I can’t rip into Ninja Turtles: Veterans of the Night. I can’t do it. Director Díaz-Rivera’s reverence for the source material isn’t infectious. It doesn’t have me remembering the old comic or the cartoon or the movies or anything with rose-colored glasses. But he does sell it. He sells the idea of this grand, sweeping epic TMNT movie.
Like a martial arts epic.
Díaz-Rivera isn’t good with actors. But he can edit and he can do the CG for the rest of the short. He’s good on both those tasks and they’re what’s important about Ninja Turtles. Díaz-Rivera’s sincerity, enthusiasm and special effects skills make up for a couple significant bumps.
The final sequence is a three dimensional fight scene on pause, the camera flying around, inspecting everyone. It’s great. The Turtles look great (more like monsters). Díaz-Rivera sets the paused sequence to the sounds of the “fight,” only there’s no Turtle sounds. It creates a disconnect. Díaz-Rivera doesn’t let them be characters, not even breathe.
In the end, I recommend Veterans because it’s impressive as heck. It’s not a good narrative, but it really isn’t an attempt at one.
Really awesome end titles too. Absurd, but awesome. Joel Schumacher Gotham meets TMNT set to Yurun Wu’s great music.
Edited, written and directed by Miguel Díaz-Rivera; director of photography, Omayra Espino Vázquez; music by Yurun Wu; produced by Laura Von Ins and Díaz-Rivera.
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