Short Description: The TMNT movie Trilogy. It's filmed in live-action totally, not animation, use new technology like animatronics for movement of turtles faces. The turtles face off with only Shredder(no Krang) and the Foot in the first 2 movies along with assistant Tatsu. Mutants Tokka & Rahzar appear in TMNT 2. TMNT 1 & 2 set in New York, while TMNT 3 is mostly set in ancient feudal Japan. April 'O Neill and Splinter appear in all 3. Casey Jones is in TMNT 1 & 3. Villains Lord Noringa and Walker the English villain appear only in TMNT 3. The origin story is somewhat different to the cartoon's and closer to the comic's version of events. The movies, particulary the first one, are darker in mood than the cartoon and resembles the comic more.
TMNT Movie Quality: The TMNT movies are certainly not the best films inspired by a comic. However, it has left it's footprints firmly in the cinema world! Yes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: the Movie was the highest grossing independent film ever in 1990, until "The Blair Witch Project" beat its record in 1999. However, the 2 sequels didn't do as well at the box office. In terms, of the reviews done here, the quality is at its peak in the first TMNT film, on our TMNT Review HQ critiquing radar. Then, as maybe predictable as it is, the quality goes on the slump as we went through TMNT 2 & 3. TMNT 3 being the worst. The dark and least childish first movie inspired by the comic seemed to work well. The other 2, despite higher budgets, failed to have the same effect, from being more slapstick and light-hearted in TMNT 2 & more cartoony in TMNT 3. The acting was good most times especially from Elias Koteas who plays Casey Jones in TMNT 1& 3, Judith Hoag playing April 'O Neil in TMNT 1, Alan Warner who plays Professor Perry in TMNT 2 and Kevin Clash voicing Splinter in TMNT 1 & 2. Of course the turtle voice actors deserve credit also.
BLOOPERS: The animatronics for the construction of the live-action turtles were likely to be involved here, and they are. Some of them are blink-and you-miss-it though. In TMNT 1, near the beginning, we see the turtles making their first appearance, jumping from a corner in the sewers. They have none of the green rubber skin in the calf/lower leg region, and in it's place is white wrapping. The green skin is there the next we see their legs. Also when Donatello is talking and says "it's a kodak moment", look very closely and you will see a second mouth, belonging to the guy inside the costume. Also there's one scene where Leonardo's sword bends, as he leaves April's apartment. When 3 of the turtles are playing Trivial Pursuit, the fourth one comes through the door and has a wire sticking out of his shell, which is part of the animatronic gear.
One of the most annoying or silliest bloopers actually comes from the soundtrack itself. In the song "Turtle Power", the lyrics say Raphael is the leader, and not Leonardo. Leonardo was always the leader in the films and everywhere else, so why the confusion?
IN TMNT 2,when Shredder drinks the ooze and becomes Super Shredder, why the hell does he have a different suit? When Keno and Raphael fight the Foot in the junkyard, some of the wooden objects look wobbly. One Tokka's spikes is bent like rubber when he gets stuck in the sewer manhole. The spikes should be hard, and if they bend they should break. Plus there are plenty of non-contact hits in the fights.
In TMNT 3, Raphael does a magic trick with his wrist bands. In one scene you see them, then you don't in the next, when he is talking to Yoshi. Near the end, a villain falls into the water, but the splash appears before he enters the water.
MUSIC:The TMNT soundtrack was highly publicised at the time of release, because of the artists featured and one song even got to the top of the single charts, in the UK at least, which was "Turtle Power" by rap duo Partners in Kryme. This is the most well-known song. It also featured the 2 biggest rap artists at the time, MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice. MC Hammer rapped in "This is What We Do", a good song from TMNT 1. Vanilla Ice released an even more successfull song called "Ninja Rap", thanks to the big part it plays in the TMNT 2 movie, with Vanilla featuring on-stage at the nightclub, where the turtles have their final showdown with the Shredder and the Foot. It wasn't a great song, and not the best song on the TMNT 2 soundtrack, but considering who sang it, and the publicityit reached the charts as well, but did not achieve the same success as "Turtle Power". Other somewhat known musicians to feature in the TMNT soundtrack were Ya Kid K, who is has a song in all 3 film soundtracks(she is part of the Hi-Tek 3 group, on the TMNT 1 track with "Spin That Wheel"). Also there was Johnny Kemp, Cathy Dennis and Spunkadelic.
