RTTP - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

Jan 27, 2019
1,573
Watching this again tonight and all I can safely say even nearly 30 years after it’s original release, this is still by far the best Turtles film ever made, no other big screen adaptation comes remotely close.

The Jim Henson studios made turtle suits are incredible, while some overall slight changes were made to Shredder’s origins, the story is overall faithful to the original, I particularly like this depiction of Shredder as a Fagin like figure taking in disillusioned kids and training them as members of the foot. Also unlike the cartoon where Shredder is portrayed as somewhat incompetent and comical , this version of Shredder is not to be taken lightly at all, in the final battle he curb stomps all four turtles singlehandedly and was ready to kill Leonardo before Splinter intervened.

I refuse to watch the Michael Bay produced abominations as early drafts of the script of the first film had them whitewash Shredder into a white guy named Schraeder, although thankfully this idea did get dropped.

Unfortunately as stellar as the first film is things went downhill hard after this. Parents were shocked by the first film being dark and violent so much, that the studio responded by going completely in the opposite direction for the following films. In the second film, the Turtles barely ever use their weapons, Shredder has gone from a fearsome fighter able to take on the turtles to a joke character who loses easily every time. Tokka and Rezar as stand ins for Rocksteady and Bebop are little more than slapstick characters, they lumber about the place in such a way that means any fight scenes featuring them are severely limited.

Also the excellent vigilante Casey Jones is now replaced by a perky teenager sidekick Keno whose arc is far less dark than Danny in the first film, this time he willingly joins the Foot to infiltrate them with some help on the side from the Turtles. Plus who can forget the infamously cringy night club scene featuring Vanilla Ice which just screams early 90’s. By comparison the first film is far superior overall.

As for the third film, I have seen it precisely once, mercifully I can hardly remember it and I have no wish to ever see it again. From what I do remember it was a very low quality effort.
 
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selfReg

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,897
DAMNNNNNNNNN!

but yeah the first one was the only one I watched as a kid. I remember picking up the trilogy on DVD years later and being mostly unimpressed with the other two. The original is still amazing. All the Raph stuff hits the feels. Especially when he finds out they took Splinter.

 
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OrIok

Member
Oct 12, 2019
510
Great film today, amazing film for its time. Easily in my top 3 comic movies.
 
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OP
Lightning Count
Jan 27, 2019
1,573
Cut in the UK forever, I had an import VHS to see it uncut lol
Yeah Michaelangelo’s Nunchaku was heavily censored, same as how the cartoon was renamed Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles here, UK censors were really tough on all ninja related weaponry in the 80’s/early 90’s.

All restored now though thankfully.
 

Hero_of_the_Day

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
4,863
I legit think it has a better story and characters than the vast majority of modern comic book movies. It sucks that sequels were such a drop in quality as they quickly removed any parts of it that weren't aimed at selling toys to kids.
 

Matthew77

Avenger
Oct 29, 2017
3,423
Massachusetts
That’s because it was based on the original comics not the cartoon, and even though they toned it down it was darker material to begin with. But lots of that movie faithfully recreates bits from the comic, including the fight at the store then recovery at the farmhouse is almost panel perfect.
 

Violence Jack

Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,498
One of my favorite theater experiences. My dad took me to see it opening weekend, and the line to get in was wrapped around the theater. When we got in, kids were cheering and the adults were upset because it was a lot more violent and "crude" than they expected.
 

Laserdisk

User Requested Ban
Banned
May 11, 2018
8,144
UK
Yeah Michaelangelo’s Nunchaku was heavily censored, same as how the cartoon was renamed Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles here, UK censors were really tough on all ninja related weaponry in the 80’s/early 90’s.

All restored now though thankfully.
And Splinter killing Shredder, and a ton more

 

Bonefish

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,418
This movie basically seared into my brain what New York looked like to me as a kid. Iconic.

Also, the musical score is incredible, and the songs really capture that 1990 moment in time better than almost anthing.

 

Retro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,933
Literally watched all but the last half-hour of this last night (It's on Netflix in the US, by the way) and it still holds up super well.
 

