Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 28, 2014
Never beat the original film down Michael Bay!
Super Reviewer
½ November 5, 2007
Despite dated puppet effects and sometimes cheesy dialogue, TMNT the movie is also surprisingly darker and more mature than expected. They absolutely nail the tight bond between father and sons with the turtles and Splinter. The action sequences are fun to watch even though they are relatively simple because of the limitations of the puppets. I have a soft spot for this film because I loved it when I was a kid. I sat down and rewatched it with the same giddiness I had as a child and it made me feel young again. Ultimately, it's not a great film, but I enjoy it and if you grew up on it I'm sure it holds a special place for you too.
Super Reviewer
October 1, 2010
This live action "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" film definitely feels like it pays tribute to the old show in many ways, while also going a bit too far in some moments. I felt like the puns overshadowed some of the scenes, which I'm sure it was intended that way, but it took me out of the film in some portions. The witty humour is perfect in this film and the Turtles are all portrayed in an enjoyable fashion. It's nothing spectacular, but the direction is fine, the script is good enough, the animatronics of the Turtles is pretty impressive for it's time and budget, and the fight scenes are hilariously awesome to watch. This film holds a place in my heart as being dumb amazing fun!
Super Reviewer
½ August 10, 2007
Steve Barron has 4 turtles in his shell. 4 teenage mutant ninja turtles.While looking a little cheesy, and not just the pizza, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles entertains for all of its 90 minutes. It isn't good clean fun for its entirety, as the the story manages to get some downtime and character going. That isn't necessarily a bad thing.The costumes and the animatronics work well for its time. Excellent choreography stems from the martial arts sequences and it leaves the want for more, especially with the weapons.Judith Hoag and Elias Koteas bring personality to the table and they do stand out amongst the human characters. The voicework of the turtles falls into place over time; perhaps not the greatest, but certainly acceptable.Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles spoils the pizza every once and a while, but all in all, it is a recommendable pizza delivery.
Super Reviewer
August 20, 2007
The first Turtle movie and I just about recall how big of a furore it made when it came out. Everything was all about the Turtles back then, Turtle mania, everything was pizza, skateboarding, martial arts and using surfer slang...particularly annoying.

The plot is an origins plot obviously, telling the story of how the Turtles come to meet 'April' and 'Casey', how they came into existence and their first battle with 'Shredder' and his Foot Clan. What is good about this film is the fact they incorporated elements from both the original comic book and the popular cartoon. At the same time the film was also quite dark in places and with a lot so called bad influential material such as kids being taught the ways of crime, stealing, lying, general delinquency and of course weapon based fighting. But really parents! what did you expect?.

The classic of course being the UK having a heavily cut version of the film to avoid the showing nunchaku violence, the fact the entire franchise was renamed 'Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles' and they cut the finale scene with Shredder. Germany also included cartoon sound effects to lessen the impact of the fighting, pfft! these Euro countries huh.

Myself I enjoyed this film back in the day and I still do today. I loved how the film is dark and gloomy in places, its still highly childish and dumb naturally but the essence is quite a fine line. The sequence where 'Raph' loses it after 'Splinter' is taken is actually quite scary for kids I think, a very dark moment. In fact most scenes with Raph are quite edgy really, for a kids film, I always wanted him to swear haha. The fight sequences are pretty neat and do show the actors performing some decent moves in the suits...something you don't really expect seeing how bulky they look. Of course you never see anything nasty, its all quite tame and more in line with the cartoon but its still fun.

This made possible in my opinion by a few factors. Firstly the entire film has a darkish gritty look about it, the picture quality isn't polished and shiny like some big franchises, this could be down to the fact the film was an independent film. I don't think this was intended, its just one of those happy/lucky mistakes, although the lighting is dim throughout. Secondly the Turtle suits are very good and very different from the later more kiddie friendly suits. The colour scheme is darker, the eyes are smaller, in general the faces/masks just looks slightly meaner. The later suits were brighter and with much bigger eyes (Disney eyes).