The TMNT 1 movie soundtrack consists of 11 tracks. The best track on the soundtrack is "9.95" by Spunkadelic, a very good, very early 90's song, performed by a male and female vocalist. Not far behind them is "Turtle Power", "Spin That Wheel", "Let the Walls Come Down"(by Johnny Kemp) & "Shredder's Suite", the dark mooded guitar music for Shredder's entrance in the movie. I wouldn't say there are any bad songs here, only the two "Splinter's Tale", which is basically a repetitive tune with Splinter as the audio, telling of his and the turtles origins, are not worth much replay value.
The TMNT 2 movie is a less successful soundtrack, but not without it's moments. Again, the most high- profile song of the soundtrack, is not technically the best. Vanilla Ice's Ninja Rap is just OK and not a great song. The best song is Ya Kid K's "Awsome(You are My Hero)", which you hear as the ending credits begin for TMNT 2. This time, the turtles soundtrack has a few bad songs, including the quite tiresome "Back To School" by rap group Fifth Platoon, Tokka and Rahzar's dire Marching tune Monster Mix, which is repetitive, and ends with some generic Hispanic/Mexican theme "happy" tune. Magnificent VII's "This World" sounds cheesy, and Tribal House's "Moov" has a largely uncatchy tune. The rest, like Cathy Dennis' "Find the Key to your Life", Dan Hartman's "(That's your) Consciousness", Spunkadelic's second song for the franchise, "Creatures of Habit" and Orchestra on the Half Shell's mix "Cowabunga" are all good.
The TMNT 3 soundtrack is better as the actual film itself, as i've said before. However, a good number of the songs are not recent like 1992, but older. Some were made back in the 80s. When you take a look at the track list for TMNT 3, the effort into the compliation seems somewhat lazy with 2 versions of "Tarzan Boy"(remix and original) and "Rockin' Over the Beat" (original and remix). For some reason "Turtle Power" is on the soundtrack as well. "Can't Stop Rockin'" by ZZ Top is one of the best songs here. Not forgetting Baltimora's catchy "Tarzan Boy", a really good party song. Ya Kid K's shines once again with "Rockin' Over the Beat".
ACTION SCENES: The action manages to capture the martial arts feels well, better than in the 80s cartoon, and especially so in the first TMNT movie, where it's at its most hard-hitting and realistic. This could be because it is produced by Raymond Chow and the Golden Harvest company who were behind some of Bruce Lee's top kung-fu movies. The worst interpretation of martial arts is in TMNT 3, giving the fights cartoonish sound-effects. In TMNT 2, they try to use more originality like for instance, a turtle forward rolls along with a Foot member and kicks him out of the forward roll. However, a good numbers of hits do not directly connect with the opponent. They also make more use of props such as yo-yo's. Some of the best fights include the nightclub finishing off of Shredder and the Foot in Tmnt 2 and the turtles fighting the foot in April's apartment, and fall into the basement.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The TMNT Trilogy it may no longer be, as a 4th and completely different film is coming out in 2007/2008, which will be 3-D animated. Back to the present, however, the TMNT had spurned out an enjoyable franchise and with their first movie of course, broke records and was better than expected for a cartoon kid's craze medium. The problem is, there isn't as intelligent or funny dialogue that would appeal to an adult audiencs, meaning less widespread appeal. TMNT 2&3 are straightforward family/kids movies, while TMNT 1 is not sure whether to be a family/kids movie or a serious action movie. The quality is quite consistent but more bad than good, thanks to 2 inferior sequels. The movies can still have their funny moments though.
THE TMNT MOVIE TRILOGY GETS A: 2/5 RATING.
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