Welcome back to my Flashback Movie Challenge. The goal here is to re-watch movies from your youth that you loved back then and see if you and your “young self from yesteryear” can agree on your opinion of this movie or whether years of new perspectives have changed those feelings.
If you would like to participate in this, feel free to shoot me an email (email@example.com) with your review so I can post it. It’s very important that you show the similarities or differences between the you of now and the you of then.
Good luck to all!!!! I look forward to seeing how we all fare.
To continue my challenge, I present you with Cara from Silver Screen Serenade‘s review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990). If you don’t already follow Cara’s blog, I strongly recommend that you do.
She is an amazing blogger who has some incredible ideas for blogging series’ and her posts are always thoughtful and to the point. What’s more important tho is she is a true movie aficionado and you can always tell she enjoys discussing her thoughts with everyone.
Now, on to the review…..
Number of Times Seen – Goodness, who knows? Plenty of times when I was a kid, and occasionally I’ve caught parts of it on TV. This is the first time I’ve seen it all the way through again in years!
Brief Synopsis – “A quartet of mutated humanoid turtles clash with an uprising criminal gang of ninjas.” (from IMDb) *embed link http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100758/?ref_=tt_rec_tt in “IMDb”*
My Take On It – This silly, joyful, completely weird film somehow became a family favorite when I was little. I don’t exactly know how—I was a very tiny thing when it came out in theaters, my sister wasn’t much older, and I can’t imagine either of my parents read the comics or watched the cartoon upon which this film was based. Nonetheless, I distinctly recall my dad cracking himself up doing an impression of Michelangelo’s impression: “Ooooh, you dirty rat. You killed my brudda.” I had fond memories, so I thought I’d sit down and give it another shot.
Because I have such a soft spot for this film, I find it kind of hard to review objectively. It’s a really strange premise that is executed in a fairly corny fashion, so in that regard, it’s a bit shaky. However, it also has this bizarre charm to it that you can’t help admiring—a charm that exists entirely due to the fun-loving, larger-than-life Turtles themselves.
The Turtles truly are wonderful. Their costumes, their voices, their personalities, their rapport—everything about them is so much fun. Watching this film nearly 25 years after its release, I was especially struck by the costumes. Straight from Jim Henson’s workshop, the costumes are fantastically constructed, granting the turtles all the personality that such crazy characters require. And they all have such distinct qualities. Raphael is the brooding tough guy, Michelangelo is the lighthearted goofball, Donatello is the brains of the operation, and Leonardo is the more thoughtful, older brother type. The movie does a pretty good job of establishing these characters, and it’s easy to love them all.
However, even characters as awesome as the Turtles can’t carry the whole film. Sadly, TMNT has its flaws. It’s very cheesy. Most of the time, I could get over that, but sometimes the film just tries way too hard to be funny. And some of the characters are a bit disappointing. The Turtles and their wise sensei/adoptive father, Splinter, are great, but April and Casey…eh. Maybe it’s because their character growth is stunted as soon as they’re thrust into a rapid-fire, I-hate-you-now-I-love-you love story. The actors (Judith Hoag and Elias Koteas) do a decent job with what they’re given, but the characters both kind of annoy me sometimes. Plus, they adjust to the existence of the Turtles unbelievably fast. Character-wise, my only other major qualm is Shredder, who should be such a cool, unique villain, but he falls pretty flat.
Here are random other things that bothered me throughout this viewing: 1) Raphael would never blend in walking the streets—not even in a hat and a trenchcoat. 2) How the heck did Casey end up as a wannabe superhero? 3) The meditation scene is probably the corniest part of the movie. 4) *SPOILER* Shredder is defeated way too easily. Like, WAY too easily.
Bottom Line – This film is completely bizarre, fairly cheesy, and filled with plot holes and under-developed characters. But it also oozes charm with the wacky, lovable Turtles and an upbeat ‘90s style that is hard to find in films nowadays. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot of fun. And it’ll probably end up being a million times better than this year’s remake starring Megan Fox as April O’Neil…ick.
Rating – BAFTA Worthy
Thanks again to the wonderful Cara for joining in on the Flashback Challenge!
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