90s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Trilogy will never be replicated

The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action movie trilogy is definitely something special. Each movie is very different but has a unique style and because of the different circumstances they came out the way that they did because of the specific circumstances. Sadly none of the movies that have come after been able to make it work, and it’s because of the time these movies were made. That is somethign which is lost in newer TMNT movies. The movies are in a way overrated but also do deserve the praise that they get.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1991
This movie is something special, and perhaps becuase of the circumstances we might never get it again. The only reason we got this movie is the TMNT weren’t famous just yet, it was still considered this indie comic despite their popularity rising. Because of this it’s a fantastic indie movie with an actual budget and not many restrictions. Had it released perhaps a few years later and it would’ve not had the budget, and had it released after it’d be closer to TMNT 2 or 3. This movie is praised because it’s the perfect blend of the 1987 cartoon and the Mirage comics. It can be dark gritty and yet comedic. I love the tone of the movie. How does Raph casually watches a movie with only a trench coat? The movie does have some suspension of disbelief.

The movie is also not super serious, it’s a bit cheesy so it’s not as perfect as some people say it is. The film has style and feels original. It also both feels dated and like something we would never be able to see again. The soundtrack is great and in general full of great visuals mixed with some great fighitng scenes and props. The movie flows so well and while perhaps a bit overrated, it’s just a great movie. It is the best TMNT movie despite not being perfect but I don’t see a perfect movie happening. So yeah it can be surpassed but doesn’t seem like it ever will.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze
By the time this first movie came out despite only being a year later Turtlemania was in full swing so that meant the sequel would come out fast and also be very different. Now, at the start it doesn’t feel too different in tone, but I guess quickly we see that they no longer hide their appearances and just fight while being seen. The first fight is sure far more slapstick but I think it’s the turtles just having fun because they’re not fighting foot ninja and just some common thugs. The Shredder returning I see no issue with since I didn’t like his original demise. The movie doesn’t feel that different from he first one I mean yes you can tell it’s aiming at a younger audience and feels a lot more in line with the 1987 cartoon but it’s an evolution. The TGRI fight with the foot you can argue is way more slapstick but it’s short enough that it works. One thing that is weird is that there’s no mention of Casey Jones, not even a throwaway line especially since they kiss at the end of the last movie. Keno is pretty cool sadly we never see him again in other tmnt media. Channel 3 has a new crew and is bigger, barely feels like the same place.

I’d argue the tone isn’t too bad until Tokka and Rahzar start calling Shredder mama, but even then I guess it makes sense since they’re infants. I like the wrestlemania reference and of couse Tokka and Rahzar were awesome movie worthy villains. It’s a shame the first fight with them is a bit slapstick. You know it’s the 90s because of the Bart Simpson glass. Dr. Jordan Perry was supposed to be an Utrom and even if they didn’t reveal it, you can totally tell he is meant to be one, I mean he even mysteriously disappears. Tokka and Rahzar do get some time to shine which is good. Vanilla Ice’s segment really has no way to be defended , but it’s so…. so awesome… Go Ninja Go! In kayfable Vanilla Ice just came up with a hit song on the spot. Yeah the movie is different from the first, yet things alligned well and it’s a classic. The Super Shredder fight is sadly disappointing.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3- Turtles in Time
The Turtles in Time subtitle was never in the original movie, but apparently people called it that and now we do get that subtitle in some official synopsis. Odd. The tone is totally different from the start of the movie and the weird Japan intro and dancing turtles. The costumes do look cheaper but they aren’t entirely terrible. April feels more like April here than in previous movies, especially in the last movie. I mean the turtles still act like the turtles but they are also sillier. The movie has plenty of things going for it like the idea of the turtles being Kappas, ancient Japan, time travel with the time cepter? All of this is great turtles stuff. Having Casey Jones back is also awesome and he acts like he should, they treat him like he’s been gone for a while which makes sense since he wasn’t in TMNT 2. Now not everything is great, it has good ideas but also bad ones and the good ones not executed correctly. The Brittish in Japan story? I mean it’d be ok if they had a compellig story to go along with it. I feel even if it’d be his third time it really should’ve had shredder again here, either a past version or some shennanigans, the movie needed a villain since it lacks a compelling one.

I like Casey in the present even if we don’t get enough of him ut past casey? why is he even there, they should’ve just had real Casey travel back as well or more Casey in the Present. I do think that the costumes are downgraded but also more cartoony, not too horribly bad at least. I did get a genuine laugh in one of Donnies jokes. The turtles in ancient Japan is such a cool idea that is wasted. It had potential But it’s just not what a third movie should’ve been. The silly acting of the turtles is not that different from the one their sillyness in the previous movies, it’s just done much more often. The costumes also look worse because it isn’t in a dark setting where they can hide the flaws. I Liek Raphs arc and also Mikeys. Mitsu is ineresting but she also could’ve had a more interesting role. Godzilla reference in godzilla land is nice. In the end, there’s no real conflict, no real satisfying ending, no nothing. This is also the first reference to Donatello being a techie wanting microchips in the movies. It definitely feels more of a gaiden DTV sequel.. Odd movie. Are Casey x April a couple anymore? The movie had potential, it has nice fights but the reputation it has is not unearned. They could’ve done so much more.

The fouth movie with a fifth turtle Kirby was a great idea and could’ve been a back to form. The 90s TMNT movies have plenty of flaws but overall they’re a fun ride, especially the first two and the first two movies also offer a fun contrast between each other. I’d love a sequel to the 1990 movie and I can see that happening, perhaps one day. The Bay TMNT movies have nothing on these and if you want to continue more of this universe, The Next Mutation tv show is a sequel to the live action trilogy.

Luigi Kawasaki

social hermit

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