Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

#Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

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The heroes in a half shell are back ladies and gentlemen. These intrepid turtles have been a part of our lives for 40 years. Now, in 2023, the teenage heroes have returned to the big screen with Jeff Rowe directing their latest adventure. For those wondering, Jeff Rowe is the director behind the brilliant The Mitchells vs. the Machines and he brings every bit of creative flair that made that film so memorable to bear here in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.

Starring Nicolas Cantu, Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr. and Brady Noon as the titular turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is another origin story for the turtles. We meet the turtles at the tough age of 15. Though they are out most nights getting groceries, they are never near any humans. Their father Splinter ( a suitably cast Jackie Chen) is terrified for the safety of his kids. They listen to his fears of humans but it’s clear they want to go where the people are. The boys want to be a part of their world. Then one night they meet April O’Neil (Ayo Ediberi) and everything changes for them.

I dream about fighting every night!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is absolutely brilliant. It’s an all-ages adventure that is brimming with action, humour and heart. What it captures best is the spirit of these characters. Their hopes and dreams aren’t about being great ninjas or even heroes, they just want to live a normal life out in the world as teenagers. The film spends time on their wants and dreams and they make every turtle sympathetic.

You don’t want them to just beat the baddies, you want them to be excepted. Those are the highest stakes at one point in the film and they come off the most genuine. Speaking of genuine, this young cast leading the way is phenomenal, fun fact this is the first time in their 4 decade long history that the turtles are played by actual teenagers. And they are all nailing the portrayal of the young heroes.

Accompanying them is a stacked cast of actors who fill out the baddies of the film. There’s John Cena, Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Paul Rudd to name a few. Each of them brings a particular spark to the film that adds to this highly entertaining story.

I also have to point out that the film doesn’t just draw from the comedic stylings of The Mitchells vs. the Machines, it also takes its animation style from it as well. There is a dirty and messy style to the film that is surprisingly endearing. I absolutely loved it. The rough lines and vibrant colours mesh in an unconventional style to give you something truly interesting to watch. To compliment the visuals is a great soundtrack and an even greater score. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross re-team for this film and their score is suitably subversive and emotive.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is a brilliant film and will likely cement this year as one of the best for animated features.

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