IN A 1993 episode of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon program we all remember being so fond of, arch-nemesis Krang realizes, once and for all, that his underlings are too stupid to carry out his complex schemes of world domination.
So Krang—a squeaking, befanged, talking brain from an alternate dimension—simply clones himself. Soon there are six Krangs carrying out his bidding, and it's all going great until, for literally no goddamn reason at all, those clone Krangs grow enormous reptile bodies with shredded abs.
That's just how things were back in the day. To rewatch the TMNT cartoon at this late date is to bear witness to profligate liberties and perilous logical chasms (with dabs of late-20th-century racism sprinkled in). You begin to envision a life of leisure and ecstasy for the writing staff—concerned only with stuffing episodes with a requisite number of pratfalls and pizzas, and completely unburdened of any pressure to be good.
Give credit, then, to Josh Applebaum and André Nemec, the writing duo behind the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. They've followed solidly in the footsteps of their forebears.
The latest TMNT product—featuring the newly steroidal, CG turtle teens we last met in 2014's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—is as bewildering and pointless as anything the cartoon ever churned out. Where the 2014 film was forced to, at the very at least, abide the pacing of an origin story, Out of the Shadows is a pure cash-in. It's stuffed with names and faces fanboys and girls demand (Bebop! Rocksteady! Baxter Stockman!), enough fart and booger jokes for the kids, and some of the laziest plotting you'll see: something about three relics of anonymous origin, required to open up a hole to Dimension X.
And in Dimension X? Krang! One of the weirdest, most stupefyingly great villains of my childhood! A creepy, weird alien brain that should have unnerved and delighted us in his first-ever trip to the big screen!
He does none of those things, though. The Krang of Out of the Shadows is merely another generic, Brad-Garrett-voiced CGI villain, dispatched with little difficulty.
He'll be back in another film, you can be sure, and will still be terrible in his mediocrity.
It is the greatest betrayal of our time.