BRIEF STORYLINE: News Reporter April '0 Neill, who begins to investigate the recent crimewave in New York City of "Ninja thieves" stealing electrical goods, and in fear of identified or captured, the "Ninja Thieves" or their real name "the Foot", led by a viscious Japanese martial artist "Master Shredder",target April herself to silence her. However, April is saved by "Raphael" 1 of 4 mutant turtles who live in the NY sewer. They are taught the secret art of "Ninjitsu" by their sensei Splinter, a mutant rat, all of whom were caught up in an accidental spillage of ooze which caused them to have human-like characteristics. The turtles use the art of invisibility, or ninja skills partly because they will probably never be accepted by the human world, and must adapt to this.
After April's state of shock, she re-groups and makes a friendship with the turtles and Splinter, but trouble still lurks. After Raphael goes on a sulk after an argument with Leonardo, he gets ambushed by the Foot on the rooftops by April's apartment really badly. But Donatello, Michaelangelo & Leaonardo save Raphael's life fending off the Foot and Shredder's evil sidekick Tatsu, who trains the army of the foot. After this, the turtles are on Shredder's lips and mind and he wants these turtles vanquished completely.
What's more is, the Foot are recruiting children and teenagers to the gang, introducing them to a world with little rules and with no morals, apart from allegiance to the Foot. This affects April work colleague Charles Pennington, whose troubled teen son, Danny, has forged a tie with the Foot as he is a disillousioned but easily influenced soul.
To the anguish of the turtles, the Foot capture Splinter from the lair. It's all now up to the turtles, April, and crazy but loveable rogue Casey Jones go on an inspirational and emotional journey to destroy the Foot, and to reclaim the turtles wise master Splinter, who has a bone to pick with Shredder. In Japan, Shredder killed his owners when he was only a humble rat.
TMNT REVIEW HQ COMMENT'S:"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the Movie" is definetely one of the better kid's craze movies, and whats more congratulary, the effort of changing medium, from cartoon to live-action works. It's a laugh-'n-knock-about film with a heart. It's at its best with the in-depth character development of the turtles, April & Casey Jones at the farmhouse, the portrayal of Shredder is sometimes impressive including his dynamic entrance at the villain's den, when he sends out the message of destroying the turtles to his followers. The movie makes Shredder menacing, and quite frightening. The darker tone introduces the grimness of Shredder's lair which does bring good atmosphere to the movie, along with the music. Shredder also seemed to get the best editing, when making an entrance.
The turtles' feeling of sorrow and anguish of Raphael getting seriously injured by the Foot and Splinter getting captured, makes you feel for our heroes. The fighting chreography is good, and most hits do look like they connect, however the presentation of the fights are hit-and-miss, and not as edited as well as they could be.
The best fight scene is where everyone falls into the basement of April's apartment and more trouble ensues, when Tatsu and more Foot join in. The fire in the basement, heightens the danger of the situation, and the music emphasises that very well.
Tatsu, who was created soully for the film, is a success. Despite very little talking, Tatsu's aggressiveness & short-temperedness against the Foot and turtles gives the film more edge and darkness.
I do feel that the second half of the film is the better half. At times, the editing was jagged or jerky, like the movement of a person in a fight sometimes doesn't look right. For example, Shredder's fall to the crusher below. This scene is mostly well done, but as Splinter mutters his last words to Shredder, and lets go, Shredder starts moving downwards, then in the next picture, he starts to fall yet again. The worst part of the film was, Splinter's flashbacks with some jilted awkward editing and Splinter's ordinary-looking rat puppet, looked unrealistic and the story of his origin can be seen as a bit laughable compared to his cartoon origin.
The turtles are loveable for their funny humor and impressions of like Rocky with April, then there's also Casey's mimicking of Tatsu, and the turtles jokes about Shredder at the end. There's good acting by all the main cast, with the exception of the Charles Pennington character, who was rather stale. Judith Hoag's April was feisty and quirky, Elias Koteas as Casey Jones was well good, and the boy Danny really shone, and you did feel for this confused, mislead youth.
All in all, the first TMNT movie is to be proud of, but there are a good number of TMNT cartoon episodes that i can say are better than this. TMNT 1 MOVIE GETS A: 3/5 RATING.
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