Hero_of_the_Day

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
4,863
I haven't see this since I was a kid. I think I should rewatch it. I loved it as a kid.
I would legit be surprised if you didn't enjoy it more as an adult. The themes went right over my head as a kid, of course. But, it is interesting to see it as an adult and get the idea that it is about two fathers and their children. One is an abusive piece of shit father who tells his children the world is this terrible place that only he can shelter them from. The other is the loving, albeit concerned, father who is trying to prepare his children to stand on their own, knowing that some day he will be gone.

I dig it.
 

Shadybiz

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,766
Agreed, 'tis the best one. I think my parents tried to take me and my sister to see it in the theaters on 3 separate weekends until we could get in to a non-sold out show.

Plus who can forget the infamously cringy night club scene featuring Vanilla Ice which just screams early 90’s.
How dare you sully the memory of one of the greatest scenes in cinema history. Good DAY, sir!!
 

selfReg

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,897
I would legit be surprised if you didn't enjoy it more as an adult. The themes went right over my head as a kid, of course. But, it is interesting to see it as an adult and get the idea that it is about two fathers and their children. One is an abusive piece of shit father who tells his children the world is this terrible place that only he can shelter them from. The other is the loving, albeit concerned, father who is trying to prepare his children to stand on their own, knowing that some day he will be gone.

I dig it.
 
OP
OP
Lightning Count
Jan 27, 2019
1,573
I would legit be surprised if you didn't enjoy it more as an adult. The themes went right over my head as a kid, of course. But, it is interesting to see it as an adult and get the idea that it is about two fathers and their children. One is an abusive piece of shit father who tells his children the world is this terrible place that only he can shelter them from. The other is the loving, albeit concerned, father who is trying to prepare his children to stand on their own, knowing that some day he will be gone.

I dig it.
All of this, the scene where Tatsu beats the shit out of the foot clan members after losing to the Turtles comes across like a drunken abusive father coming home and taking his anger out on his family.
 

WrenchNinja

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,763
Canada
I would legit be surprised if you didn't enjoy it more as an adult. The themes went right over my head as a kid, of course. But, it is interesting to see it as an adult and get the idea that it is about two fathers and their children. One is an abusive piece of shit father who tells his children the world is this terrible place that only he can shelter them from. The other is the loving, albeit concerned, father who is trying to prepare his children to stand on their own, knowing that some day he will be gone.

I dig it.
Yup. This movie has so much more depth to it than people give it credit.
 

Hero_of_the_Day

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
4,863
Yup. This movie has so much more depth to it than people give it credit.
And it's right at 90 minutes long. So, it's impressive how they made such a nice and tight movie that still managed to make you care about the characters and throw a little message at you.

Part Two is worthless. But, at least it was entertaining to my kid self. I am fairly certain Part Three is the first movie I saw that I left thinking "that wasn't very good." I was 8 when it came out. Got all excited about the toys. Remember my dad taking my brother and I see to see it. And, what a piece of fucking worthless, boring, trash. Fuck, and I just remembered they even brought back Casey Jones. Just to have him do jack fucking shit. Fuck!

The 2012 series re-enacted the scene of the Shredder being crushed in a garbage truck.
Some hardcore shit.
 

Kevers

The Fallen
Oct 29, 2017
8,386
Syracuse, NY
Yeah, but have you ever seen a turtle get down?

I absolutely adore the first movie and still watch it fairly regularly, I remember begging my mom to take me to the movies to see it and when I finally did I lost my shit. Turtle Power is a banging track to end the film as well.

I also had TMNT 3's soundtrack on cassette and would fucking die for Tarzan Boy when I was a kid.
 
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dlauv

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,594
Turtles 2 is terrible and as a kid I even preferred 3 to it. 1 is still rough around the edges but they really captured that comic atmosphere.
 

ExInferus

Member
Nov 14, 2017
419
was it 2 or the original that had that big fight at the beginning with the pizza delivery guy?
 
