Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

“So about that time I snuck a deep dish pizza in with me to see Ninja Turtles…

Okay there really isn’t too much of a story here. I was visiting a very good friend of mine in Chicago. We attempted to get a quick dinner before the movie, but got delayed and deep dish takes a long time to make. We drank our beers as we waited, but as soon as the pizza finally arrived, we asked for a box. Box was stuffed in my bag and we ran the half mile to the theater, where we enjoyed the cheesy goodness along with our favorite teenage mutants. It felt very fitting.

I’m writing this about a week after the events, so I’ve already had multiple conversations with peeps about this film, most of them childhood Turtle fans. My quick answer is that it wasn’t something I’d call “”good”” by any means, but that it was a whole lot of fun, and pretty much what a Turtles movie should be. From there, I’m usually asked very specific questions about how it compares to the old school stuff or how our new-to-this-incarnation longtime characters were portrayed. Here’s where I take a step back.

Baby of the 80s, child of the 90’s, we know this. So of course I did grow up with the Turtles, to some extent. My strongest impression of them, however, was in playing with the neighborhood kids. Two boys my age lived next door, and a third around the corner. Around second grade, we played together often, and Ninja Turtles was a favorite game. “”Were you always April?”” a friend once asked when telling this story sometime back. “”Heck no, I was Donatello!”” I remembered the toys and the theme song and basically just images of the boys.

Here’s the thing, though. I wasn’t actually allowed to _watch_ Ninja Turtles. Something about the “”ninja”” part didn’t fly with the ‘rents. Side story, I remember one time one of our church’s associate pastors’ kids was over at my house. We were screaming the turtles theme very loudly. My mom raced in to turn off the tv and stop us from watching that ungodly show. Except we weren’t watching, we were just singing. Anyways, moving on.

So when you ask me how did this compare to Secret of the Ooze or how awesome was Krang and OMG Beebop and Rocksteady, that’s where I come clean. I have a vague memory of these things, their images are familiar, but most of my Turtle life was in my own imagination.

All that said, watching this really did feel like playing with the boys in second grade. I think what made this one so much fun was that silly motormouth Mikey was in the forefront, not the serious and brooding Leonardo. There’s a place for the conflicted leader story, but it’s a lot harder to bring the loose fun with that. We’ve also got major points for bringing in Stephen “”Arrow”” Amell as Casey Jones. Such a different character from what I’m used to seeing in his Oliver Queen, and a perfect embodiment of the joy of the Half Shell. Turns out I could love him more than I already do. And unlike last time when I left the theater with a kind of “”meh”” feeling, these turtles had me positively giddy. All I can say to that is Cowabunga, dudes!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – \m/ \m/ \m/”

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