By: Kemar Noel
Teenage mutant ninja turtles (TMNT) have been in the media since the 90s in the form of
comics, animated shows and live-action films.
TMNT is a story about mutant turtle brothers who fight crime in New York under a
mutant rat mentor “Splinter.” The story has changed how it is structured in each medium, but the
premise stays the same with their origin story.
This year, TMNT made it to the big screen again, but this time, with an animated movie.
Even though TMNT is very beloved, the series has struggled in theatres with its previous
releases to make any sort of big impact. “TMNT Mutant Mayhem” has its own flavor, is very
children-friendly and did pretty well at the box office grossing 162 million with a 70 million
In this movie, we are introduced to the turtles, through a flash-back that takes place 15
years prior to when events in the movie are taking place.
Created in a lab, the turtles escape into the New City sewer system, where they meet their
adoptive father and mentor, Splinter.
The present-day story revolves around the turtles Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and
Raphael dealing with teenage struggles manifested as supernatural conflict.
The turtles are clueless about the human world and sneak out often to experience
different things whenever they get the chance.
When Splinter sends them on errands, they venture off to see an outdoor movie, and we
are introduced to one of the internal problems the turtles are facing: they want to be loved by
everyone and to belong.
This is what makes the scenes where they first meet April so meaningful. The turtles have
never met humans directly before, so the first contact they make with April is what leads them to
believe that they will be accepted no matter what. They try to recreate the same acceptance they
get with April on a larger scale.
After a series of events, the turtles come into contact with other mutants.
The new mutants are made from the same “ooze” that the professor used to make the
turtles. The problem is that the same mutants had a completely different upbringing and think
that the eradication of the human species is the only way to truly fit in with the world.
The turtles are, of course, not on board with the idea and conflict breaks out.
There were some noticeable changes to the TMNT universe, like Splinter no longer being
a martial arts genius who taught his sons all he knows. Splinter is now a NYC sewer rat who
stumbles across the turtles and teaches them self-defense through different television shows.
April is also a character with meaning – in this film, she seems integral to the story and
isn’t just there to be there.
One drawback with her character is that they keep using her as an unnecessary love
interest for the turtles. This film also lacks a lot of the combat that the previous films had, but
there is an appropriate trade-off with compelling storytelling.
The movie is created for adolescents; the turtles were even voiced by teen voice actors.
While people compare it to “Rise” and call it inferior in animation and storytelling, it is
still a great watch and is one of the better adaptations of the series in the last decade.
Writers definitely made great changes to the story regarding the turtles when compared to
other movie counterparts. The turtles in this movie have dreams and aspirations and act like
The movie’s sound design, animation (reminiscent of the Miles Morales Spider-Verse
movies), color and dialogue are creative and well-done.
There is a second film that is confirmed and is currently in the works that will hopefully
be released sometime next year.
I rate this film a 7/10 to anyone willing to give the movie a shot.