"In a half shell, they're the heroes four, in this day and age who could ask for more?... T-U-R-T-L-E Power." If you got that reference, you are in for one heck of a movie. TMNT, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles if you've been living in the sewers the past 20 years, is brilliant candy for the eye, heart and mind. I went in with low expectations and was hoping for a fun action flick with a hint of nostalgia. The first 10 minutes of the film throws you a curve ball, as the TMNT aren't even a team. It answers the question of what these trans mutated fighting turtles would be doing if they weren't crime fighting... if they just had to live daily lives like the rest of us. The plot line was sophisticated enough to hold my interest throughout, but I think even the youngest fans will keep up with the storyline well enough to get it. You get really deep insight into the minds of Leonardo and Raphael, which interesting and action-packed enough to forgive the shortcomings on the other characters. The turtle vs. turtle arc is brilliantly executed and will satisfy both the fanboy and the average viewer. Some liberties are taken when it comes to pivotal characters, but it seems to capture the lighthearted fun of the cartoon series, the brotherly love of the live-action movie, and the gritty action of the Eastman and Laird comic book that started it all. I was amazed how well the stylistic animation and tear-inducing inspirational moments all blended together. I thought it missed the mark with the voice-casting of Splinter, their rat-turned-mentor, but the teasers they drop for a sequel and the return of their nemesis the Shredder made up for it.
The music was above average and fit the mood of the upbeat action swings, and it makes you chuckle a bit to think that Limp Bizkit got some work for it. (Limp Bizkit? Really??) Even though their original "Shell Shock" song mentions Bebop, Rocksteady and other turtle mainstays, it falls miserably short of the original live-action movie's "Turtle Power" theme song.
"Do YOU stand for what you believe in? And find the strength to do what's right?" Turtle Power ;)