Thirdly the weapons all looked pretty realistic too, if you get a look at them, they don't look like rubber n plastic, they look surprisingly good. As mentioned the actors all move nicely within the suits too, no restrictions it seems. Fourthly I think the main villain is played brilliantly by Saito. He goes at it for real, not a hint of ham or hokeyness, he plays Shredder as if he were a real crime lord and a complete bastard. True he doesn't actually do anything accept growl all the time...'TURTLES!!!', but its the way he does it, the dude owned this role. Oh and his outfit looked sweet too, you'd think it would look cheesy but it fudging rocks!.

lastly I give kudos to the voice actors who really brought the characters to life. Never really liked the voice for Raph gotta be honest, he sounds like he's slow or something. The other three are great, really got into the Turtles vibe and made you believe, especially liked Corey Feldman contribution for 'Donatello', the guy was born to be that characters voice. In fact the whole cast does well in this film in all honesty, everyone plays it for real (to a degree) and thusly the film doesn't come across like a dumb kids film. Koteas goes a bit far in places, clearly enjoying himself, but its fun to watch him.

Its hard to say but this film is a bit of a classic now, a cult classic. The first and easily the best Turtles film but also a film that played out well for adults too, a film with giant rubber ninja turtle suits!. It helps that Jim Henson was the creative team behind the suits. The film ends on a bit of a damp spot in all fairness, anti climax really, but that doesn't hinder the overall experience. Hell even the rap song in the end credits was massive!, Turtle power baby!.
Super Reviewer
½ March 5, 2012
Growing up as a kid, I had two obsessions: Star Wars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And of these two, the latter practically consumed me for the first five years of my life. I had countless TMNT toys and would spend hours playing and making up my own adventures. When I discovered the show and the movies, well let's just say the hours I spent not playing with my TMNT toys were spent watching TMNT. Twenty years later, I'm all grown up, but I still look back on the heroes in a half shell with a nostalgic admiration. And I'll even defend this first live action movie as a legitimately good film. The costumes are remarkably well done, from the design to the people underneath the turtle suits. The action is lots of fun while not being too overly violent. Shredder is as much a badass here as he is in the cartoons, and even for an 80s film the story is well told and relevant.
The Turtles have always had underlying themes of family and brotherhood. Possessing excellent martial arts skills, they fight only in self defense and to help those who can't fight for themselves. Beyond that, the Turtles are very much like kids, having much to learn about life and looking up to a mentor and role model in their Master, Splinter. I think the whole idea lends itself well to kids because there is so much that they can relate to, especially if they come from broken or single family homes. This film really confronts this kind of subject matter by showing a lot of homeless runaway teens, some no more than 8 years old, finding solace in the wrong place due to a lack of guidance and parents but nevertheless being tempted by the notion of belonging to a family. Even among the comedy, silly Turtle antics, and Elias Koteas' amazing performance as Casey Jones, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has a lot of heart.
It bugs me that so many parents were outraged by the dark tone of this film. Its story allows kids to escape from reality while confronting some of the harsher aspects of it. I would have loved to see more films like this one rather than Turtles in Time or Vanilla Ice's Ninja Rap.
Super Reviewer
½ October 17, 2011
Growing up as a kid, I used to be a huge fan of the cartoon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I remember when this film came out, I was very excited. What five year old wouldn't be? After re-watching this film a while back, I was disappointed. The film has aged very badly, and now I noticed all the faults that this film possessed. The film might have good back when it was first released, but it hasn't stood the test of time whatsoever. The acting, plot and directing are all bad. This is the type of film that was great as a kid, but when you watch it years later, you wonder why there's anything appealing about it. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a film that hasn't stood the test of time, and looking back, the film was way better back when I was a kid. This is a film that really can't be seen as a classic of your child because the film looks like crap now. Films like The Sandlot and Toy Story are still great because they were well made, and really haven't aged that bad either. But this one has, and it definitely looks dated and looks awful. The acting is terrible, the plot is bad, and the whole is silly. This is one of those films you look at years later, and you're like "what the hell did I love that for?" Well, the cartoon will always be a classic no matter what, it's just a shame that the film hasn't aged well, because when I was a kid, I thoroughly enjoyed it. But now, I saw the films faults, and there are too many to mention. Oh well, the cartoon is great.
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2011
Loved this as a little kid, but I gotta rate it overall.
Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2006
This debuted in theaters on my 4th birthday, and it has been a favorite of mine ever since. I like the second and third ones, but this one has always been my favorite. It's also the best of the three, but that's generally how these things tend to work anyway (for the most part). Anyways, this still holds up pretty well. When I was a kid, I knew this film had a darker edge, but it wasn't until I got older that I realized how dark and edgy it was, and how that works in the film's favor. This came out at a time when the PG rating still meant something, and kids thought it was awesome due to the mild swearing, the rough teens being punks and smoking, and the actual sense of danger and suspense one felt during the fight scenes.

