Properties from the 80s and 90s have been a staple of the 2023 summer movie calendar and it’s shown us two things. That some icons from the past are better left as nostalgic relics and not meant to be revisited, such the case with Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. This popcorn cinema season has also shown that some properties, while not currently trendy, are merely relaxing under the surface and waiting for a resurgence that can instantly catapult it back into the mainstream, such the case with The Super Mario Bros. Movie. I feel there’s another property from the past that’s always ready for a retelling and that is the ninja turtles. This is what I hoped for when sitting down for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem and it brings great joy to say this film is an astounding success.
I think Mutant Mayhem is much better than anyone could’ve expected, and it manages to deliver on many levels. First and foremost, you must look at the fantastic writing from the story development and progression to the sense of humor and smart comedy that can appeal to such a wide range of audiences. Most of these remakes and reboot sequels fail to appeal to both those who grew up on the properties and newer audiences who may be getting a first-time look. Mutant Mayhem is not only able to appeal to both, but it’s also an adaptation that can truly connect to all four quadrants of the movie going audience, old-young, male-female.
The plot doesn’t bog itself down in the origin elements, it’s a swift intro and you are swept right off into the charming adventure filled with clever humor, awesome music, nostalgia and most importantly growth among the group. This franchise has been adapted so many times over the years and I think Mutant Mayhem is the best (in terms of quality on multiple levels) we have seen of these characters since the original cartoon series. It was like a step back in time but with a modern twist and with pristine artwork and animation the visual appeal is stunning and nonstop from start-to-finish.
The voiceover acting is another fantastic element that is so crucial for this group. They are each other’s friends, they’re each other’s family, you can feel it in the charismatic performances and the result instantly makes the ninja turtles cool again. You can feel the camaraderie and bond of the group, you feel like you’re going on this adventure with them and it’s a complete blast.
The turtles, however, were not the only staples of this franchise. Their friend and journalist April O’Neil has always been a trusted part of the group and I think her adaptation in this film is an out of the park homerun. Ayo Ebebiri’s voicework pumps so much spirited life into this character and she too is instantly lovable like the turtles which makes you even more easily invested in where this fast-paced adventure will go. Many other great characters make returns. It’s filled with adrenaline pumping action. It quietly shows homage to the past but also brings so much freshness to the table and it makes this movie such a wild ride connected by razor sharp wittiness, bold immersive visuals.
CAST: Shamon Brown Jr., Nicolas Cantu, Micah Abbey, Brady Noon, Ayo Edebiri, Maya Rudoph, Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, John Cena, Ice Cube, Giancarlo Esposito, Jackie Chan, Paul Rudd DIRECTOR(S): Jeff Rowe, Kyler Spears WRITER(S): Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jeff Rowe DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount Pictures RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes RATING: PG ( sequences of action/violence, language, impolite material) YEAR: 2023 LANGUAGE: English GENRE: Animation/Action/Adventure
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2023 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.