Movie Club: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

Discussion in 'Introductions & Off Topic' started by LiamABC, May 11, 2018.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this. The next few weeks, Movie Club and ROCKS are doing a tie-in. While ROCKS is focusing on the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, the corresponding Movie Club discussions will be on the various movies of the franchise.

    This week we're covering the third instalment in the 1990s trilogy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, the imaginatively titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.

    Remember any ideas for films to discuss are most welcome, and should be made on the Movie Club Introduction thread (the sticky one).

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these episodes, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full movie online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the movie in whatever manner you want.
  2. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    My Mum and Dad took my cousin and I to see this movie when it came.
    I was so excited to see the new TMNT movie.
    I was a bit disappointed it was a time travel story and not something more like Secret of the Ooze.
    But I did like the fact it was different to the others and liked the story line.
    For Christmas 1993 my Mum and Dad bought me the 4x Samurai Turtles.
    I read a while back that the reason for sending them back in time to Japan was a way of having them in the ninja environment, since the distributor Golden Harvest's speciality was distributing Japanese movies to the USA and internationally.
    Golden Harvest also really wanted to keep the costs and budget down.
    It's nice though that they had the budget to get Corey Feldman back to voice Donatello, Paige Turco as April and Elias Koteas as Casey.
    1993 was basically the end of the TMNT fandom. The movies, cartoon, comics and toy sales had all started to wind down. New toylines, movies and cartoons had gained a lot of popularity, especially the extremely popular Power Rangers. Something TMNT would later try to capitalise on a in 1997 with The Next Mutation TV series.
    The movie didn't have much fan fare and the expectations from the studio were low but it still made quite a profit.
    This movie was a good ending to the trilogy of live action movies.
    Overall I still really like and enjoy the third movie.
    Wilycub likes this.
  3. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Just like Mark, I too generally dislike time travel movies, (the exceptions being "The Terminator" and "Back to the Future") and just like Mark, I was super excited to see this movie since I loved "The Secret of the Ooze". However, unlike Mark, I didn't like it (sorry Mark ;)).

    I remember I was greatly disappointed when I first saw it in the 90s. For me it was a big step down from "The Secret of the Ooze", which while not an Oscar-worthy movie, was certainly very entertaining. This third part just seemed lame, like the makers didn't care about it. There were a million story possibilities that they could have used and kept the plot in the present time and still do something different from the previous installment. There really was no need to send them back to feudal Japan to capitalize on the "fish out of water" scenario. They are humanoid mutant Turtles for crying out loud! They're already fish out of water (or more appropriately, turtles out of sewer) in New York.

    At least it was nice the Paige Turco returned as April. I think that if they had employed any other story other than time-travel, then I might have liked the movie.
    Mark M likes this.
  4. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Having just recently seen this film for the first time, I'm not quite sure what to make of it. I have no problem with time travel stories if done well. It's one of the classic themes of science fiction writing, and when there's a problem with it, it's not with the genre itself. H. G. Wells' "The Time Machine" is a classic story, and even earlier than that, you could even argue Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" has an element of time travel to it.

    But I digress. This movie is an odd one. The way the time travel happened was not great, and the seemingly haphazard nature of it begs the question of why it wasn't happening all over the place. Also, the inclusion of Casey Jones seemed gratuitous. Then again, I wasn't a fan of Elias Koteas in the first one. That said, the reason for his inclusion made sense - they needed someone to stand guard for them, and he was a fair enough choice. Trouble is, it didn't really further the plot, and was more just for some screwball comedy distracting from the main storyline. Compare that with the original Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror" - when Kirk, Scotty, McCoy and Uhura accidentally beam back to a parallel universe (where Spock famously has a beard). We only see one brief clip of their counterparts in ours, as they have been quickly found out. They don't keep revisiting that side (although an escape attempt by them might have been an interesting addition to the plot).

