← Back to Reviews
\

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Review #50: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990).

For my 50th, I decided to do a review of a childhood favourite of mine and yes, I do still enjoy watching it even though I'm now in my 30s

Four turtles, around the ages of 15 and 16, live in a New York sewer with a rat. What makes them special is that all five creatures have been mutated into human sized freaks of nature. The rat, once a pet of a Japanese Ninja Master called Hamato Yoshi, has taken it upon himself to train the turtles with the knowledge he acquired from his time with Yoshi.
After a chance meeting with a news reporter, they make themselves enemies of a secret band of Ninja Thieves calling themselves The Foot Clan, who have been operating in New York.

The story is incredibly well put together. It contains elements of the original graphic novel mixed with elements of the Saturday morning cartoon and blends them in a perfect mix of violence, stylish martial arts, fantasy, comedy, tragedy and especially, storytelling.
Itís fun, fast and exciting to watch and has perfect elements of mystery, haunting backstory and discovery added to it too, that are revealed over the course of the movie.

Some of the scenes are quite haunting too, the music adds to the feelings of upset and anguish when tragedy strikes which is something not many films of this type are able to put together.

It can be very brooding and dark at times too with some of the subject matters involved.

The effects, particularly the creatures are a marvel. By todayís standard they show a few mistakes but they hold up pretty well. The actors in the suits, mainly martial artists and stuntmen, are absolutely brilliant to watch during fight scenes.
Another plus is that all of the effects are practical and animatronic, thereís no CGI.

The acting is also bang on.
Judith Hoag as news reporter April OíNeal is fantastically out of her depth as the damsel in distress and proves her worth toward the end.
Elias Koteas as Casey Jones is another plus point. His character starts out as an enemy but eventually befriends the Turtles and becomes a key figure in the fight against The Foot.
Thereís also a small but memorable turn from Sam Rockwell as a head thug of The Foot.

The main area of attention needs to go to the stunt-actors in the suits and their voiceovers.
Michelan Sisti as Michelangelo, voiced by Robbie Rist.
Josh Pais as Raphael voiced by Pais himself.
David Forman as Leonardo voiced by Brian Tochi.
Leif Tilden as Donatello voiced by Corey Feldman.
James Saito as Shredder, voiced by David McCharen.

The above parties involved are absolutely bang on the money. Theyíre very real and draw the audience into actually caring about the characters.

Saitoís portrayal of Shredder in particular made into my top 40 villains.

One thing that lets the movie down is that it hasnít really stood the test of time fantastically with the effects as I said a moment ago. Still though, they work and donít let the film down too much.

All in all, itís a fantastically put together comic book movie and is brilliantly choreographed. An extremely rare piece of filmmaking considering the material itís based on.
My rating 90%