I Watched: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – The awesome classic live action Turtles movie from 1990 has everyone’s favourite brothers battle the Foot Ninja, who’re led by the evil Shredder. The youth of the city are being indoctrinated into working as thugs and thieves as the crime rate rises, this leads to Raphael the Turtle with his desire for action meeting Casey Jones (who is done perfectly in this film, personality and appearance just fit so well with expectations) and later April O’Neil. There’s an origin story for both the Turtles and the Shredder. It’s all about meeting and beating the Foot, done so well with plenty of silliness; the Turtles have fun in combat and nothing is taken too seriously, and they’re mad for pizza. We do get to see some of the Leo/Raph rivalry but it’s a bit minimal. As for Shredder’s actual plan, it’s never really made clear unless he was just trying to cause a crime wave. Given that it was early nineties the Turtles look good, maybe even by today’s standard. It gets the tone and personality right to a point where I can see how this set the bar for the quality of a Turtle movie. So good. Plus they don’t make the mistake of overusing Splinter or Shredder. Cowabunga!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 The Secret Of The Ooze – Shredder is back and he wants revenge. He gets hold of some of the ooze that mutated the Turtles, he uses it to make Tokka and Rahzar who’re massive, vicious animals with the minds of infants. The plan is simple and the movie has focus. Most of the important elements are there for a Turtle film: humour, fighting, April, Splinter and pizza, but there’s no Casey, not even writing to explain his absence which is disappointing. We do get new characters: Keno, a martial arts pizza delivery guy and Professor Jordon Perry who is well done and probably the best side character in this one. It’s another seriously enjoyable movie focused on the fun of the Turtles and it uses the ridiculous but catchy theme song as part of the climax of the film. I really enjoy watching it. Go ninja, go ninja, go!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 Turtles In Time – The third movie in this series takes us back to 1609 Japan where the English are starting trade (this explains why the old Japanese speak English which is a nice addition). Casey is back in present day, he looks after a few honour guard who swap times with the Turtles. There’s rebellion in old Japan, the alliance between the Japanese and English is full of mistrust until the Turtles drop in to become heroic demons who do their best to make everything better as they try to get back to their own time. It starts and ends well with dancing, humorous characters but most of the film is quite serious, getting too bogged down with having to explain the plot to have much fun. Raphael even has an epiphany about himself brought on by a child. It’s a decent film but the weakest of the three.

Extra

  • These movies thrive on the fact that the Turtles are fun. It’s a shame more films don’t take that attitude. They’re not top quality but I couldn’t stop smiling during the first two.
  • Elias Koteas is good as Casey and plays two characters in the third film, doing well in the other part too. Good actor.
  • The biggest problem I had with these movies is that Raphael‘s bandanna looks more orange than red so I sometimes thought he was Michelangelo until he got aggressive.
  • Donatello uses a normal staff, no added tech or modification.

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