. Casey at one point expresses his displeasure at the fact that he was sent from the future by a brutal Raph, only to later discover that Present Raph is not the person he liked.
The Krang are basically just there, and it's easy to be concerned for the Turtles' future or humanitys when you know that there is a character that can return someone in time to prevent the Krang from receiving what they want, or whenever it's convenient. This underscores another issue in the adventure, as the Turtles have mystical abilities that are taken away and given back fairly quick.
The film is a nice attempt at extending the legacy of a far superior TV series, but it fails to realize that in order to tell a serious and epic story, it must strip out all the elements that made us fall in love with the series in the first place. Lets hope we get a basic NY adventure with the good old ol Foot Clan in which the Turtles (and Aprils) personalities and chemistry feel more important than time travel and alien invasions.
The film The Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is available on Netflix.