The return to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”


Photo courtesy of Flixer

Most people might think that the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie would be terrible. Not only is the movie based off of a kids show, but it is also one of the weirdest kid shows. The movie follows teenage turtles tutored by giant rat fighting gangsters who are led by a guy armed with can openers in New York City. That is a pretty odd idea with or without the ninjutsu, but there is a certain saying in writing: there are no bad characters, only bad writers. For some unknown reason the writers and production team of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie were at a divine level creating an actual masterpiece. From the cinematography to the action and writing, this movie excels in everything.

Having four dudes dressed in fifty pound turtle suits causes a bit of a problem. How do you express proper emotion through a dozen layers of plastic? The suits were well-made with a wide range of expressions but not enough to add impact to a scene, so the filming crew decided to go ham on the visuals. The shadows the crew managed to cast brilliantly brought emotion to each scene. You can tell when a scene is sad, tense or upbeat by the way the shadows splatter across the characters. But the shadows are not the only thing the film crew managed to get right. The lighting in scenes is also impressive. Not only are average stage lights used but also street lamps and sometimes even live fire. These add to a scene so much by giving so much life and character to each and every frame

The suits must have really pushed the cast as the action scenes in this movie are spectacular. Somehow the stunt performers managed to do martial arts in fifty pound suits and pretty well at that. On that note the suits are actually pretty good considering how I have ragged on them the last couple of paragraphs. The animatronics to run them were top notch, as they were created by the masterful Jim Henson, an American puppeteer who was hailed as the genius in his craft, who gave life to the suit. Somehow even after 30 years, the Turtles have never looked better with Henson making the suits look cartoonish yet believable.

Everything about the 1990 “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is done to perfection. The action to the filming to even the phenomenal turtles suits makes this movie a certified classic. 

Go watch this hidden gem.