    Anyhow, the whole time travel thing. Yes, the way April went back at random, it was a bit contrived to give them an excuse to go back. They could have handled it much better. A good time travel story is a joy (like Back To The Future or Star Trek First Contact). But this just didn't feel like much effort had been made on the script. If you're going to do a time travel story, it requires plenty of thought. Also the moment at the end when Raphael and Michelangelo decide to stay again seems a bit gratuitous. The idea that they don't fit in back home, well, they won't fit in any better in feudal Japan.

    One thing I will say for it is that feudal Japan is not a destination that's been overdone with time travel stories, so it's got that going for it (I mean seriously, how many time travel stories are there that go back to World War II or Ancient Rome?) - and also it fits in nicely with the turtles' ninja skills. So as a destination it makes sense. But they could have made a lot more of the time travel angle from the perspective of the people in the past, the villains finding out and wanting to take advantage of it (yes I know that's a cliché but it's the sort of cliché that works, because the villains want to exploit anything, not just time travel!).

    Maybe I'd have to see all three of them again to properly make up my mind about them. I can't say I'm that fussed though.
    Mark M likes this.
  5. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    There are some good time travel stories but the majority of them are usually just lazy writing and tend to do little to build character or further the story. In some instances they can lead to an enjoyable story but usually end up causing plot holes.

    I find this movie enjoyable enough as like Liam said feudal Japan is a nice fit for the ninjas.

    Liam I believe if something is really good you should know right away and not have to repeat the process to decide on it.

    Wilycub I like the film well enough but I do admit it really is the weakest of the three. I would also have preferred any different story than a time travel one.
    I really would have liked to have seen them do something more in line with the cartoon show like a movie with Krang/Utrons invading or even an adventure with other characters from the cartoon/comic like Leatherhead, Rat King, Baxter Stockman etc.
    Wilycub likes this.
  6. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    @Mark I totally agree. There were so many good episodes from the cartoon series whose plot they could have used for this film. Since Shredder was dead, a new villain was needed and, like you suggested, Baxter or the Rat King would have been ideal. And the movie could have taken place in the same setting. They could have leaned a little towards a more horror/thriller genre, like "Predator" where this new unknown villain is hunting down the Turtles in their own lair. Both Baxter and the Rat King (and even Leatherhead) lend well to this scenario.

    I don't hate time travel stories altogether. Just the ones that are overly contrived, which sadly, the majority of them are. Which is why I said that I generally don't like time-travel stories. I have no problem with time-travel stories that are done well.

    With this movie, while it seems that sending the Turtles (who are ninjas) back in time to feudal Japan is a good idea, I feel it isn't. The whole appeal of the Turtles is that they are ninja warriors in present day New York. If you send them to feudal Japan where every other person is a ninja, it takes away their uniqueness. Just like sending Superman back to Krypton. It seems like a logical fit but just ends up being a boring story. Same thing with Bruce Lee or Van Damme. If you put those guys in an Asian country where a lot of people are already well versed in martial arts, then the heroes cease to be unique.

    Same thing with "The Terminator" in which we have an unstoppable cyborg assassin in 1984, a time where nobody is prepared or equipped to deal with such a threat. But "Terminator Salvation" set the movie in the future where such robots roam the streets like cockroaches. They lose their uniqueness.
  7. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    On the other hand Wilycub, by putting the hero in a place where everyone has their skills, they have to fight that bit harder to win the day.

    And Mark - sometimes it does take more than one viewing/listening/reading to make up your mind about something. For one thing, you might not be in the right frame of mind to appreciate something right there and then. And for another, we live in a world where everyone wants instant gratification, and is unwilling to dig a little deeper if they aren't sure of what's on the surface.
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  8. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    @LiamABC yes being in the right mood or frame of mind can be a factor. But those are not always a factor. Without those being a factor you should still be able to tell if something is good or worth a second watch from the first time.

    I actually find some stories where the hero character is taken out of their comfort zone and put against their equals/superiors to be quite interesting. Like with Superman 2 when he had face three Kryptonians who were every bit his equal.

