BRIEF STORYLINE: The turtles are chilling with their new friend Hokum Hare, who after mistaking a real-life rabbit is suffering as a victim of crime, runs off, but then discovers that Shredder has his hands on a train that can travel through time. Shredder finds out he can go to the future, where there is no crime and people are soft now. Then he can become a crimelord and rule the planet. Bebop and Rocksteady find an old gang member who is now aged and has quit crime because of the turtles. Shredder tells them to get their old gang from 1991 to help get rid of the old turtles once and for all. The turtles and Hokum manage to catch a ride on the time train. They arrive in the future to find their much older selves, who are at old-age pensioner stage now. The ancient turtles have retired from hauling shell and crime fighting. Shredder sees the older turtles as easy pickings and a real chance where his evil dreams can come true.
Can the young turtles urge their older selves to return to the crime-busting scene and have one last final victory against the Shredder?
TMNT REVIEW HQ COMMENTS: An interesting storyline that slightly disappoints with the editing. For this episode think “Back to the Future” but a train rather than a car used as the time-travelling vehicle. This is a visual treat, as you get to see an old age version of the turtles and April ‘O Neill and the animator’s idea of 2036 New York. A nice idea of the turtles being celebrated heroes, statues carved for them and Michaelangelo having his own pizza restaurant. Shredder’s big ego is represented well, as he uses the ray on the Statue of Liberty to resemble himself. A shame then, that the quality isn’t very good. Hokum Hare has trudged along with the turtles since the previous episode, and this was his last appearance, to the happiness of some. He doesn’t have much to do.
The varying states of the senior turtles, and their wobbly voice’s brings good humor to the episode. Raphael has become weak and skinny, Michaelangelo is fat due to pizzas, Donatello has specs, and Leonardo is maybe the better one off, but he’s stll crippled from old age. Future April’s looks have not totally gone down the drain yet. As for verbal humor, Bebop’s celebration of getting “visual aid!” from Krang to explain about past, present and future is sharp comically. Krang and Shredder are also entertaining in this segment. Other good scenes include the turtles and Hare chasing the handbag-snatching thug to the time train, and get sent to the future with Bebop & Rocksteady on it, Shredder Bebop and Rocksteady luring the old turtles to the subway track, the ending action with the young and old turtles fighting is good, showing the old-timers still have it and the turtles getting sent back through the time warp into present day 1991.
Bad moments include the very start of the episode, which has bland editing. Most of the fighting action between the turtles and Bebop & Rocksteady’s old gang could’ve been better. Also, Shredder using his anti-matter device on the city could’ve been more widespread and imaginative. On the other hand, nothing is horribly bad in this episode. An enjoyable romp, but never really excels in quality.
"ONCE UPON A TIME MACHINE" GETS A: 3/5 RATING.
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