by Pierre Young, Editor-in-Chief of The Metro Scoop Student Newspaper
Published on 9/6/2023
Cowabunga! The turtles are back in an inspired ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ animation, two years in the making. ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem’ is a fun-filled and surprisingly adventurous comic book film. Produced by Seth Rogen, directed by Jeff Rowe, and featuring the talented voices of actual teenagers portraying the turtles. I have seen the movie twice in theaters already, and I was impressed by the skilled voices throughout the film and the array of stars associated with the movie, including Jackie Chan, Ice Cube, Seth Rogen, John Cena, and Paul Rudd. The voices of the ninja turtles are introduced as Micah Abbey (Donatello), Sharon Brown Jr. (Michelangelo), Nicolas Cantu (Leonardo), and Brandy Noon (Raphael).
The film presents an original story explaining how the turtles remained underground during the years they were in hiding, with Splinter acting as their protective father figure. This is a narrative that has not been previously told, and what captivated me about this iteration of the turtles is that the actors reflect their generation by engaging in activities such as looking at smartphones at night, using Gen Z slang, and referencing pop culture. These elements incited laughter in the theater.
I had the privilege of attending a sneak preview of the movie at AMC Roseville with my two best friends due to our history of watching turtle movies together. I genuinely appreciate the dynamic between the turtles and April O’Neil, portrayed by Ayo Edebiri, who represents a person of color, a departure from the character’s past lore. I’m pleased that the producers avoided sexualizing April, instead focusing on her role as a guide for the turtles as they attempt to blend in with high school culture.
The action in the movie is shell-tastic, with a touch of dark humor. The story takes a unique approach to the comic book adaptation, remaining faithful to the source material. The movie’s soundtrack is infused with hip-hop and R&B vibes, which I thoroughly enjoyed and even grooved to in the theater. Ice Cube’s performance as Superfly truly won me over, solidifying his position as one of my favorite MCs of all time. He’s an entertainer who deserves more credit. Jackie Chan’s portrayal of Splinter is a perfect casting choice. In my opinion, he is the greatest martial artist in the world!
‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem’ is unquestionably a film worth watching with friends and family, particularly if you’re a dedicated Turtles fan. If animated movies like ‘Spider-Verse’ can stay true to the source material, perhaps comic book enthusiasts will find satisfaction in the new turtles film. So, gather your friends, and savor some pizza in the theater, because turtle fans worldwide are in for a shell of a good time!