The most difficult movies to review are remakes of older films. Especially ones that are not particularly good or terrible, and at the risk of giving the whole review away, that’s the case with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Nothing risked, and nothing gained.
In many ways this film is like the original. It tries to mix silly humor with a lot of action and a dash of character building, but where the viewers of 1990 were more innocent and open, that is not the case with the experienced viewers of 2014. The humor here either falls flat or is ‘har-funny’: hardy, har, har.
This is a little unfair to the filmmakers. If we could take a trip back to 1990 we would see critics who were taking time to point out all the shortcomings of the classic Turtle’s film. So, bearing that in mind, we have somewhat unrealistic expectations for remakes of these cult classics. Is it really fair to expect so much from what is, essentially, a goofy kids film?
I think the answer is yes. If someone is going to take on the responsibility of creating a remake of a classic film, then they should accept the unfair burden of high expectations. It is possible to succeed, I think, to create a movie that pays homage to the original while still being good in its own right. Take the remake of Fright Night for example, this film was excellent and while similar the original also could stand on its own.
Unfortunately the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fails to surpass or distinguish itself from the original. On its own it would be a passable action-comedy, if a little lacking in quality jokes. But under our expectations it strangles itself trying to pay homage while also standing on its own, and the end result is a movie that is just boring.
If you want to see this one, go ahead, but maybe it’s better to wait and watch it on Netflix. Just another example of a mediocre remake of a classic film, and more evidence of why the remake trend is something that should come to an end.