tek's rating: meh and a half

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles in Time (PG)
IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TurtlePedia; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; FandangoNOW; Google Play; iTunes; Movies Anywhere; Vudu

This came out in 1993, but I didn't see it until 2013. The movie is poorly regarded by critics as well as fans of the franchise, and I can see why. I didn't hate it, but for the most part it is kinda lame. There were a few bits I suppose I found mildly amusing, but otherwise... well, let's just say it's definitely not worth watching more than once.

It begins in Japan in 1603. There's a young man named Kenshin, who is pursued by samurai who work for a daimyo named Lord Norinaga (Sab Shimono)... who is Kenshin's father. However, Kenshin has joined a group of rebels who oppose Norinaga. The rebels are led by a woman named Mitsu, with whom Kenshin is in love. Anyway, the samurai capture Kenshin and bring him home. There, Kenshin looks at a scroll that shows a picture of the ninja turtles, Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello, and Michaelangelo. When I saw the picture, the first thing I thought was "he's gonna think they're kappa." So I was happy when he said, in shock and awe, "Kappa!" In fact, later in the movie anyone from his time period who sees them will think they're kappa. And that is my favorite thing about the movie, but it's a pretty minor thing. Incidentally, we eventually learn that the scroll tells about some ancient battle between the turtles and one of Norinaga's ancestors. So, considering this is a time travel movie, I figured eventually we'd see the turtles go back even farther into the past and become the basis of that legend. But that never happened, which is perhaps what I dislike most about the movie. (Although it's a close call between that and the generally bad writing.)

But I get ahead of myself. In the present, April comes to visit the turtles, and brings them all gifts to keep them occupied for awhile, since she's planning on going on vacation. She brought an ancient sceptre for Splinter, and that ends up causing her and Kenshin to switch places. So the turtles will have to use the sceptre to travel back in time to find April and bring her back to the present. But the way it works, if someone from the present travels to the past, someone from the past must travel to the future. So four members of Norinaga's honor guard unwittingly trade places with the turtles. But before the switch is made, the turtles had their old friend Casey Jones come to their lair to help Splinter keep Kenshin and the others under control.

I should mention that Kenshin speaks English, which one of the turtles mentioned made sense since in his time, the English had begun trading with the Japanese. I can accept that, but only if there were a few Japanese people who could speak English, particularly in the upper class, like Kenshin. But when they get to the past, they find that absolutely anyone the plot requires them to talk to speaks English, which I think seriously stretches credibility.

Meanwhile, there is an English captain named Walker, who has come to sell guns and cannons to Norinaga. The daimyo seems to be reluctant, at least until the turtles start helping the rebels cause trouble. Also there's a guy named Whit, who was in Walker's crew, but apparently tried to mutiny, so he was locked up in the same dungeon as April (who the daimyo thought was responsible for his son's disappearance). Whit is played by the same actor as Casey, so at first April thought he was Casey. Personally, I didn't see the resemblance. But what really bugs me is there is absolutely no reason for the resemblance. I mean, if he was an ancestor of Casey's, I'd get it, but the movie gives no indication that that's the case. (It does however set up a mildly amusing joke involving a rat.) Anyway, when the turtles rescue April, she releases Whit.

Well... once April is free, it shouldn't be a big deal for everyone to return to their own time, except that they'd lost the sceptre. And there's a very limited time window during which it can be used, so they need to find it again (or make a new one). Meanwhile, they decide to help the rebels against the daimyo, as I'd mentioned earlier. But um... I dunno, various other stuff happens, but nothing I feel the need to elaborate on. Eventually they do all get home. And I guess there's a happy ending for everyone. But the whole movie is just fairly stupid and makes very little sense (which is really saying something, for this franchise). I will say that if the first two movies made little sense, it worked for them. Somehow, it just didn't work for this movie.

weird index

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles * Secret of the Ooze * Turtles in Time * TMNT