Thursday, March 27, 2008

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; fantasy comedy, USA, 1990; D: Steve Barron, S: Michelan Sisti, Josh Pais, David Forman, Leif Tilden, Judith Hoag, Elias Kotes, James Saito, Corey Feldman (voice)

New York. Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael are four humanoid ninja turtles created by radioactive waste and trained by Splinter, a rat who also mutated. The city is ravaged by the criminal Foot gang led by the evil Shredder, who manages to kidnap Splinter. The wounded turtle heroes escape and hide at an isolated farm together with the reporter April O'Neil and the crazy Casey Jones. Once recovered, they return to the city, free Splinter and defeat Shredder.

Some movies are watched today exclusively because they awake nostalgia for some old times. Among them are also the live action film "Ninja Turtles" that have - despite their flaws and limitations - even been proclaimed by some critics as "the best possible movie about Teenage Turtles". Still, the film got an average grade of only 4.8 on the critics' site Rotten Tomatoes which is really too little. It is a sympathetic little (independent) cult flick that contains sufficient charm (for instance, in one scene some man is reading the headline of the "New York Post" that states: "Crime wave hits the town" while some kid is stealing a wallet from his jacket at the same time; the claustrophobia joke; Raphael exits the cinema displaying the title "Critters" and says: "Urgh. Where do they come up with this stuff?") and neatly uses the old method of slow revelation of the protagonists in the exposition (at first, the four Turtles are not directly shown, just their shadows) and one must praise the decision of the authors to remain faithful to the original they are adapting (obviously, Krang and his Technodrome are not shown because it would have been too expensive for the modest budget, but the costumes for the Turtles are simply amazing). Since the story is more aimed towards kids and youngsters, one can get irritated by the overstretched ending which ran out of ideas and inspiration, but the movie as a whole has just enough spirit and successful gags to offer a small pleasure that does not need to be analyzed too much.


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