The development process of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles should have been a recipe for disaster. First, Michael Bay was attached as a producer, and while this shouldn’t have necessarily been a bad thing, so much of the geek community was burned by the Transformers movies that all they had in response was venom and hate. Then he opened his dumb mouth and said that he was changing the Turtles, that they would be aliens now (guess what, they’re not). Great job Michael, just dig that hole deeper. What the movie ended up being is just as a confusing mess as its development, but it does retain what made the 80s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV show so great – the fun. Anyone who is actually reading this review is either doing so because they want to reaffirm their opinion about the movie being a hot piece of street trash because “fuck Michael Bay” or because they’re hoping that this is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie we actually want. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on which camp you reside in, this movie falls right in the middle. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a movie that comes close to nailing the tone of the property, but is held back by some truly terrible dialogue and poor script writing. When your script has not only one, but several scenes that revolve around someone using their smartphone to do basic things like take pictures and videos, and you can’t even get that basic functionality right, you clearly have no idea how technology works and probably shouldn’t use it in key story points. While the actual plot outline is perfectly acceptable, all of the details feel juvenile. To be fair, the 80s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV show was the same, but the movie seems to try and make itself more than it is. In the end, the writing feels like a first draft, and that’s unacceptable for a movie that cost this much. Almost all of the problems I have with this movie has to do with the fact that it feels like a dumb action movie from the 80s. There’s very little substance here, but it sure is a fun ride. It’s rare to find a movie with this big of a budget to be this completely focused on dumb fun. The only real equivalents are The Expendables and Fast & Furious movies, as Transformers is clearly trying to be so much more than it is. So if you don’t like dumb action movies, don’t watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Don’t try to make it more than it is and I’m sorry if you wanted something else, but also try not to get worked up over something that you don’t care about. What this movie get so incredibly right is the Turtles themselves and, yes, even April and Shredder. First, the new Shredder suit is incredibly dumb and is actually pointed out as such in one of the few good lines of dialogue, thanks to the always wonderful Will Arnett. Why you would point out your dumb design choices is beyond me, but they manage to make the new design work in the plot and involve it in some cool action sequences. If anything, Will Arnett’s Vern steals his scenes. I don’t know why Vern or Will Arnett are even in this movie (not to mention a “what the fuck” appearance by Whoopi Goldberg), but I’m happy they are. As for April, this was the first performance by Megan Fox that I did not only think was decent, but I thought she did a good job portraying the April O’Neil of the 80s cartoon. I’m shocked I can actually say that Megan Fox did a good job, but she seems to have finally proven that her status isn’t just because she’s pretty. It also helped that she’s backed by the wonderfully realized Turtles, issues with their visual appearance aside. These are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Master Splinter that we know and love. This is the one part of adapting this property that they needed to get right and they totally nailed it. The only thing holding them back, as with everything else in the movie, is the too frequent terrible dialogue. But at least all of the good non-Vern lines lay with the Turtles.