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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Teamwork and brotherhood are paramount to the story of the Turtles, who love and protect one another even though they don't always agree and occasionally fight.
Positive Role Models
Master Splinter is a wonderful father figure to the four Turtles, and he'll do anything to protect and defend his "sons." The four Ninja Turtles are young and occasionally misguided, but they also want to be brave, help one another, and defend the city against Shredder.
Violence & Scariness
There's a flashback to a fire that kills a scientist and nearly kills the Turtles and Splinter. The battles between Shredder and his goons and the Turtles and Splinter leave people injured and possibly unconscious but not necessarily dead. Explosions, etc. Three of the Turtles are tortured and bleed out until rescue arrives. A few scenes make it seem like the Turtles, April, or her friend Vern will be killed. A deadly toxin is nearly released into the city. The Foot clan is much more militant and evil looking than the ninja assassin/robot creatures they were in earlier versions.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Although there's no sexual contact in the movie, April's character is frequently ogled and sexualized. Michelangelo says she's so hot that his shell is tightening, an obvious reference to arousal, and he continues to reference his "dibs" on her and how she's a "hot chick," etc. Vern can't help but flirt and come on to her, and he even spends time staring at her butt during a life-and-death situation. Michelangelo and Raphael climb a huge Victoria's Secret billboard; to avoid being seen, they attach themselves to the billboard right over the model's bra and kind of hang on, one turtle on each breast -- they giggle at each other.
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Insults like "idiot," "jackass," "stupid," "shut up," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Featured brands include Skype, YouTube, Pizza Hut, Orange Crush, Victoria's Secret, Dunkin' Donuts, Toshiba, and Ford. There's also a huge Nickelodeon merchandise campaign to tie in the Turtles with toys, video games, home decor, apparel, and books. Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak is also featured early in the film.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults are briefly shown drinking at a dinner gala.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an edgier live-action take on the legendary talking reptiles who emerge from the New York sewers to defend the city. The sometimes-explosive violence includes a lot of martial arts fighting, a flashback to a devastating fire, Turtles being tortured, and near deaths; in other words, it's too intense for younger fans of Turtle toys/merchandise, though it should be OK for tweens and up. And while this Michael Bay/Nickelodeon co-production doesn't have a lot of strong language (just insults like "stupid" and "idiot"), there are several references to April O'Neil's (Megan Fox) sexy body (she's called a "hot chick," one Turtle jokes that his "shell is tightening" around her, and her butt is stared at leeringly). The Turtles care about teamwork and brotherhood, and they work hard to defend the city against Shredder. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Tweens and teens are likely to enjoy this fun live-action reboot. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles combines producer Bay's signature explosive thrills and obsession with Fox's body with the impressively realistic Turtles, thanks to Industrial Light & Magic's performance-capture technology (similar to WETA's technology for Rise of the Planet of the Apes). Younger viewers are unlikely to quibble or care about the various ridiculous plot points or unintentionally funny one-liners -- or the many ways that April is reduced from an all-around awesome character to the object of lust for both the Turtles (specifically Mikey) and her trusted cameraman Vern (Will Arnett).
But adults may wonder what the point is of rebooting the franchise for a younger generation when the animated series is still popular on television and the movie focuses so much more on Fox's hot bod than the funny and sweet relationship between the four Renaissance-named brothers. Sure, there's just enough about the Turtles to get that Mikey's the one who's got a crush on April and Donnie's the smart one who can hack or fix or engineer any piece of electronics, but there's no real soul in this installment. Still, the action scenes are cool enough, and the Turtles' movements are fun to watch. And maybe that's enough. But a "totally tubular" reboot this isn't, and it's sad how much of it relies on April being a babe.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.