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Soundtrack review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the shadows (Steve Jablonsky – 2016)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the shadows (Steve Jablonsky – 2016)


Brian Tyler’s theme for 2014’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is my favorite film music theme from the last ten years, together with Michael Giacchino’s new “Star Trek” theme. The pure adrenaline and spectacle of this theme is unmatched and two years later I’m still listening to it quite often. I was surprised when I heard the Tyler wasn’t going to return for the sequel because I couldn’t wait for further exploration of the theme. And yet… when I found out who took over my worries was gone because if there’s another guy who can deliver a cracking score for a blockbuster action franchise like this, it’s Steve Jablonsky. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” is the name of the 2016 sequel and the plot is not really relevant.

The opening cue “Squirrel formation” raises my pulse straight away with an anthem like power that reminds me more of “Transformers”, of course. Which is awesome because Steve’s “Transformers” scores are among my favorites ever and they are the most inspirational scores for me. The music rises inside me and fills me up with motivation and joy and I am ready to raise my banner in support of whatever cause Steve Jablonsky asks me to. If this is the new TMNT theme, I love it.

Who surely gets a new theme is the evil Shredder; the cue is dark, quiet and determined  as he plans and louder when the music builds up to his actual appearance. This is a return to the TMNT sound of Brian Tyler and I like how the composer keeps the identity of the franchise intact before bringing his own craft to the score and that is before unleashing the epic and spectacular “Tartaruga Brother” theme on us. Yeah, I am not missing Brian Tyler at all.

The thing with a Steve Jablonsky score for me is that whenever a cue starts that looks like a lot of action I brace myself as if I was getting ready to begin a ride on the world’s most thrilling rollercoaster. I get the same sensation of tingling in my stomach, excitement and even a little fear. Adrenaline goes high and I can fully enjoy something like “Shredder escape”. I am racking up cues to use for my running playlists (which are almost exclusively made from Brian Tyler and Steve Jablonsky themes anyway).

Film music fans know what to expect from a Steve Jablonsky big action movie, besides excellence: themes that sound like anthems (“Turtle power”), quieter cues that let out electric sparks (“Krang”) and fun moments galore. There’s even a cue that comes from another time, the magical 80s: “Become human” has a synth section that reminds me of the Sci-fi movies of that decade. If you are familiar with the composer and enjoy his musical antics the way I do you will love “Out of the shadows”. Once again this composer brings me pure joy with one of his scores.

“Teenage mutant ninja turtles: Out of the shadows” is a spectacular Steve Jablonsky score that’s at least on par with Brian Tyler’s. From the awesome new theme until the fun retro end with “Half shell”, the album delivers. The Turtles franchise is benefiting so far from the talents of two of the best composers around and I hope there will be a third movie just so we could get another score. Grab this one for sure.

Cue rating: 95 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 48 / 69

Album excellence: 70%


Squirrel Formation


Tartaruga Brothers

Shredder Escape

Turtle Power

Foot Clan Chase

Casey Jones

Become Human


Launch the Beam

Technodrome Assembles

Just One Sip

Toy Chest

Fight on the Technodrome

Close the Portal

Half Shell


Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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  1. Rich 18th September 2016

    The opening credits sound like a reworked version of the Transformers main theme.

    1. Mihnea Manduteanu 18th September 2016

      Yes there are similarities and the Transformers temp tracks have been used very widely in the past years…

  2. Phil 21st September 2016

    I’m shocked at this review. The opening sounds like temp music. It’s not fun at all. It’s got a serious tone and it makes no sense for the opening of a movie like this.. a movie about ninja turtles that ride skateboards and eat pizza. It’s an awful contrast. Took me right out of the movie.

    It’s the same thing wrong with most blockbuster movies today. Marvel is the worst offender. None of it is memorable. Ask anyone off the street if they can hum the theme to any of these movies, including ninja turtles… The answer is no.

    Don’t get me wrong it’s not the composer’s fault. They are pretty much required to produce temp-like music.

    Hollywood needs to return to the days when composers were allowed to invent.


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