Directed by: Kevin Munroe
Written by:Kevin Munroe
Starring: Chris Evans, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mako, Kevin Smith, Patrick Stewart, Ziyi Zhang
Released: April 5, 2007
Grade: B+

In 1984, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started their adventures in comic books.  In 1987, they were part of a cartoon television series which ran for 10 years.  In 1990, their first feature film became a box-office smash and two sequels followed.  Suffice to say, they were very popular with younger audiences and plenty of money was made by their creators.

Having not been seen (at least by me) since the mid 1990s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back with a new movie.  They have been reinvented to capture the attention of today’s kids.  Fans of the original cartoon and movies might also be interested in seeing what this is about.

In this film, simply titled TMNT, the Ninja Turtles appear to have gone into semi-retirement.  Leonardo has gone AWOL and Donatello and Michelangelo aren’t doing much.  The only turtle still keeping the peace upworld is Raphael.  Despite the wishes of Master Splinter, he has been sneaking out at night and capturing the bad guys.  He wears a mask to conceal his identity and has become known as the Nightwatcher.

Some strange events then start occurring in the city.  They are strange because (a) they are out of the ordinary and (b) I didn’t really understand them.  My best interpretation is as follows.  A group of nasty monsters were released into the world 3000 years ago.  I’m not sure where they’ve been since that time but they have now congregated in New York City.  They aren’t a threat however as they have been captured by a mysterious army.  Was this army good or bad?  I don’t know.

Somehow, the Ninja Turtles have been caught up in the mayhem.  The focus of their exploits however is on a rivalry that has developed between Leonardo and Raphael.  They have different ideals and I really liked this darker aspect to the story.  They feature in a great battle sequence atop of high rise roof.  Donatallo and Michelangelo may as well have not even been in the film – they’re hardly seen.

The original movies were live-action but this new instalment has been made with computer generated animation.  The reasons given by the producers are that live action would have been too expensive and that computer animation gave more flexibility.  I have to agree.  I enjoyed the look of the characters and the city backdrop.

Despite the confusing storyline, TMNT should give younger moviegoers value for money.  If enough of them go to see it, then I’m sure the green light will be given for another sequel.