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Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem – “absolutely stunning”

This is the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse of 2023. Actually, that doesn’t work, does it? Ummm, okay you get my gist.

We are really dining well on beautiful animation films that are aimed just as much for adults as for children, this year. We’ve had Across the Spider-Verse (my first animated film to get 5 stars), Elemental, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, a few Justice League films, Nikons, the upcoming Resident Evil: Death Island (okay, this one isn’t for children) and we still have Migration, Chicken Run and The Monkey King to come.

Now we get a reboot of those lovable turtles, Leo, Mike, Raph and Donny, along with Splinter and April O’Neil and a whole host of new (mutant) faces for this screen outing.

Brought to us by directors Jeff Rowe, who gave us 2021’s tremendous The Mitchell’s Vs The Machines, and Kyler Spears. They are both from a background of animation; directing and animators. They have cited the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, as one of the inspirations behind their style

The animation is absolutely stunning, equally as great as this year’s Spider-Man (AtSV) but in its own, completely unique style. It is the darkest-looking animation I think I’ve seen, being predominantly set at night and obviously in the sewers, with most scenes only being animated/lit from street lights, neon signs and the bodegas and night-life of NYC.

Rowe and Spears have signed teenagers to voice the Turtles which works to the advantage of the film as they lend a more believable, fun, coolness to the crime-fighting pizza-loving mutant heroes. Nicolas Cantu (Leonardo) is 19yo, Brady Noon (Raphael) is 17yo, Shamon Brown Jr. (Michelangelo) is 19, and Micah Abbey (Donatello) is 15yo.

Choosing Jackie Chan as Master Splinter, is a no-brainer. They even utilise Chan’s style of fighting with everyday objects, like chairs and anything else that is lying around. Rowe and Spears have cited many of Chan’s films as inspiration, including the epic Police Story franchise and Rumble in the Bronx.

In fact, the entire cast is brilliant, Ice-Cube as SuperFly, Paul Rudd as the extremely lovable Mondo Gecko, Rose Byrne as Letherhead, John Cena and Seth Rogan as Beebop and Rocksteady, rounding off with Ayo Edeberi, Post Malone, Maya Rudolph and the Giancarlo Esposito.

Keeping things fresh for the older generation comes in the form of a kickass retro hip-hop soundtrack, including Grandmaster Flash, De La Soul and 2 Live Crew, to name but a few. There is, pleasantly, very little in the form of modern rap. The main score is composed by Fincher’s go-to duo of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

There are a few easter eggs me and my mate noticed in the first viewing and I’m sure there will be more to find going through again. I had the pleasure of having my mate’s two boys, Caleb, 6, and Noah, 4, with me and it was great fun to watch it with them.

You can find me here.

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