While researching this review, I came upon Roger Ebert's 2 1/2-star (out of 4) review of 1990's live-action Ninja Turtles. The entire piece is as applicable now as it was then:

"I did not walk into the screening with a light step and a heart that sang. For that matter, I did not walk out afterward with my spirits renewed. But this movie is nowhere near as bad as it might have been, and probably is the best possible Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie.

It supplies, in other words, more or less what Turtle fans will expect: the Ninja Turtles, subways, pizzas, villains, a rudimentary plot and an explanation of how the Turtles met their Zen-master, a wise old rodent."

(That review, by the way, had a TMNT-themed Pizza Hut banner ad next to it — as did his 1-star review of TMNT II: The Secret of the Ooze, which is a very entertaining read.)

By chance or by choice, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has always been a reflection of its time. The 1990s live-action trilogy was an amalgam of Jim Henson puppetry, bad perms, and Vanilla Ice. The most recent Nickelodeon cartoon series is a blend of colorful 3D animation with stylish 2D interstitials and characters with large, anime-inspired expressions.

The new Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is also a time capsule, in a sense — a film you could watch decades from now and know, definitively, what action films were like in 2014: flashy, frenetic, and fraught with explosions. The movie is far from perfect (“generic” is perhaps the most appropriate term), but it’s exactly what a Turtles film has always been: silly fun.