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SECOND LOOK: TMNT (2007)

Written by Gregory Lastra

With the release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, I recently have become overly reminiscent of all the past turtle films. Looking back, it was nice to see how far they have come and how our favorite half-shelled heroes have been brought to life each time on the silver screen. I began to notice something odd, every time I would mention the TMNT (2007) I would receive perplexed looks and questions like, “What one is that?” And I would kindly remind them that it was the animated one and almost immediately I would be cut off by their recollection, “Oh yeah the kid one right?” The kid one? Yes, various aspects this film are geared for a younger audience, but that doesn’t mean it’s strictly for kids to enjoy! I am here to tell you a little something, something about TMNT (2007) and why it deserves a second look.

As some of you may know I am a enormous turtle fan and if you didn’t know I bet you could assume. I have been a loyal fan since the original cartoon, through the classic live action films, and yes, even the most recent. Since 1991 I have been getting down to the Ninja Rap, “Go Ninja Go Ninja Go!” So when I caught news of a new animated feature back in 2007 I was a tad bit worried.  The first trailer dropped and a rush of confidence coursed through my veins, eliminating all my worries, THE TURTLES WERE BACK! But, the rest of the world and some fans, did not agree.

I’m not sure why this film constantly falls from thought, but I can speculate a couple reasons why. People don’t like change, it’s natural and sometimes you can’t help it. The general public believed they were trying to reignite a franchise that died long ago for a new generation and quickly lost interest. The original films were so groundbreaking for their time anything else seems, eh.  Like I said I was a little worried, probably for similar reasons, but I got passed it and it paid off.

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Below is the official synopsis on IMDB. At first glance it seems pretty similar to films past.

“When the world is threatened by an ancient evil, the four adolescent turtles must reunite and overcome their faults in order to stand against it.”

BUT, when you take a closer look, it’s pretty interesting. Let’s break this down, the mentioned “ancient evil” is not Shredder! This film is Shredder-less! It takes place after the heroes have defeated Shredder. And let me point out “the turtles must reunite.” which is crucial to the story.

The film begins with an ancient tale over 3000 years old. A group of four generals and their leader are on a quest to conquer the world. Their leader, obsessed with their mission discovers an astrological phenomenon, and opens a portal to another world. Upon opening the portal thirteen monsters are released on Earth and the leader is cursed with immortality. His generals suffer a much more cruel fate and are turned to stone.

This intro hooked me immediately, it’s out of this world, dark, and supernatural. Don’t get me wrong Shredder is great, but him as the villain all the time does get a little played out. This new story gives everyone the opportunity to expand their imaginations. I got really excited at the thought of these warriors and monsters facing off with the turtles in a modern time, but were they ready?

Our heroes are no longer a team. The glory days are over and they are directionless. Since the defeat of Shredder, they have all gone their separate ways. Donatello, works from their home in the sewer as IT support. Michelangelo naturally is a children’s birthday entertainer who goes by the name of “Cowabunga Carl.” Raphael, to his brothers is lazy and all he does is sleep all day, but unknown to them he still roams the New York streets at night as the vigilante “The Nightwatcher.” Leonardo’s last known whereabouts to the brother’s is somewhere in Central America. Master Splinter sent him away for training, but Leo decided to extend his stay once he completed his training.

Where the story begins is perfect. The brothers being an already established team of heroes in the past is a great start. Down and out, without purpose, working dead-end jobs, it gives them a regular average Joe appearance. They are just trying to get by, which is relatable. Their separation only adds to the obstacles the brothers must overcome once an impending threat makes itself known.

The film begins to take a weird, but good, turn when April O’Neil tracks down Leo and advises him to return home for his brothers. It’s revealed she works for a wealthy collector. A Tycoon in NYC, who goes by the name of Max Winter’s. Over the past year, April has been collecting four specific artifacts for Winter’s collection. An ulterior motive is revealed and the team must once again band together to stop an ancient curse!

While this film is great, it’s highly predictable, keep in mind it is geared towards kids. I’m not going to explain too much more of the plot, because I want you to watch it! You can get a pretty good idea of where it’s going after the first thirty minutes, but there is plenty left to enjoy!

Luckily for you the rest of the film is littered with betrayal and unlikely team-ups! Familiar faces show up, along with familiar voices! Sir Patrick Stewart voices the tycoon, Max Winter’s and as regal as ever, does it flawlessly. April O’Neil is voiced by our favorite vampire slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar. Her boyfriend, Casey Jones, makes an appearance as well. His character is heroically voiced by pre Captain America Chris Evans! The voice talent alone could carry this film, but the fight scenes and smooth animation takes the cake, well pizza in this case.

Upon further review TMNT (2007) is a fun film to enjoy and definitely deserves a second look. You’re missing out on this one, it’s a great stand alone film for the franchise. If what I said above doesn’t convince you, maybe this will. It’s better than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III! Yeah, I went there. TMNT (2007) has a little bit for everyone.  Silly comedy for the kids and a great darker story for the adults to follow. Don’t just shy away from a perfectly good TMNT movie just because it looks kiddy! Come on, we’re all adults here!

Cowabunga dudes!

Did you see TMNT (2007)? If so, what did you think? How did you like the ending? Do you think the new TMNT could learn a thing or two from TMNT 2007? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Gregory Lastra