Saw this movie with a slew of kids yesterday and here's what we decided. If you're nine, you stayed focused throughout but will gve it a solid "meh." If you're an adult, you'll find yourself bored and distracted and give it a "meh-minus." But if you're twelve?! Bro, you'll LOVE. IT. If you are between the ages of....12 and 12 1/2, your life just changed.
Seth Rogen has been pushing this hard- there's even this odd little intro at the beginning by him- perhaps harkening back to cinematic days of yore(?) and he's one of the five writers and ten million producers of the film.
First- it's animated and the animation is cool- graffiti-like and textured, like a less sophisticated version of the Miles Morales' Spiderman movies. I agree with this rogerebert.com review that the chaos and fast pace is found here, too, but with this one, it's just annoying, whereas with those Spiderman masterpieces, it's purposeful, joyful, and whole-hearted.
What killed me most is how bad the jokes were. They were either just absent when it would have been SO EASY or they fell flat. I don't get it. It felt like they were actively trying not to be funny. TMNT have always been corny funny and they had some great minds and actors on the job....although maybe that's the issue.
The writers are previously responsible for movies/shows that also don't do it for me: Superbad, Knocked Up, Sausage Party, The Interview, Pineapple Express, Funny People, The Green Hornet, 50/50, Pokemon; Detective Pikachu, and then a few I really love; The League, This is the End, Neighbors,The Mitchells vs the Machines, and Gravity Falls.
I walked out of Pineapple Express and Sausage Party because I didn't find them funny...or weird and dirty, smart and thoughtful, and they didn't sit well with me. And here I feel the need to defend my stoner comedy pedigree. I LOVE comedies about food and drugs and weird hi-jinx. Harold and Kumar- all of them, yes, even the Christmas one- is some of the best movie making ever. Dude Where's My Car!? Come on! The chronicles of William and Theodore? The best. Dazed and Confused? The motherfuckin' Muppets!?!? Even the new R-rated live-action movie starring Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx as TALKING DOGS, I will try (on video). See? I'm not a curmudgeon when it comes to stupid comedies, I swear!
Still. This one just didn't work. I wonder if Seth Rogen is like Amy Schumer- they can act the shit out of comedy but are at their best when other people are writing it for them?
Some of the voice performances were solid- Ayo Edebiri (Sydney in The Bear) as April and Jackie Chan as Splinter were especially great. There are tons of cameos- you can look it up your ownself. It's a real who's who of hilarious people. Hope they had fun.
Anyway. This frantic, cool-looking, but fairly empty movie is one that can def wait for streaming for free/cheap in a few months. Unless your kids are making you nerts and you need to get into the AC of a theater, then, sure. Make sure you get quality snacks. Maybe bring a book.