Lisa Skinner finds much to enjoy in the return of a much loved franchise


The film/Series: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

Rating: PG (Language|Impolite Material|Sequences of Violence & Action)

Running time: 1h 39m

Genre: Kids & family, Comedy, Adventure, Animation

Overview: The return of our favourite heroes in a half shell is the latest reboot in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. After years of hiding away from the human world in the sewers of New York, the Turtles embark on a journey to become accepted by society. With the help of their new friend, April O’Neil, they take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but things take a turn for the worse when they stumble upon a mutant army.

What you liked

The visual aesthetics of this movie are a thing of beauty, the hand-drawn scribbles take on the look of a comic book. At times the cartoon animation is interwoven with real-life elements adding to the quirkiness of it all.

The all-star cast is also impressive with the familiar voices of Jackie Chan, Paul Rudd, Rose Byrne, Maya Ruldolph, Ice Cube, Seth Rogan and John Cena bringing the characters to life. The script is extremely comical throughout which is no surprise given that Seth Rogen co-wrote the screenplay.

Unlike previous Turtles movies, this one strongly portrays the Turtle brothers as the teenagers they are, incorporating all the awkwardness and angst that is characteristic of that stage of life. The use of young voices for Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael further reinforces the idea of them being in their teens and adds a fresh perspective on these well-known characters.

This movie has cross-generational appeal, as well as the young protagonists being relatable for teens today, the TMNT can recapture the imaginations of children of the 80s and 90s, those who fell in love with the characters first time around. This sense of nostalgia is further heightened by a soundtrack that is bursting with much loved tunes from yesteryear.

What you didn’t like

There is a lot of violence in this movie which I suspect is why it was given a PG rating. The fight scenes are fast and furious and to be honest I got a bit lost at those points in the movie.

Thoughts for parents:

At the heart of it, this is a story about acceptance, from the Turtles, to April, to the mutant army, all of them are searching for a sense of belonging and experience of community. This is a deeply impactful message because at the heart of all our stories is that need to belong. As Christians we know that that longing comes from being made in the image of a Creator who enjoys community with the Son and the Holy Spirit.

There is also much to glean from the relationship between the father and his four sons, despite their waywardness, he tries his best to protect them from harm but maybe not always in the right ways. The dynamic between the brothers is also of note, each of them are very different, they argue and disagree, but they are always there for each other. They work together, and along with others, they work to make the world a better place. Their strength is found in their unity, we too are better together than we are alone (Romans 12: 4-5) as we seek to impact this world for God.

A striking scene within the movie is one where the Turtles make the decision to fight for those who have shunned them, even in the face of continued rejection by the human world. Jesus went to the cross hearing the jeers of a scorning crowd and yet he prayed “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they’re doing.” (Luke 23: 34) They rejected him, and many would continue to do so but Christ died for us regardless.

There are many themes that can be expounded with children upon watching this movie, for that reason and more I would highly recommend it. As the Turtles would say, it’s cowabunga!

4 stars