In 2014, Deadshirt’s very own Trashboys-in-residence Max Robinson and Mike Pfeiffer attended the New York premiere of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Two years later, our boys managed to con their way into the New York premiere of the sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Viewer discretion is advised.
Max: The first thing you need to know about the experience of Mike and I watching this movie two weeks ago is Caucasian rapper Vanilla Ice introduced the movie with a new version of the “Ninja Rap,” gave a quick shout out to Prince up in Heaven, then posed for a selfie with Michael Bay before seemingly leaving Madison Square Garden forever.
Mike: Full journalistic disclosure, we got free tickies to the turtle show due to the sewer mutant version of the EBT program that Max and I participate in but I promise it will not affect our impartial coverage of this film where Arrow gets his ass handed to him by Tony “The Ratman” Shalhoub. What will affect our coverage is the free popcorn and soda that we were encouraged to hoard like the diabetic dragons we are.
Max: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is, aggressively, a movie about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles coming out of the shadows. If that isn’t for you, you aren’t going to like this movie. If you’re game for a movie made of crazy video game cutscenes where monsters eat spaghetti out of garbage cans, you’re going to dig it.
Mike: Absolutely Max, if there’s one thing these digitally rendered reptiles can’t stand, it’s being in spots where light has been obscured, rendering one unable to see them. As far as the amount of sun exposure these turtles receive compared to the previous outing, the increase is amazing. There’s big time a part where Ray Romano’s big brother plays a villainous nutsack who lives inside a microcephalic robot man and baby that’s the good stuff.
Max: KRANG! Holy shit, KRANG. If there is one element of this movie you know that Michael Bay had complete creative control over, it’s literally every single thing about Krang. Krang is a gross monster that shanghais Shredder into working with him to destroy or take over the Earth. Krang lives in a massive robot body, but the robot painfully stuffs Krang into its chest over and over like some kind of sisyphean hell punishment Krang is in total control of. He’s voiced by Brad Garrett, after Fred Armisen seemingly quit because voicing a sentient pair of balls got in the way of hooking up with 23-year-olds. Krang screams a lot but with a super deep voice. Krang is the experience of watching this movie, just a walking talking belligerent good time.
Mike: Krang terrified me. The design of Krang, had I seen it as a child, would have caused a catastrophic psychosexual break ending in a call to the Department of Homeland Security about my Mean Bean Machine. In addition to contending with Krang, the turtles also go through some internal strife as they figure out whether they should continue to conceal themselves from humanity or metaphorically exit the figurative umbra which they currently inhabit. Their pal April O’Neill (Megan Fox) is back, too, and she’s there when two guys who just got turned into animal monsters high five over now having giant mutant monster dicks. Real.
Max: The sequel set up for this movie is the Ninja Turtles are pissed off because they agreed to let Will Arnett take all the credit for defeating Shredder last movie, so now they have to sneak into Knicks games while he gets to hang out with Carmelo Anthony and do cocaine (I assume). Meanwhile, Neil DeGrasse Tyson Baxter Stockman (literal giant Tyler Perry) is working with the Foot Clan to free Shredder from jail. Mike, how do you put into words the scene where Megan Fox seduces Tyler Perry by throwing up TeeFury slogans?
Mike: Megan Fox in her nerd disguise (Michael Turner drawing wearing a wig) comes up to him and goes “I fucking love science!” and then Tyler Perry lists scientific inaccuracies in Interstellar until Megan Fox has to make an escape where she takes off her hot nerd disguise to reveal that she’s actually…A Beautiful Lady! By the way, this movie is the best Tyler Perry performance, non giant fake breasts division. He steals the show. Perry as Stockman makes Alex Cross look like Mortdecai. I didn’t know that Baxter Stockman is traditionally a gross fly-man, but considering the amount of kid-friendly Cronenberg in this movie I’m sure we’ll get that the next time out. Max, you’ve watched Arrow more than me. How did Arrow do in this movie as The Arrow Of Hockey?
Max: He’s okay! The CW’s Arrow plays fan favorite TMNT character Casey Jones, a homeless guy who dresses like Jason Vorhees to fight crime on roller skates. Here, Casey Jones is a corrections officer transporting Shredder and pre-mutation Bebop and Rocksteady to a facility in upstate New York. Is Shredder a US citizen? I’m unclear how he’s incarcerated in New York. Anyway, we get the truck chase sequence from The Dark Knight as the prison transport is attacked by Foot Clan ninjas before the turtles show up in a big trash truck that shoots sewer lids. This is HANDILY the high point of the movie and just really fun overall. They go hard on the “action figures attacking each other” craziness that a TMNT movie should be, so we get bits like the…*googles*…Shellraiser sprouting big robot arms that have nunchucks. The turtles are constantly jumping off of buildings or out of airplanes.
Mike: There’s a bunch of nonsense aerial acrobatics that made me ask myself if the turtles could actually fly and I forgot, but it doesn’t matter because that’s the stuff where the movie really shines. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles don’t beg some essential moral question or represent an imperfect facet of the human experience, they’re big monsters who fight a crime lord ninja. Don’t waste our time with this Shrek 2-ass “should we become normal” stuff. It’s like trying to make me fill up on salad at Ruby Tuesday’s. Bring the cart with the rocket skateboard and nunchuk fights to my table and leave it there. Worst injustice of all, they spend forever teasing that the turtles are going to possibly turn themselves human temporarily and there’s no payoff. We don’t get a montage of the now-human turtles buying clothes or a scene where human Michelangelo finally kisses Megan Fox and then asks her to find a nice patch of wet sand to lay her eggs so he can fertilize them.
Max: The big crazy action stuff is really where this movie soars, and I think we both adored and related to Bebop and Rocksteady (Gary Anthony Williams and Sheamus), two dumb guys who get turned into monsters and love eating garbage. TMNT 2 operates under the principle of “if the cast is having a good time, the audience is having a good time” and you pretty much can’t say no to scenes where a giant rhino-man and a warthog-man prowl around a parking garage on low riders trying to kill a guy on roller skates that he made out of an office chair. There’s an entire sequence set in the Amazon for pretty much no other reason than to get Bebop and Rocksteady fucking around in a tank set to Edwin Starr, and it rules.
Mike: If you think the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are an essentially worthless concept, then this movie isn’t going to change your mind, but if you don’t have air conditioning in your apartment and you want to see some crazy shit while you drink that beer you snuck into the theater, then you’re in flavor country. Children will probably also like this movie, and nobody’s going to check your kid’s osh-kosh overalls for a pint of tequila, so that’s my tip to you.
Max: As a post-script, there was a little kid at the screening who got to meet Arrow and he kept whining that his grandma got him the wrong size soda and Mike and I, ON PRINCIPLE, refused to give him any of the three or four we grabbed from the free snacks table. KRANG 2016!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is now playing.