Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Within the first five minutes of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS, you’re going to know if you’re going to like it or not. The opening scene features our four half-shell friends running through the tops of buildings, trading terrible one-liners and accomplishing nothing. The scene doesn’t have a point, has some sloppy CGI and the dialogue sounds like something you’d hear a couple of 12 year-olds exchanging in the late 90’s. Within 15 minutes, you’ll know if you can even tolerate the film and within 30 minutes, you’ll probably regret not stopping it at the 15 minute mark. OUT OF THE SHADOWS has all of the problems of its predecessor and manages to add a few just for good measure.
Following the events of the first film, the Ninja Turtles are happy living in the shadows, protecting their city. But April (Fox) is investigating a scientist she believes has ties to Shredder (Brian Tee). Sure enough, she discovers a plan to bust Shredder out of prison and calls on our four heroes to help. It turns out Shredder is working with the evil Krang (voiced by Brad Garrett), who has a very convoluted plan to open up a portal to another dimension and take over the world. At some point, everyone involved with this film forgot what kind of movie they were making and the plot is reflective of that; the villains have no motivation, are introduced quickly and haphazardly and their plot to take over the world is nonsensical. But what’s worse is that it’s unnecessary; just establish a bad guy and have said bad guy fight the turtles.
There are four words to describe Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael; teenage, mutant, ninja, turtles. The “teenage” part comes in with the atrocious dialogue, or at least that’s what the screenwriters think teenagers sound like today. The “mutant” and “turtle” parts come in because they’re walking turtles, but where exactly does the “ninja” part come in? In the nearly two hour runtime, there were very few actual scenes of the four turtles fighting. We got an overblown highway chase scene (remember; Michael Bay produced this and outlandish highway chase scenes are a requirement in his films), we also got an airplane crash, but we didn’t get much in the way of martial arts. Maybe that’s a nitpicky thing to complain about, but the Ninja Turtles I remember actually fought foot soldiers and bad guys.
I also have a hard time getting past the CGI. The turtles just look weird and there are scenes in Out of the Shadows where the turtles look distorted (most of these scenes occurring in their underground lair). Even aside from their off-putting looks, the turtles don’t have much in the way of personality. The group dynamic was always an overarching theme in the comics, cartoons and even the 1990 movie (which I still believe is a surprisingly good film for what it is), and although it’s touched on in this film, it’s done so lazily that it would have been better to ignore it altogether. So they ignored their differences and started working together because Leo made a frowny face?
I joked in my review of the 2014 film that I might just too old for this new iteration of the Ninja Turtles and maybe that’s true. But even if I’m not the target audience, this was a poor effort. Yes, it was fun seeing Bebop and Rocksteady, but that’s a small consolation that can’t make up for the film’s other problems.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: Aside from indicating how much you’re going to like the film, the opening scene is also going to show you how good the 4K transfer is. It’s a CGI-heavy scene at night and the camera moves quickly with the action. The result is actually pretty impressive as the colors of the turtles stand out more than on the Blu-ray transfer, as does the various shading on the buildings. There’s a scene early on with Donatello where the camera gets close on him and he looks distorted and I was anxious to check it out on 4K to see if the effect would highlight any shoddy CGI and it did not. I guess that’s just how he was supposed to look. This is a pretty dark film in terms of color and the 4K really does a great job of giving depth and color where the Blu-ray could not. And keep in mind the Blu-ray transfer is pretty impressive in its own right.
Audio: The 4K disc includes a Dolby Atmos track (which is also on the Blu-ray) that sounds fantastic. Bay didn’t direct this, but his fingerprints are all over it and you know how he likes his loud explosions.
There are no 4K exclusive special features, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film which has the following special features:
Deleted Scenes (5:00): Three scenes in total that didn’t do much, but “Kiss Me” did make me chuckle.
Featurettes (39:06): There are 6 featurettes in total and I lump them all together because on their own, they’re too short to amount to much. But together they make up a sort of making-of featurette. There’s one that talks about the effects in the film, a tour of the sets and another covering the humans that portray the turtles. The most interesting might be the 3 minute featurette about the Easter eggs in the film, at least for those of us familiar with the comics and cartoons.