Is this reboot half-shell or full-shell? Oozing with cheesy nostalgia, check out our TMNT Mutant Mayhem review!
Whether you’re young, old or in-between, almost every generation nowadays has seen some incarnation of the famous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now, hot on the heels of similar releases like Into the Spiderverse, the turtle crew have jumped to animation in their new outing: Mutant Mayhem. With a new movie and start of a new TMNT franchise, does this ooze a fresh start or does it taste like stale pizza? Find out in our TMNT Mutant Mayhem review!
TMNT Mutant Mayhem Review – Story
TMNT Mutant Mayhem combines several elements from previous shows and movies, even calling back to the original ’80s cartoon. This is a new start and one that retells the origin of our favourite reptilian ninjas. Opening on an elite squad of commandos who have tracked down a mad scientist by the name of Baxter Stockman (cue cool cameo by Giancarlo Esposito) that has been experimenting on animals trying to create the perfect family for himself.
The devilish charming voice of Giancarlo Esposito.
As expected, things don’t go according to plan and as a mutated fly escapes with other test subjects, some of the highly experimental green ooze leaks down the sewer. Of course, you can guess what happens next as we are propelled 15 years to now seeing the full-grown (well teenage-grown) Ninja Turtles.
Introducing the new turtle squad!
Things start to ramp up as they go from grocery shopping to stopping crime. They save April O’Neil from muggers and team up to stop the super evil and totally human ‘Super Fly‘. The narrative sticks to basics with some interesting twists towards the end but under all the mayhem is a story about just wanting to be accepted.
Fan favourites, Bepop and Rocksteady, return.
TMNT Mutant Mayhem Review – Visuals
The cartoon/comic book style animated design is all the rage currently in similar type movies and it works just as well for our teenage pals too. One of the first noticeable differences is the differences of the four Turtles. Their designs have been altered to include their personalities and not just identical shells with different colours.
The teenage awkwardness really shows in MM.
A good example is Donatello, the “smart” one of the group who loves inventing and video games has glasses and is slightly shorter in stature. These alterations work well to differentiate the team whilst giving them each more endearing personalities.
Beware my grocery list!
As with superhero antics the best bits are the action scenes and Mutant Mayhem checks those boxes immediately. Although the start is a bit slow, the bulk of the action occurs in the third act of the film and is executed flawlessly with some crazy antics thrown in.
TMNT Mutant Mayhem Review – Audio
The titular turtles are voiced by equally aged teens with most of them newcomers with barely a handful of roles up their sleeves. This doesn’t slow them by any means, they sound exactly as they should, hormone-filled, angsty teenagers who just want to escape from their overbearing parents.
This is where the big guns come in, Master Splinter is voiced by the legendary Jackie Chan who makes the role his own. Possibly the most contrasting element compared to other iterations, this Master Splinter is goofier and more like a protective guardian of the Turtles rather than their Kung-Fu master.
One more thing… (Jackie Chan animated reference anyone?)
Mutant Mayhem is absolutely chocked full with a star-studded cast that make up many of the additional mutants. Under the helm of Jeff Rowe with the added producer/writer talents of comedian Seth Rogan (who also voices Bepop), they pull together a random assortment of actors from all genres.
From legendary WWE and now actor, John Cena as Rocksteady to Mondo Gecko who steals every scene voiced by Marvels Ant-Man himself, Paul Rudd. The only down side with all these cameos is they only have a few lines each aside from the main villain Superfly voiced by the iconic Ice Cube.
A little more Bepop and Rocksteady wouldn’t have gone astray.
The score comes from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross who won awards for their work on The Social Network and the animated hit Soul. However, the best bits come from a few montages throughout the movie, that include the songs No Diggity and a disgustingly funny scene with Unwritten. Lastly you can’t make a new Turtle movie without referencing the very first turtle rap. In a brief ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ scene, Ninja Rap by Vanilla Ice plays for a few moments whilst in the heat of battle, perfectly creating a full circle feeling.
TMNT Mutant Mayhem Review – Conclusion
A hilariously fun movie for the whole family, TMNT Mutant Mayhem ushers in a new age of Turtle Power. Although mostly aimed for the younger generation, there’s enough cameos, jokes and references for those more experienced in years. Whilst this isn’t a must-see movie, the series’ future does look promising with a sequel and series already in development. Before you leave the cinema or turn off the TV don’t forget to watch the mid-credits scene as it absolutely shreds!
So, why should you watch TMNT Mutant Mayhem?
- Peak nostalgia for TMNT fans
- Great for the whole family
- Hilarious pop culture references.
But why shouldn’t you watch TMNT Mutant Mayhem?
- Basically, a kids movie
- Very simple story
- Slightly campy at times.