The early reviews for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are in, and they’re not nearly as brutal as expected. Granted, they’re not particularly good–the Metacritic score is currently at 39 with 4 reviews, and Rotten Tomatoes is giving it a 40% “rotten” rating with 10 reviews in. These scores are inevitably going to fluctuate as we get closer to the August 8 release date, but early reviews usually provide a decent indicator as to how well a movie will be critically received. As it currently stands, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will likely end up with mixed reviews, slanted more towards the “not recommended” side of things. At any rate, it will probably fare a little better with the critics than that other Michael Bay backed summer movie.
Early Review Snapshot for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Metascores and Rotten Tomatoes ratings are usually helpful when it comes time to choosing whether or not a movie is worth your time and money, but it’s always a good idea to actually read some of the reviews to achieve a better personal assessment. This is particularly true with fan-heavy franchise offerings like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, since loyalists tend to be more forgiving than casual moviegoers.
In a mostly positive review, Maitland McDonagh at Film Journal states that “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a light action-comedy about man-sized mutant terrapins with awesome martial-arts moves. But it’s a pretty good one, and far more watchable than most kids’ movies that try to insist adults will enjoy them as well.”
Eric Goldman over at IGN is a little less optimistic, stating in his review that “[Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles] does a very good job portraying…the actual interplay between the four Turtles. After a bit of a languid opening, the film gains a lot more humor and charm when the title characters come out of the shadows and begin to get more camera time, joking and bantering together.” He ends up giving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles an “okay” rating of 6.0/10, claiming that it “isn’t great, nor is it a disaster.”
A similar sentiment is shared with Justin Chang at Variety, though his review veers more towards the negative end of the spectrum. Chang claims that “…an executive decision was clearly made to play it safe, which in this case also means playing it silly.” He’s not a fan of the special effects in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles either, stating that “the push toward a more photorealist design has led to strangely off-putting and unapproachable results.”
Unfortunately–and not even in the least bit surprising–Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has its fair share of scathing early reviews, notably from Luke Y. Thompson at Topless Robot who writes “[Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles] was not made by fans of Ninja Turtles, whatever they may tell you. It is a movie made by people going through the motions.” In a similar vein, Eric Eisenberg at CinemaBlend gives Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a paltry 1/5, saying that it is “entirely hollow, poorly put together, and will require an audience on its level of stupidity to survive.” Ouch.
The Bottom Line
As mentioned earlier, it’s foolish to assume a final critical aggregate consensus for any film until more reviews are posted, but these early reactions towards Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles should alleviate the woes of diehard fans expecting Gigli levels of cinematic butchery. It doesn’t look as if this is going to be a particularly good film by any definition of the term, but it will probably satisfy those with low expectations are a healthy dose of franchise forgiveness. Even if more reviews dip Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into a mostly negative consensus territory, there’s still a chance that the film will end up a crowd-pleaser, at least if a handful of Twitter users are to be believed.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is set for release on Friday, August 8, and it has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for “sci-fi/action violence.” I’ll post my entire review here by Monday, August 11.
Update: it’s not looking good.
Well, that didn’t last long. Despite initially having mixed reviews, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is now tracking with abysmal reviews–currently at 16% on Rotten Tomatoes. It doesn’t look like it’s going to veer away from this figure much, either, though only about half of the reviews have been counted thus far. It’s just the way this game is played. Oh well.
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