    @Wilycub I do agree about Terminator. Which brings up the point of time travel. It has a slight plot hole....but still very good movie and Terminator 2 was a perfect sequel and ending to the story. All the movies and shows after it have destroyed the story.
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  9. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Another thing about time travel in fiction - maybe I've just been spoiled, because I'm a Star Trek fan and Star Trek does time travel brilliantly (most of the time).
  10. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    The only real example I have seen is Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home To Save The Wales. I found their means of time travel odd. But I found the plot of the film rather odd and boring. It was just basically a way of promoting the message to save the wildlife and environment. I am all for that but the way the message was put into the film just didn't really work.

    A TMNT movie promoting saving wildlife and the environment would definitely have worked. And given them the chance to encounter lots of other strange mutated characters like Leatherhead, Baxter, Mondo Gecko, Man-Ray, Mutagen Man, Muckman etc.
  11. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    My favorite Mutants (other than the Turtles of course :) ) were the Punk Frogs.
    Mark M likes this.
  12. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I meant to mention them. Now there is a great movie plot right there. A movie with the TMNT fighting the Frogs would have been great.
    Oddly enough I was looking at the toyline the other week and Playmates only made two of the Frogs toys. Genghis and Napoleon. It's strange they didn't make all four of them since they made all three of the Nutrinos and Vernon, Irma and Burne.
    Wilycub likes this.
  13. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Star Trek: First Contact (with the TNG cast) is a great time travel movie, and we might cover that here at a later date. Many of Star Trek's best-loved episodes concern time travel (The City On The Edge Of Forever, Yesterday's Enterprise, Non Sequitur) or parallel universes (well, one parallel universe, known as the "mirror universe" because it first appeared in the original episode "Mirror, Mirror").

    Certainly this movie fell short in that it missed the opportunity to introduce some other familiar characters from the show into the movie format. Hell, they could have made the bad guy Shredder's great-great-grand-daddy or however many greats they went back. Basically they missed a trick, as did the second one to a certain extent.
  14. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Speaking of missed oppertunities, shouldn't the story have involved them fighting The Foot Clan.
    Wilycub likes this.
  15. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    My feelings exactly. It would have made for a great movie to have the Turtles go up against the Punk Frogs. They could have even added elements of the episode "The Return of Shredder" whereby the Turtles initially get blamed for the Frogs' crimes.

    Believe it or not I too always wondered why they only made two of the frogs. And what kid would ever beg their parents to buy them a Vernon or Burne's action figure????? :biggrin
    Mark M and LiamABC like this.
  16. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Someone that had the Channel 6 News Van toy. ;) That would have bene a cool toy to own.
    Oddly enough I never owned a TMNT van. Well except that DVD set that was in the shape of the TMNT van.
    Although at least Burne and Vernon featured a lot in TMNT. Look at Star Wars. The made toys of characters who had no name and were in the background for a couple seconds lol.

    That does sound like a great idea for a movie though with the frogs.
  17. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Me neither. :( I always wanted it as a kid. A couple of years ago I thought I'd buy one off EBay but the prices were too high. I also wanted the Turtle Blimp, but I don't know how I would have fit that in my house if I had gotten it! :biggrin
    That's true, Star Wars sure made a LOT of unnecessary figures. But the award for the most ridiculous figure has to be the meat from the Rocky films. :confused:
    Mark M likes this.
  18. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    The Meat was definitely a strange choice to release as a 'figure'. I think the best description really has got to be an over priced accessory. It really should have just been included as an accessory with an actual figure.
    Although to be fair it did play a pretty significant part in Rocky's training for anyone wanting to play that scene.
    I wonder how many children ever said they really wanted to play Star Wars but really needed that Imperial Dignitary that is seen for a couple seconds in The Emperor's throne room. Or even that one guy from Bespin who was running in the corridor carrying that thing that looked like a blender or that guy from the Mos Eisley Cantina that is shown for all of two seconds talking to Ben and Luke.

    You could always deflate the Blimp. Just inflate it when the Turtles really needed to use it. ;)
    If I ever seen a TMNT van cheap enough I would be pretty tempted to get one.

    Be grateful you were not into G.I. Joe. You would have real difficulty trying to make room for The USS Flagg aircraft carrier toy. It was around 7' foot long.
    A lot of their vehicles and playsets were pretty huge.
    Wilycub likes this.

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