TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEM
Producer- Seth Rogen
Director- Jeff Rowe
Cast- Jackie Chan, Paul Rudd, John Cena, Maya Rudolph, Ice Cube, Post Malone and Brady Hood
Platform of Release- Theatres
By Jyothi Venkatesh
The film is about how the Turtles survive when they crave to earn humans’ acceptance and live as normal teenagers, among New Yorkers and take on a crime syndicate by facing an army of mutants. At the outset, the film takes one through the origins of the Turtle brothers and their adoptive rat mutant father, Splinter (Jackie Chan), and the adventure they are on. This one is yet another animated version of a much-loved franchise that sets out to pique curiosity about what new the filmmakers have to offer.
While helping their new human friend and an aspiring journalist, April O’Neil (Ayo Ediberi), Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu), Raphael (Brady Noon), Michelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr.), and Donatello (Micah Abbey) try to take down a crime syndicate and its leader, Superfly (Ice Cube) who was created by a rogue scientist, Baxter Stockman (Giancarlo Esposito).
The battalion of Superfly’s hench-mutants — rhinoceros Rocksteady (John Cena), warthog Bebop (Seth Rogan), gecko Mondo Gecko (Paul Rudd), manta ray Ray Fillet (Post Malone), alligator Leatherhead (Rose Byrne), and bat Wingnut (Natasia Demetriou) are impeccably created with sketch-like features and extremely incredible detailing.
Among the film’s standout moments include Superfly turning into a kaiju and seeing Splinter in action when he comes to save his sons at the evil Cynthia Utrom’s (Maya Rudolph) facility when she wants to ‘milk’ the Turtles to create Snakeman, Dolphinman, and Eagleman.
Jackie Chan as Splinter is inspired casting that is utilized so well. The emotion he brings to the character is extremely genuine as an overprotective but kind father who has seen mankind at its worst and never wants them to have to experience it. Ice Cube is a great villain, but if crossed he morphs into a really intimidating presence. The rest of the cast are basically stunt casting but even then they are having a ball, especially Paul Rudd’s skater bro.
Jeff Rowe’s direction is incredible, the action is fun and constructed in a way that most live action only wishes it could achieve and the animation manages to create its own unique style in an increasingly ambitious landscape. It’s a world of jagged edges and tad imperfections.
On the whole, I’d say that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem has the ingenious idea to hone in on the teenage part of these heroes in a half shell in all its funny and sincere glory. Combining that with a moving story about their desire for acceptance and a gorgeous yet unique animation style it results in the best iteration of TMNT till date.