Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Review

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1990 Film

The first ever film of the Turtle’s franchise debuted on March 30, 1990. This was the second movie that director Steve Barron was apart of, his first was Electric Dreams in 1984. The film tells the story of Master Splinter and his four anthropomorphic Ninja Turtles and their mission to stop the ongoing crime spreading in the Big Apple by the evil criminal gang known as the Foot Clan and led by the Shredder. The movie closely follows the TV series and at the time of its release it was the biggest grossing film and the 9th highest in 1990.  The success was followed up with two sequels, “The Secret of the Ooze” in 1991 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III in 1993.

The four turtles were voice by Brian Tochi(Leonardo), Corey Feldman(Donatello), Robbie Rist(Michelangelo),  and Josh Pais as Raphael. Master Splinter is voiced by Kevin Clash. The turtle costumes that were worn for the production were made Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and was one the last things the creator of the Muppet’s was apart of before his death at the age of 50 from pneumonia.At the beginning of the film we hear about young children and teenagers rumored to be connected to the Foot Clan causing mayhem in NYC as reported by Channel 3 news reporter April O’Neil. After spotting a group of thieves stealing from a news van, they turn their attention to her. The Turtles show up and rescue her from the band of robbers. When they arrive back to their home in the sewers Raphael realizes he left his Sai where they rescued April. He sneaks away from the group to see a movie while the others order out for pizza.

Jim Henson and the costumes his company made for the film.

After the movie ends, Raphael runs into Casey Jones and the two get into a scuffle. After the fight Casey vanishes into the city and Raphael makes his way back to the sewers where Splinter makes it clear that he needs to have more control over his emotions.

Later on in the movie April is in the subway when she is attacked by the Foot Clan for spreading rumors about them on the news. Luckily Raphael is there to save her from the bad guys and bring her back to their home where Splinter revives her after being knocked unconscious. When April wakes up Splinter informs her who he and introduces her to the Turtles. Little do they know Raphael was followed to their hideout by a Foot Clan member and come back to their home after taking April back to her apartment to find it destroyed and Splinter is nowhere to be seen. With nowhere else to go they go back to April’s apartment.

The next morning Charles Pennington who is April’s supervisor visits the apartment with his teenage son Danny. He scolds her on her behavior with police chief Sterns and tells her to watch herself.

Danny is arrested for stealing and Charles confronts him for doing so. Danny runs away into the subway. He manages to escape to a warehouse on Lairdman Island, the hideout of the teenage thieves of the Foot Clan and also where Splinter is being held. The Shredder is on the island and acts as a father figure to the outcast teenagers. Shredder is accompanied by his right hand man Tatsu. When he arrives to the island Danny informs Shredder of the Turtles whereabouts.

Back at the apartment Leonardo and Raphael are arguing which ends in Raphael going onto the rooftop where he is ambushed by the Foot Clan. Fight continues into the basement of the apartment complex and Foot Clan reinforcements come in and outnumber the Turtles. Not long after Casey arrives to balance the fight out. Building catches on fire, turtles vacate the premises and heads to April’s parents abandoned farm.

April is informed that her supervisor Charles has fired her. Raphael awakes from his coma and both him and Leonardo settle the dispute they had earlier. The Turtle’s agree that it’s time to return to the city after receiving visions from Master Splinter.

Back in the city Danny is hiding in the Turtle’s den and is still there when they come back. Danny sneaks out in the night and thinks no one is following him except Casey actually is and spots where the thieves have been hiding out. Danny visits Splinter again and realizes how evil Shredder really is when hearing about his past. After hearing about the horrible atrocity that Shredder committed he still reports back to him telling him that the Turtles have come back into the city.

Shredder after hearing the news orders his troops to go raid the Turtle’s hideout but ultimately failed as the Turtles were ready for their ambush. After Casey and Danny free Splinter and help assist him back into the city,  but not until Casey finds himself battling Tatu but evidently comes out on top.

The Turtles get ready to take the fight to Shredder. Leonardo lunges after Shredder when he taunts them saying he killed Master Splinter. Leonardo is disarmed, Turtles forced to drop their weapons to spare Leonardo. Shredder planned on killing Leonardo but at the nick of time Splinter arrives and distracts him which gives Leo the opportunity to escape. Shredder lunges at Splinter with a spear but falls over the roof. Splinter tries to spare his life but Shredder attacks forcing him to let go. Shredder falls to his death into a garbage truck where Casey crushes him with the trash compactor.

Police show up moments later and arrest the Foot Ninjas. April gets her job back, with higher pay and better benefits to report the story. April instructs Casey to kiss her which he obliges to. After the kiss the Turtle’s are overjoyed with their defeat of Shredder referring to it as “bodacious” and “tubular”. Splinter conveyed that he preferred “cowabunga”.

Rotten Tomatoes rated the film 4.8/10, the audience rated it 3.3/5. On Rotten Tomatoes website the critics consensus is as followed, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is exactly as advertised: one-liners, brawls, and general silliness. Good for the young at heart, irritating for everyone else.” IMDb were a little more gracious in their ratings of 6.7/10.

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