domingo, 21 de junio de 2009

Looking Back At The Ninja Turtles franchise

When I was a kid, I was a huge Turtles fan. I worshipped the cartoon series and saw it daily on reruns in channel 11, bought all sorts of merchandise and had a lot of the action figures. So imagine how happy I was when a Turtles movie first came out.

The first movie is still a classic film. It’ll always hold a great place in my heart, as it was one of the earliest movies I ever saw as a kid in the theatre. Watching it today, the film still holds up. It’s dark, has lots of action, and the special effects are awesome. The acting is pretty damn good, especially the voice acting with the turtles and Splinter. I also found the crime elements in the city to be pretty damn realistic, with the foot leading an Army of teens robbing and shoplifting. Also, the men who played the turtles were pretty damn good, and moved very well under those damn costumes. So was there anything I didn’t like? Well, to be honest, I found Shredder to be too damn cartoony, even more than in the animated series. He seemed like a bad Darth Vader wannabe and didn’t seem very menacing. Also, the ending is very anti-climactic, but I won’t spoil it if you haven’t seen it.

Part two came out right about a year after the first one, and a lot of stuff has changed. The tone was more light and comical, and the action scenes were more fist-oriented than weapon-oriented. Shredder shows up again and he’s as cheesy as ever. But still I have a special place in my heart for this film as well, since I pretty much used to watch this almost every day from when I was 8-13. I completely wore that VHS out. The acting is pretty good again, and the effects are great as well. But the best part is that we got to watch the Turtles fight mutant enemies, with Tokka and Rahzar taking the place of cartoon enemies Rocksteady and Bebop. I always wondered why they didn’t use these two. Like the first one, the ending is really terrible. The movie really falls apart in it’s third act, with it’s random appearance by Vanilla Ice, but even worse the ending in which The Shredder (now Super-Shredder) basically kills himself. If there’s a golden rule in these kinds of movies, is that the villains must not kill themselves. It’s boring and uninspired. Besides, Super-Shredder was awesome! Anyway, nothing in this movie is as bad as…

Oh boy. Yeah, this movie is pretty much hated by everyone in the world, although personally I find it to be okay if you play it for the kiddies, but yes this is definitely a step down in the worst way. First off, what’s with the production values? I’ve seen better cinematography in direct to video DV features. And the effects? Horrible. The turtles looks like leather sock poppets, and their over-bite really bothered me. The enemies are really bad as well. No Shredder or foot clan, and no villains from the cartoon! I mean, imagine who they could have used: Krang, Baxter Stockman and the Mousers, Leatherhead, The Rat King… but no, we get some samurai lord and a gay Englishman with a gun fetish called Walker. One thing that is good about this movie however, is the THIRD ACT! It’s actually better than the whole movie, with the turtles fighting together and using their weapons the way they should! It’s all good until that infamous moment when Walker falls down to the ocean and implodes into the waves. I hope whoever edited this never worked again. Bah, I’m all turtled-out, I’ll leave the animated one for a future review. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go dance Tarzan Boy…

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