Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows</strong> (2016)

(Netflix Streaming, August 2018) It’s actually amazing, these days, how much effort and resources can go in making movies that barely make a blip on the cultural radar. We’re told that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows cost $135M, a reasonable amount for a live-action film featuring CGI characters on-screen for nearly its entire duration, and dynamic action sequences—including one in the Amazon River. The film made nearly twice its budget back, which today means that it’s not nearly enough to offset marketing and other expenses. As a result, this is likely the end of the road for this third Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie series—a reboot is likely to follow at some point. And yet, and yet, Out of the Shadows itself is often too uninteresting to be memorable. While it’s slightly better than the original—at least in terms of presenting a halfway-intriguing premise—, the film is practically a case study in 2010s blockbuster cinema and how, once the shouting and the explosions are over, it can be instantly forgotten. Out of the Shadows, like its predecessor, really comes alive during its action sequences: The highway chase sequence, the Brazilian river sequence and the Technodrome ending sequence are director Dave Green’s three claims to viewer enjoyment and excitement. When the film stumbles is in what’s probably a too-gross antagonist in a PG-13 film: Krang is executed as a Lovecraftian nightmare of exposed viscera and tentacles, which is in-keeping with the source material but executed too vividly to be purely enjoyable without a side order of nausea. But Out of the Shadows doesn’t, in the end, amount to much—if you’re a Turtles fan, you got your sequel. Otherwise, you got yet another CGI-heavy spectacle forgotten a week later. Such is the norm today.

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