It also wasn't until later that I knew that Corey Feldman voiced Donatello, and that the lead punk (the one who offers cigarettes, confronts Casey, Splinter, and Danny at the warehouse, and talks to the cops at the end) was played by Sam Rockwell. I like Judith Hoag, but I like Paige Turco better as April. If only Turco was in this one. Hoag nonetheless does a good job though. Koteas is great as Casey Jones, but it's a shame his character got softened up as the series went on.

Even though this is a comic and cartoon adaptation geared towards kids, it still shows some balls, and does a great job of creating atmosphere and building tension. If you suspend disbelief about the Turtles and Splinter being unrealistic, the rest of this movie actually feels pretty plausible. Shredder makes for a dark and convincing crime lord type figure, ninjas make for great menacing thieves, and the idea of using troubled kids as recruits works well in a social problems/urban issues context. Yes, that's right, there is a bit of substance in this film, and a major theme/motif is family, and the powerful bond of it. Of course this is not preachy, and it is given a back seat to turtle action, but it does mean that the film is trying for something greater, even if it is downplayed and not handled in the way an uberserious auteur would. I also like that this is a more serious film, but that there's still some humor, and it is balanced pretty nicely with the more serious stuff.

Damn I love this movie. It makes me really nostalgic for the early 90s, and, should a live action reboot ever happen (if done right, it should), I think this is the film that used be used as the main model/template. If it is to be done, make it live action, use puppets and animatronics (not CG), make it dark, make it hard edged (but still retain the humor), and for the love of God, make the turtles actually seem real and plausible, and not cartoony. That's the thing here: you actually feel like what happens, could happen.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
If you're a huge fan of the Ninja Turtles, you can't miss this movie. It's fun, slightly cheesy, and exciting. I liked it when I was a kid.
Super Reviewer
March 25, 2007
I'd say most of the reason I love this movie is due to nostalgia. I was a turtle fan and was excited out of my skull for a live action movie. Being an adult and trying to be objective about it, it winds up being one of the best comic book movies ever made and just an all around good time. I never considered this a very family-friendly movie and never understood why it is still marketed that way. It's dark and brooding and has an overall tone to it that doesn't really scream family fun - at least to me. But I love the fact that it's dark. It just makes it all that more interesting. I'm still waiting for the day when this is given a proper deluxe edition treatment on either DVD or Blu-ray, or both. Until then, I'll still continue to enjoy the film in hopes of getting a good presentation of it.
Super Reviewer
May 13, 2008
if you grew up in the 90's and didnt fall in love with ninja turtles way before u liked boobs, then please, for the good of mankind go move to Iowa.
Super Reviewer
July 29, 2010
Super Reviewer
November 26, 2009
A great movie that almost perfectly captures the tone of the comics. It is way more dark than the cartoon series and has a better feel for the characters. The effects look amazing, even today. They really brought the turtles to life. It is a great story and a lot more in depth than one might expect.
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2006
An ok live action film version of the popular cartoon. Overall it's pretty good but more for the youngsters.
Super Reviewer
½ April 10, 2007
Super Reviewer
½ March 3, 2008
Super Reviewer
½ January 28, 2008
Cory Fieldman years, really lives up to its name, and will shock you how old you really are.
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2006
When I was a kid the idea of a live action Turtles movie was the most exciting thing in the world. I loved seeing the ad showing the city street with the colorful masks peering out from under a man hole cover. The movie did not disappoint. It was fun and exciting and the effects for the turtles was well done. One of the cool things was that it followed the original comic book pretty closely. All of the cheesy stuff from the cartoon was gone and we were left with a world that looked and sounded much like our own and that made the five foot turtles believable.
The movie still holds up today when you watch it.
Super Reviewer
½ January 11, 2007
one of the classics, very well done and fun to watch
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