Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (DVD) (25th Anniv. O-Sleeve)
You can chalk it up to good timing and a heavy dose of video-game synergy, but this 1990 hit remains the box-office champ of independent films, with a total gross of $135 million. Of course the Turtles, who hatched as comic book characters, are also the stars of a phenomenally successful Nintendo video game, so it was a given that the movie would be a hit with its target audience of rabid young video addicts. This is what comic books fans call "the origin story," in which we learn how a foursome of small turtles were mutated by a green radioactive goo and turned into human-sized turtle crime fighters. Their large rodent mentor, Splinter, teaches them to master the martial arts. They're also gifted pop musicians, by the way (think of them as amphibious Spice Guys), so they can rock the house while they're cracking a crime wave with the help of their cute friend and television reporter April O'Neil (Judith Hoag). The script is terrible, of course, but countless millions of children don't seem to care, as long as the Turtles keep ordering pizza and dispensing their wisecracking brand of justice. --Jeff Shannon
- Interactive "Sewer Maze" game
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15 years have passed since a rat named Splinter (Kevin Clash) found four baby turtles in a puddle of ooze in the sewers. Because of the contact with the ooze, Splinter and the four turtles became mutants. Naming them after Renaissance artists, Leonardo (David Forman), Raphael (Josh Pais), Michaelangelo (Michelan Sisti), and Donatello (Leif Tilden), Splinter teaches them the ancient secret art of fighting. When the mysterious evil Shredder James Saito organizes the Foot Clan formed of young teenagers, causing the city to be in uproar because of vandalism. With the help of reporter April O'Neil (Judith Hoag) and former athlete Casey Jones (Elias Koteas), it's up to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to save the day!
The movie has an interesting story-line if not extremely cheesy and corny but hey, that's how the original cartoons were! In fact, I would have found the movie unlikable if it hadn't contained some of the cartoon aspects of the original series. Also a lot of interesting facts are revealed like how Splinter's past is related to Shredder and the beginnings of the turtles.
Comparing the movie to the series, I was a bit surprised to find that movie usually centers on the character of Raphael. His character is a bit different from the series, a bit more hot-tempered, impatient, and more of a loner. Leonardo is still the leader, Donatello doesn't get much chance to work with gadgets and computers, and Michaelangelo... well... he's still his usual likable self! April O'Neal is also working for Channel 3 news instead of Channel 6 News. The adding of Elias Koteas as Casey Jones was an interesting thread to insert for he was a fun and likable guy.
The martial arts and fighting were well choreographed and was enjoyable to watch. I especially liked the fight at April's place, the end fight with the Foot, and the last fight with Shredder. The movie is also sprinkled from beginning to end with funny parts, quotable lines, and humor. Jim Henson should also get credit for doing an incredible job with the turtles and Splinter.
To sum of the movie, whether you are or aren't a turtles fan, I highly recommend this movie! Lots of fun and great entertainment, it's terrific for the family. The movie is rated PG because of some language, the fighting, and since it has some dark moments. I also recommend the next two "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movies. The second one, "The Secret of the Ooze" is my personal favorite of the three.
If you can put aside a lot of dated production elements and in-your-face product placement, this is a great, odd little movie that really captures the spirit of one particular generation of kids. Glad I rewatched it after all these years.