There are movies, and then there are those movies that stay with you forever. Not only were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films an important part in escalating my fascination with films, but they have stayed with me all these years as a collection that I always cherish and think about with a smile on my face.
The “Heroes in a half shell” craze went through the roof in the early half of the 1990s starting with the release of the first film. It was a film that managed to cater to different age groups. The younger audience enjoyed the novelty of talking turtles that besides being cartoonish/slapstick in their actions were loveable to the max. The teenagers were fascinated by the mix of adventure and action at a time when the notion of being a ninja was still foreign and mystical. The adults didn’t mind the movies either as they provided full family entertainment with a perfect combination of good clean comedy, importance of family and brotherhood, and moral teachings thrown in for good measure since the films are after all about the fight between good and evil.
The entire trilogy works brilliantly together. Released roughly at an interval of a year each, the films provided constant entertainment that very few trilogies have managed over the years. Technically, in an age when digital arts was still developing, the films proved to be revolutionary and even now, watching them again, they come across as brilliant in all aspects of film making.
The stories of the three films never really reached a complexity level that would disconnect their younger audiences, but instead they relied on memorable dialogue to keep the stories exciting enough for the older age groups. The films were able to tap into the minds of the new generation of the time with its use of “cool” slang words making terms like “Cowabunga”, “Bodacious”, “Radical”, and “Dude” the in thing, not to mention further igniting the love people already had for pizza since the four heroes craved pizza like nothing other. Not only did the films entertain, but in a rather funny way they proved to be educational as well. With the turtles being named Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Leonardo, it was only a matter of time before children and adults from around the world were discovering about the origins of the names and as a result finding out a whole different side to the history of renaissance arts from their real world.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have stood the test of time. Their origin from a comic book to the wave of cartoons and toys that resulted from the success of the films, people have continued to remain faithful to these lovable characters. The trilogy is amongst the classics from the 1980s and 1990s that still remains a memorable experience for most cinephiles and is usually passed on from one film loving generation to another.
Between the three films, the first is a favourite of mine. It created a whole new world of wonder at the time when martial arts was at its peak universally thanks to Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee before him. The film continued to be a part of my film going experience after decades; moments of film still vaguely imprinted in my mind even though I hadn't seen it for years till a few days back. Secret of the Ooze, the second in the series, was when the audience was given a background into the origins of the turtles and also once again, like in the first film, they are forced to fight their arch-nemesis Shredder. It carried on with the popularity of the first film, even after some major cast changes. The third remains the weakest link in the lot with a time-travel story that takes the turtles back to ancient Japan; losing out on the plot by being disconnected from the earlier two films.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are three films that are a must have in every collection. Loveable superheroes that they are, the turtles make for a fun, exciting, and humorous family adventure that is going to pleasantly surprise those that have not yet watched the movies, and will definitely take those who have on a pleasurable nostalgic trip back to their childhood.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 5/5
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze – 4/5
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles in Time – 2.5/5
DVD Information: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Collection
Release Date: 28 October 2013
Running Time: 350 minutes (3 discs)