'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' are one of those intellectual properties that, since the comic debuted in 1984, has had an impact on every generation of young kids. With six series and films, every decade since then has come with a new version of the Turtles. Now in 2023, Seth Rogen is fulfilling his own childhood dreams and tackling his own version of the iconic teenagers in their most realistic portrayal yet.
Donatello (Micah Abbey, TV's 'Cousins for Life'), Michelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr, TV's 'The Chi'), Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu, TV's 'The Walking Dead: World Beyond') and Raphael (Brady Noon, 'Good Boys', 'Marry Me') are heroes in a half-shell, living their lives in secret in the sewers below New York City. The turtles where mutated at a young age by green ooze - the same ooze that transformed a rat into Splinter (Jackie Chan, 'The LEGO Ninjago Movie', 'Kung Fu Panda' franchise, 'Rush Hour' franchise), their father. Scared of the human world, he taught them the art of ninjutsu and, after a run-in with April O'Neil (Ayo Edebiri, TV's 'The Bear', 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse'), they learn they can use that skills to help the world. Now visiting the world above more often, they get wrapped up in a mystery that leads them to other mutants led by Superfly (Ice Cube, 'The High Note', 'Boyz n the Hood'), but there might be something more to him that connects them to their creation.
SWITCH: 'TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEM' TRAILER
'Ninja Turtles' is one of those franchises where your favourite version most likely comes from when you were a kid. 'Mutant Mayhem' does a beautiful job of being a love letter to the franchise while updating the Turtles for a modern generation. 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' has had an effect on animation that we will see for years to come, and the style of 'Mutant Mayhem' is definitely reminiscent of that, but also has its own unique style. As expected from projects with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg backing them, the film is hilarious and bursting with fun.
Part of the success of this version of the Turtles is in the casting of them; this is the first time they have been portrayed by actual teenagers. It's one of those things that you may not have thought about with previous versions, but it's wild that it took until 2023 to finally get them voiced by people their age. It brings such a new, real energy to these characters and they are just a blast to watch together. They recorded all the actors together, and you can feel that magic in every scene. It's such a small change behind the scenes that really adds to the film.
'Mutant Mayhem' does a beautiful job of being a love letter to the franchise while updating the Turtles for a modern generation.
'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem' is one of those films that perfectly uses nostalgia to enhance the piece, not trap it. It brings these characters into the 2020s while celebrating everything that came before it. It's a perfect time capsule of their legacy and a truly fun adventure in the 'Ninja Turtle' canon. Grab your nunchucks and a slice of the finest pizza, because this is a totally radical ride!
The film does get extra points for the use of the 'Ninja Rap'.