A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that TMNT is the 2007 computer-animated comeback of the Ninja Turtles franchise. It can be dark and, at times, slightly frightening. Obviously, it includes several scenes of ninja fighting, including one upsetting brawl between two of the brothers. Raphael is hot-tempered and defiant; he's a rogue crime-fighter by night. There are gargoyle-like monsters, and four warriors resurrected from stone proclaim their intention to rule the world. Some of the cartoonish violence may be too intense for the youngest elementary schoolers, but most kids -- especially boys -- will be psyched to see the sword action.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Turtle brothers Leonardo (voiced by James Arnold Taylor), Michelangelo (Mikey Kelley), Donatello (Mitchell Whitfield), and Raphael (Nolan North) regroup after a prolonged absence from fighting to keep four ancient warriors from world domination. But before the fraternal reptiles can get their swords a-swinging, they have to deal with their own brotherly problems. Upon returning from a mission in South America, eldest sibling Leonardo discovers that Michelangelo is now a computer technician, Donatello is a children's party entertainer (Donatello), and Raphael is a masked vigilante. Tensions mount between Leonardo and Raphael until they face off on a Manhattan rooftop, leading to Leo's capture by the evil generals. The mercenary Foot Clan, led by Karai (Ziyi Zhang), joins forces with the turtles, as do trusted pal April (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and her boyfriend Casey (Chris Evans).
Is it any good?
Thirtysomething parents who remember the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze of the late '80s and early '90s won't be blown away by this completely computer-animated franchise reboot. But kids who aren't familiar with the original campy-cool, pizza-loving, sewer-dwelling, crime-fighting heroes will be hooked by these sword-wielding reptilian brothers, even though they're duller than the original foursome. Assuming they can deal with TMNT's clunky plot, throwback language, and moody setting -- which looks more like Gotham City than New York -- kids will dig the action sequences.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the longevity of the Ninja Turtles franchise. What makes these four sword-wielding brothers so popular? Do kids genuinely love them, or is it just good marketing?
If kids watch the animated TV show or have seen the original 1990 movie, which version do they like best? Why?
Families can also discuss sibling relationships and cooperation. Master Splinter forbids the turtles from fighting until they can fight as "one." What does he mean? Oh, and most kids will need an explanation of the brothers' Renaissance names, not to mention '80s slang like "cowabunga."
- In theaters: March 22, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: August 7, 2007
- Cast: Chris Evans, Patrick Stewart, Sarah Michelle Gellar
- Director: Kevin Munroe
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Superheroes, Adventures, Book Characters
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: animated action violence, some scary cartoon images and mild language.
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