Apr 24, 2018
1,425
I somehow got an audiotape soundtrack for this movie as a gift as a kid. I used to love this movie and even as a kid, and even back then it was clearly the best of the trilogy. I still liked Secret of the Ooze as a young kid but knew the third movie was terrible when I saw it in theaters.

Big yikes at the story about trying to rename Shredder. That's just...awful.
 
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Lightning Count
Jan 27, 2019
1,573
I somehow got an audiotape soundtrack for this movie as a gift as a kid. I used to love this movie and even as a kid, and even back then it was clearly the best of the trilogy. I still liked Secret of the Ooze as a young kid but knew the third movie was terrible when I saw it in theaters.

Big yikes at the story about trying to rename Shredder. That's just...awful.
It’s not just the name his whole character was going to be whitewashed, so rather than being Japanese, he would have been a white American military Colonel.
 

Ferrs

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
9,855
I would legit be surprised if you didn't enjoy it more as an adult. The themes went right over my head as a kid, of course. But, it is interesting to see it as an adult and get the idea that it is about two fathers and their children. One is an abusive piece of shit father who tells his children the world is this terrible place that only he can shelter them from. The other is the loving, albeit concerned, father who is trying to prepare his children to stand on their own, knowing that some day he will be gone.

I dig it.
Yep, but fathers probably didn't even care other than brig their kids to the cinema. My father usually fell asleep when he took me to the cinema lol
 

New002

Member
Oct 25, 2017
532
Amazing movie. It's a classic. I basically have the dialogue memorized. I still watch it at least once a year, and usually it's my original VHS tape.
 

SlipperyMoose

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,003
One of my favorite movies as a kid and I’ll still watch it if I catch it on today. I still enjoyed the second despite it being a little sillier. The third one...well it doesn’t really exist.
 

Kevers

The Fallen
Oct 29, 2017
8,386
Syracuse, NY
I also forgot that Mark Caso who was a stunt double in the first TMNT and then portrayed Leonardo in the sequel went to the same highschool as my mom, she was friends with his brother Chris and I got an autographed picture when I was a kid and lost my goddamn mind.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,283
I participated in a secret Santa exchange at my work for a few years before I realized how stupid it was. However, one year, someone picked me that just *knew* me, and was able to find the trilogy on blue ray for the budget allowed. It was the greatest Secret Santa present I’ve ever gotten, and it will never be topped. To have TMNT 1 on blue ray is just a treat beyond words.
 

Kevers

The Fallen
Oct 29, 2017
8,386
Syracuse, NY
I participated in a secret Santa exchange at my work for a few years before I realized how stupid it was. However, one year, someone picked me that just *knew* me, and was able to find the trilogy on blue ray for the budget allowed. It was the greatest Secret Santa present I’ve ever gotten, and it will never be topped. To have TMNT 1 on blue ray is just a treat beyond words.
It's not super rare, I've seen it at my local Dollar General for $4.
 

Gabbo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,062
Still love the first movie, and genuinely enjoy TMNT, but 2, 3 and the Bay films... less so (Out of the Shadows > the first Bay film).
My old roommates and I took a snowy friday night, got pizza, and tried to marathon the first three films, but we couldn't get through 3. the momentum was just dead by that time. Still I loved doing it and try to watch the movie every now and again just to get that new jack turtle feeling going.
 
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Lightning Count
Jan 27, 2019
1,573
Just had thought when this gets it’s 30th anniversary showing this year I am going to go see it in a cinema.
 

DeltaRed

Member
Apr 27, 2018
3,317
Fantastic film.

Years after release I saw the uncut version and being from the UK I was blown away by all the stuff we'd had cut. For years I thought they did Mikey dirty and just didn't bother to give him a weapon.
 
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skeezx

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,926
i watched it for shits recently, was astounded by how good it actually was.

but in a way it pulls off the gritty/realistic portrayal so well it kind of works against itself. like wouldn't the foot clan resort to fire arms at some point. but, i know... a movie about anthropomorphic turtles you can only have your brain 'on' so much