They really come out of their shells this time around.
Every time I growl about a reboot of an older movie or franchise, along comes something terrific like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.”
It’s as in-your-face with bold animation, pounding sound and some of the coolest animation you’ll ever enjoy.
The animation will look a little familiar to anyone who has enjoyed “The Mitchells vs. The Machines,” which also was directed by Jeff Rowe.
Although the movie doesn’t dwell on it, this is an origins tale. We learn how a group of baby turtles and a rat whom people loathe become mutants and form a family, living in the sewers to stay far away from the humanity they fear.
Splinter the rat (voiced by none other than Jackie Chan, who is an absolute hoot) is the overprotective “parent” of the turtles, who are, as the title suggests, teenagers now. They see people gathering in groups, and going on dates, and they long to take part in what other young people enjoy.
The turtles, each with distinct personality from the others, are Raphael (Brady Noon,) Donatello (Micah Abbey,) Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu) and Michelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr.)
Although Splinter has taught the turtles self-defense, he still thinks they are unsafe in the human world. The turtles yearn to go to high school and hang out with new friends.
Suddenly, they find themselves offered the opportunity make at least one friend when they encounter a teenage girl named April (Ayo Edebiri.) After they retrieve April’s stolen moped, they begin to wonder whether they can protect everyone in New York City from supervillain Superfly (Ice Cube), another mutant with a vile master plan.
The ‘80s/’90s-fueled soundtrack is exquisite, ramping up the action and the wild look of the images. And the score is by Oscar winners Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor.
It’s a rollicking good time that will attract multiple generations – after all, the turtles first “emerged “in a comic in 1984.
3 ½ stars
Rated: PG for coarse humor and violence.
Running time: One hour and 39 minutes.
Only in theaters.
Watch the trailer here.