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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Review

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

It has been a long time since I have seen this movie, but I remember it well. As a recap for anyone who hasn't seen the film in a while, it begins with the news report of a sound crime by individuals who are not seen. This movie takes place in the eighties, which makes sense since the comic this movie is based on was published in 1984. I like the depiction of the ninja turtles. And the fact that each character had had his unique personality. They are trained by a mutated rat named Splinter, who learned martial arts from his owner. The only odd thing about this is that he learned karate before exposure to the toxic chemical, which gave him increased size and intelligence afterward.

All the turtles are named after famous Renaissance painters Donatello, Rafael, and Michelangelo, Leonardo is chosen as the leader of the turtles by splintering himself. The group decides to pursue the Foot Clan and Shredder after learning the connection between Splinter and Shredder.

In addition to the main characters, I also enjoy the Foot Clan because the organizational structure makes a lot of sense and is loosely based on the Yakuza, a Japanese mafia. This makes a lot of sense, given the main villain, Shredder originates from Japan too. I believe Shredder was coming to the United States, finding some allies, and building his organization that trains its members in the art of invasion and martial arts.

The first time we see the Ninja Turtles engage with the Foot Clan is when they save April O'Neil from being killed after she considers members of the Foot stealing equipment that was most likely to sell on the market. The Turtles practice what they've learned from Master Splinter and drop one of their weapons after their win with the Foot, which April O'Neil then picks up. That is how she found out somebody saved her, although she does not know exactly who. I thought this scene was one of the most remarkable since it was actual combat over fake lasers or mystical powers.

I like Master Splinter, although I am still mildly confused about how random chemicals can give a rat of average size a massive growth boost, plus human levels of intelligence. Still, then I remember it's all a movie. I think it's important not to overanalyze these things, such as the Ninja Turtles' origins and the reason for their massive size and intelligence. One part I would have preferred further explanation on is how it makes the turtles age at the same rate as humans, but again, suspension of disbelief must be considered here.

One of the best scenes in the movie is when the Foot Clan breaks into the antique store that April lives above and burns it down. I like how it forces April to rely on the Turtles and make the first instance of humankind integrating with the mutant turtles. I also like the final scene when they fight Shredder individually, but then Splinter saves the day by taking down Shredder with his bow and arrow. I think this scene shows how far the Turtles have come with their training, even though they're not the ones who ultimately win the fight.

The only real thing I did not like about this film is the blatant product placement, but as I have gotten older, I understand that product placement is necessary for every movie to some degree.

I like how this movie teaches lessons well and how grounded a story is. I think the main thing that I got out of this movie is that you cannot always work alone; that it's not always a bad thing to work in a group, but when the time comes, it's good to be able to stand on your own, too. This movie had strong family themes and showed you can still feel like family even if you're not technically related. This film is fantastic and depends on your age when you watch it, so it is one of those films that can be rewatched and teach someone new lessons.

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