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Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem aired in theaters on Aug. 2, two days earlier than expected. The movie features Nicholas Cantu, Brady Noon, Micah Abbey, and Shamon Brown Jr.
Teenage+Mutant+Ninja+Turtles%3A+Mutant+Mayhem+released+on+Aug.+2%2C+2023.+Photo+by+Nickelodean
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem released on Aug. 2, 2023. Photo by Nickelodean

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” released earlier this month, with Jeff Rowe in his directorial debut. Rowe co-directed and wrote “The Mitchells vs. the Machine,” which got nominated and won a plethora of awards. After a horrid TMNT live-action movie in 2016, Rowe stated that he wanted to “do right by the fans,” in an interview with CBS. Announced by Nickelodeon in 2020, fans of many generations anticipated this film’s set release date on Aug. 4, 2023. The movie ended up being released two days earlier than expected, on the second. The film currently has grossed around 120 million dollars and has positive reviews from many critics. Reviews that are well deserved.

I went to this movie twice in theaters, once with two of my friends and once alone. Each time I enjoyed the movie thoroughly with the voice acting leads of Nicholas Cantu, Brady Noon, Micah Abbey, and Shamon Brown Jr. All were good at bouncing off of each other, creating a believable brotherhood for the most part. Jackie Chan also created an excellent master splinter along with Ice Cube making the new character to the series, Superfly, an intimidating villain. Ayo Edebiri did well with bringing the character of April O’Neil into today’s world as a high schooler. The writing for the script was also well done. The writing team of Tony Gama-Lobo and Rebecca May made a great screenplay, keeping the fun adventures of the turtles while also hitting some pretty serious topics such as self-worth, fitting in with society, and even the fear of losing someone. The script also got some genuine laughs out of me both times that I went to see it. Some jokes I found corny or repetitive, but the writing and voice acting for the main characters create realistic teens for today’s time, a goal that I believe was the writer’s purpose. While they are turtles, they act like kids from the current time with the use of the internet and cell phones influencing the way they act and the things they say.

The script also got some genuine laughs out of me both times that I went to see it. Some jokes I found corny or repetitive, but the writing and voice acting for the main characters create realistic teens for today’s time, a goal that I believe was the writer’s purpose.

A compelling character arc for Master Splinter, showed how he overcomes the fear of letting the turtles go out and what eventually confirms his belief of this fear. Then he has his faith shaken when a human helps him, and the turtles overcome the villain causing him to sway the other way, giving them more freedom while still encouraging them to be cautious. Despite all of that, Ice Cube steals the show for me. His character, Superfly, has some interesting motivations from the start, along with being a very persuasive villain to the point where you almost agree with him at times. It is cool to have an over-the-top evil, mustache-twirling villain in these types of movies, but also having a villain where you can almost understand his point of view, yet going about it in the completely wrong way is cool to me. He makes some funny jokes and just how he talks speaks to the swagger and arrogance that he carries. One of my displeasures with the movie was the art design of the characters. They look like clay models and it’s a little distracting at times. Especially with the humans, they just look off at times. It didn’t really decrease my enjoyment of the film because I grew to be content with it as the movie went along. Other than that the movie is just fun to watch. 

The soundtrack greatly enhanced my experience of the film . It made so many scenes more hyped up and interesting with inclusions like “No Diggity” by Blackstreet, “Ante Up” by M.O.P, and “Work” by Gang Starr. Along with the more hype songs, an acoustic version of Earl Sweatshirt’sRiot!” plays at a more gloomy point in the movie. Every song that meshed well with the scene on screen and I really enjoyed that. For the film to end on A Tribe Called Quest’s classic “Can I Kick It?” felt so satisfying, as it was used throughout the promotional material. I think that the song represents the movie really well with the song being upbeat at times, while also having a more somber tone in the beat during the song. In a way, it creates a nice parallel between the two. The title of “Can I Kick It?” seems so unsure and insecure which correlates with the turtles in the movie. Overall the soundtrack was great and had a mix of older and some newer music which all flowed well with the film. 

Overall “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” was a great watch, and genuinely surprised me with how delightful it was. This is a movie that younger kids will enjoy watching along with older generations who grew up with the original cartoons. I highly recommend getting the theatrical experience of this film. 

About the Contributor
Cameron Hooper
Cameron Hooper, Staff Writer
It's all about the details.
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    Gay LewisSep 7, 2023 at 8:41 am

    Good job,Cameron!! We love you✌🏻❤️🇺🇸🐢