When mindless Megan Fox thinks about the loss of her father and her role in the whole Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle circus, her eyes tell a story.
She must have left the cooker on.
Fox’s April O’Neil is an intelligent, ambitious, fearless journalist determined to… no, still caught up on the cooker. That hotpot is ruined she must be thinking as flashbacks and convoluted mythologies are used to smuggle obscenely implausible plot past dulled common sense filters.
The outcast TMNT gang are all grown up by the way. Innocence gone. Check the certificate – 12A. Not for the young ones.
These turtles are grungy about the gills, quick with the quips, stuffed full of testosterone. They rap. They hit on Megan. They have impish boy band larks.
Everybody is going to hate this movie.
Except Pizza Hut, Skype and Victoria’s Secret who get plenty of bang for their product placement bucks. And 15-year-old boys for whom the movie is cynically constructed.
So when we’re done with the cartoonish story about Eric Sachs (William Fichtner) and his silly plan to blackmail New York with a toxic spray, there are some fast and slick visuals to keep the lads happy.
The 3D is put to good effect. The digital foursome are well executed, their rat mentor Splinter – a proto-Yoda – better still.
A sequence when the heroes on the half-shell are careering down a mountainside dodging lorries, baddies and each other is immense fun. And when they’re tackling robot samurai Shredder on a skyscraper, palms do sweat.
It’s trash, of course. Soulless derivative corporate trash. With clunk at every turn. Even the subtitles need subtitles (“You have trained for such contingencies”) although sometimes you wish for silence (“Tonight we dine on turtle soup.”)
Everyone attacks producer Michael Bay because in his films noise replaces character.
But when you’re 15 “character” is something that happens in Eng Lit. At the cinema with your mates, you just want Turtle A to gets busy on Bad Guy B, fast, again and again, like a video game.
“And to think we were going to use rabbits,” says Sachs of his amphibian experiments. “Can you imagine that?”
If there’s a market, Bay’s imagining it right now.