Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem embraces nostalgia from the 80’s cartoon shows, the live-action movies from the ‘90s, and even from its first concept drawing while oozing into a fun, heavy-doodled aesthetic pop-art cartoonishness.
On its first week of release in theatres abroad on August 2, Mutant Mayhem was garnished with lots of praise from reviewers and film critics. The director, Jeff Rowe, along with Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Dan Hernandez, and Benji Samit have really created the film to win fans’ and critics’ hearts alongside those who are new to the franchise such as kids.
During the movie premiere here in the PH, last August 19, 2023, movie go-ers were seemingly all too eager to come out of the sewers to take a sneak peek into what these new, rambunctious, teenage superheroes in a half-shell are up to in wiping out what’s bugging out (pun intended) New York City.
The story revolves around the turtles trying to understand themselves beyond their sewer-bound existence while we see their yearning to fit into a world that is less than accepting of what is different, a world that fears, rejects, or cancels on sight.
The film’s opening scenes take us to the beginning of the TMNT Saga where we all encounter the infamous ooze created by Baxter Stockman turning ordinary creatures into mutants and the same mutagen spilling into… we all know the rest of the lab-accident-comic-book history. But here we first encounter the turtles assembled ready to hit the grocery for supplies.
Unexpected mission right? Well, we think this is their way to lurk around the vibrant city streets and explore the human world, although forbid with good reason. While Splinter, quirkily portrayed as a worry-wart, fretful, Asian dad vibe, tries to teach them self-defense and attempts to bring his sons a taste of the world with his cardboard cameo party.
In these first few scenes, we get doses of the old animation, likely a moment that somehow is a callback to the classic 1987 cartoon, and even a visual shift to the turtles having eyes whited out under their masks – such an allusion to Eastman and Laird’s original comic work, dude! Talk about classic, even a quick live-action insert of the teen-liberation masterpiece “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” gave off a cool visual contrast. Moving on from reminiscing, the film also surprised its viewers with recent and updated anime and pop-culture references from Attack on Titans, Avengers Film, to Beyonce, and even BTS. KapWOW!; the turtles really make us seem like they grew up with us in those 15 years, eh?
Fast forward to the story… we see the turtles finally with their martial arts skill in a lair full of criminals after the chase of April O’Neil’s moped thief. This plucky, high-school journalist, joins the crew to help out the turtles wipe out what’s been bugging New York City.
These ostensible enemies, led by the main antagonist Superfly, are as insidious, crusty, and iconic as we imagined them to be. We didn’t even expect Bebop to have more piercings than ever! But going back to the cantankerous villain who attempts to complete the mutant machine and wipe out the turtles.. will his ruthless anger and brute strength make him realize his hatred of humans to be unhealthy? “Damn,” Ice Cube surely had this new take on this supervillain in the TMNT franchise soaring up to heights!
Could the emotionally engaging yet enraging martial arts-filled storyline, original soundtracks almost Ninja Rap style, action-comedy packed, CGI animation, and its major reboot on the franchise make this your favorite turtle film yet?
If this doesn’t excite you, then we don’t know what will! Make sure you don’t miss this movie or else you’ll get shell-shocked!
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutant Mayhem Movie is still screening now in PH cinemas.