Turtle Power has not diminished for Generation Y loyalists who grew up watching the pizza-loving crime fighters.
Whether others will be engaged by the latest version of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" depends on their fondness for the original 1987-1996 animated series, and their tolerance for change.
This new fast-paced live-action picture is a somewhat heavy-handed revision of Peter Laird and Kevin Easton's playful comic. Producer Michael Bay's imprint is all over the bombastic action scenes, appealing to die-hard fans but much too dark for little ones.
TMNT's phenomenal success with Millenials led to three kid-friendly films in 1990, 1991 and 1993 and massive merchandise tie-ins. A revival in 2003 led to Nickelodeon's purchase, a 2007 animated feature, new TV series, and this reboot.
Plucky TV reporter April O'Neil (Megan Fox) is the main focus here. In a plot switcheroo, she is now the daughter of a good scientist killed in a lab accident where experiments altering teeny box turtles took place. How convenient.
You don't need a road map to see where this is headed. As a young lass, she saved their sensei Splinter, a wise old rat, too. The chemically altered reptiles, named after Renaissance artist icons Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Donatello, grew to be 6-feet tall in their sewer lair.
They are a fiercely loyal brotherhood, with humor derived from their immaturity. They clash with the dastardly Foot Clan, who are led by Samurai warrior Shredder, looking like a hulking metal Transformer.
They come across April's path one night as she is seeking a scoop to advance her career. The Heroes in a Half Shell must save Manhattan for the umpteenth time.
They have momentum, sharp weaponry, and an adrenaline rush, not to mention an arsenal of quips.
The one-dimensional Megan Fox is actually OK, and doesn't detract from the good vs. evil mission. But the history rewrite for the plot slant is odd.
The actors voicing the Turtles are best at the wisecracks and the obvious cameraderie; three chose not to be credited.
Johnny Knoxville ("Jackass") went on record as the blue-masked leader Leonardo while Tony Shalhoub ("Monk") voiced the sage Splinter, and they're fine.
The aggressive red-masked Raphael, tech genius Donatello, in purple mask with goggles and gear, and jokester Michelangelo in orange are not as clear.
Will Arnett is saddled with the goofball camera guy role as Vernon Fenwick, and William Fichter is slick as the oily industrialist.
Cowabunga, dudes! Waxing nostalgic is pleasurable because favorite childhood pop culture memories induce warm fuzzies. For those who experienced Turtlemania at its peak, that goes a long way.
It's like my generation's fondness for the cheesy "Batman" episodes starring Adam West and the manufactured boy band The Monkees. We don't care how ridiculous the shows were -- we just like them.
The required spectacle includes a couple cool 3-D scenes with snow and big-rig danger, and grittier fight scenes. There is even a hip-hop attitude in an attempt to be fresh.
What Doesn't Work
The Jim Henson Creature Workshop made the animatronic heads used in the 1990 movie, and while technology has advanced light years since then, there is just something weird about the new improved computer-generated models.
Their wide heads and mouths reminded me of the Kia ad hampsters, and the mottled green tint isn't attractive.
The so-so script by "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" writers Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec, along with Evan Daugherty, screenwriter of "Divergent," has occasional snap, but it mostly falls flat because it doesn't keep up ye olde cheeky spirit. Mikey's ogling over April's hotness is creepy.
It dutifully sets up the franchise for another sequel, and next time, Casey Jones, Bebop and Rocksteady are rumored to appear. Let's hope the tone is just right.
And maybe they could sample Vanilla Ice's "Ninja Rap" from 1991's "TMNT II: The Secret of the Ooze"?
2 stars out of 4
Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichter, Johnny Knoxville, Tony Shalhoub
Rated: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence