The Source for Parents

Movie Reviews
by Todd Pearage

TMNT (8/7/2007)

Rated PG for animated action violence, some scary cartoon images and mild language.

Directed by Kevin Munroe (First time Director)

Starring the voices of Chris Evans, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Patrick Stewart

Todd's Rating: Theatre Worthy

TMNT is a fun-filled, action-packed film with a strong message about forgiveness and unity.

I remember watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a kid and I loved them. I’ll even admit that I had a few “action figures,” so I couldn’t wait to see the new CGI Turtles. I wasn’t disappointed. The CGI and action sequences were pretty cool and the dialogue was clever.

The story begins after the Turtles have defeated their arch nemesis, The Shredder, and all is right with the world. Unfortunately, not all is right with the Turtles who have grown apart as a family: Leonardo has been sent to South America to develop his leadership skills. Donatello has taken a job as a computer technical support operator. Michelangelo (my favorite) is the latest craze in children’s birthday party characters as, you guessed it, a giant ninja turtle. Raphael sleeps all day because he spends his nights as a lone crime fighter. The new villain is Tech-industrialist tycoon Max Winters who happens to be an immortal warrior-king bent on correcting a 3,000 year old mistake. Max exchanged immortality for the lives of his generals who were turned into stone. At the same time, 13 monsters were released into our world. Master Splinter must bring the turtles back together before it’s too late.

This new TMNT adventure is a more “grown-up” version of the original cartoon. The Turtles are a little darker and the villains are a little scarier. There is also an ambiguous relationship between Casey (Chris Evan) – the hockey mask wearing vigilante - and April (Sarah Michelle Gellar). In one scene, the Turtles comment, “nice apartment kids.” I’m still not sure if they were living together or not and the more I thought about it, the more upset I got. This is supposed to be a family movie and I shouldn’t have to think about things like that…it’s a cartoon!! Jonathan and I may not always agree on the movie score, but we do agree that we are tired of those messages creeping their way into more and more films.

That being said, I thought the story was very strong. The Turtles and Max’s family are both dealing with pride, anger, and sibling rivalry. In one scene Leonardo says, "Funny thing about anger: let it consume you and soon enough, you lose sight of everything." It’s that kind of anger that is causing the Turtles to fight each other. In fact, the darkest scene of the entire film is a fight sequence between Leonardo and Raphael. Max’s “family” is also experiencing the same anger and begins fighting each other, ultimately leading to their destruction.

I thought they did a great job of portraying the Turtles as true heroes. They may not be perfect, but they learn from their mistakes, find forgiveness and in the end discover a new motto, "We live together, we train together, we fight together, we stand for good together.”

It’s a true PG rating; the monsters and fight scenes may scare some younger kids (my 5 year old covered his eyes during the fight scene between Leonardo and Raphael). There are a few off-color comments like a “your mom” joke, but other than that, there is no foul language. I do think parents need to be prepared for the whole “little ninja wannabes” thing that happens after a movie like this. Overall my kids loved it, in fact my daughter told me to say that, “It was great, everyone should see it.”

Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

  1. What are some of the messages or themes you observed in this movie?

  2. How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?

  3. How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

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