Monthly Archives: May 2014

Turtles Forever

Hello, I’m a unicorn. What would be the best way to end Turtles Month? How about with a TV special that celebrates all Ninja Turtles, past and present, that came out on their 25th birthday?

Shell Yeah! (owned by nickelodeon)

Shell Yeah! (owned by nickelodeon)

Turtles Forever is easily one of my favorite movies, for obvious reasons. Where else would you see the comics Turtles, the 80’s Turtles and the 2003 Turtles team up in one epic adventure. The basic plot is that the 1980s Ninja Turtles, Shredder, and Krang accidentally end up in the 2003 universe via dimensional hopping. While the two teams of Turtles try to figure out what is going on the 1980’s Shredder accidentally frees the Utrom Shredder, Ch’rell, from his exile. Upon finding out about the multiverse of Ninja Turtles, Ch’rell decides that he was going to destroy all the Turtles that have ever existed, even if it meant destroying reality itself. So, with an updated technodrome, he heads out to do just that by destroying Turtle Prime, aka the 1st appearance of Ninja Turtles, which I’ve covered in an earlier post. Let me just get it out there right now: this special is supercalifragilisticexpialadocious.

Uh oh readers beware: fangirling ahead. Abandon all hope ye who read on. Also, really? Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious?

Oh, go watch a Golden Girls rerun.

With pleasure. And I bet you ten chimichangas that you can’t go one paragraph without fangirling.

Okay, you’re on. I switch it up and start with the criticisms. First of all, due to union stuff too complicated to go into here, none of the original VAs could reprise their roles as the Turtles and side characters, and the replacements didn’t sound  anything the originals. That is, with the exception of Sebastian Arcelus, who sounds almost exactly like Rob Paulson. Also, the background music didn’t quite sound right because 4Kids didn’t want to pay royalties for the original compositions, instead choosing to have their own sound mixers create lamer tunes. The 1890’s Turtles personalities were exaggerated a bit for the sake of humor and could come off a bit mean spirited and out of character at points. There, I did it.

Nope.

Nope? What do mean nope? I went a paragraph without fangirling.

You complimented Sebastion Arcelus. That counts.

That does not count.

Yes it does, so pay up.

I hate you.

The feeling is mutual.

Yeah, yeah, whatever. Anyway, while the 80s Turtles may sometimes seem a bit out of character and the jokes mean spirited, it was still in good fun and all of the teasing is affectionate. It’s also made very clear that both teams needed each other in order to defeat the Shredder, with 80’s Don’s inventions saving the day as many times as the 03 Don, perhaps even more. They’re just portrayed as goofier, but equally competent. It’s obvious that the creators put a lot of love into the story and animation. Nearly everything in the  1980s universe is kept how it was in the original cartoon and the animation is fantastic in all three worlds. The 80’s universe looks exactly like the the original cartoon, right down to the background characters. In fact, if you have a keen eye when watching the streets you can see a train of cameos such as Irma, pre-mutated Bebop and Rocksteady, and the crazy gun toting grandma from the first season. In fact, there are a ton of cameos and references from Tokka, Rahzar, to Casey and April wearing the same outfits they wore in the 2007 movie as well as the comic Turtles saying dialogue word for word directly from the first issue. Also, this:

Behold a multiverse of accursed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! (owned by viacom)

Behold a multiverse of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! (owned by viacom)

Yes, each picture is a differentTurtles universe, and yes, there are more seen in the movie. This is just one screen shot of them delving deep into Turtles obscurity. They even dragged up the old anime OVA where the Turtles turned into giant robots.

But not Next Mutation.

What did I say about the show that shall not be named?

Next Mutation! Next Mutation! Next Mutation!

Fine, two can play at that game. X-Men Origins Wolver–

Fine! I’ll stop.

Ha! Anyway, another great thing about this geek fest is the humor. While the humor in the 2003 series was very hit or miss, this was extremely funny in a meta way. My favorite jokes had to be the 2003 characters’ reactions to the 80’s fourth wall jokes and the fact that the 80’s Turtles automatically knew to save April as soon as they entered their universe again. Those always get a laugh out of me no matter how many times I see them. The movie has so many jokes, cameos, and references that it takes at least three viewings to hear them all and at least another three viewings to see them all. This was obviously made by Turtles fans for Turtles fans.

Overall, watch it. Seriously, go watch it now. It is amazing. The story is epic in scope, the script is witty, and the animation is fantastic. What more can you ask for in a TV special? While the 80’s Turtles may seem a bit off, there’s nothing to get offended or angry about. Everyone is being poked fun at, but it doesn’t detract from the wonderful and epic crossover. Growing up a fan of all three franchises features in this movie, I can tell you that this is great for any Turtles fan. So what are you waiting for? Watch it now, and happy 30th birthday TMNT. May you have another thirty years of making us laugh, kicking shell, and inspiring generations of kids to be heroes.

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TMNT 2007

Hello I’m a unicorn. *sigh* Shredder?

possible meme to use

Owned by IDW

Thanks.

If you’re trying to turn that into a meme, it seems kinda forced.

No, I–well–shut up! Anyway, oh deary me, this movie.  I’ll just get it out there right now: objectively, it’s not a bad movie. It’s actually quite good, but there are certain aspects of this film I loathe with a burning passion and you’ll see why in a minute. I think that my feelings will probably be best explained in bullet form, and separated into the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good:

  • The Animation: Say what you want about the movie, but it is beautifully animated. The city looks grimy and lived in, without being grim or dark. The film has a unique look and that works in it’s favor. The Turtles have never looked better when fighting or expressing a wide range of emotions.
  • The Voice Acting: It’s top notch. Every character has a distinct voice and they carry the story really well. The celebrity voice actors are kept to a minimum, preferring use actual voice actors, which is how animated movies should be done. Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played April in the movie, was almost unrecognizable. In my opinion, she would actually be an amazing April O’Neal in a live action film as opposed to Meghan Fox (I’ll get to that casting decision if I see the new movie). Anyway, with the exception of the extremely recognizable Mako as Splinter, I never saw people in a sound booth, I just saw the Turtles.
  • The Fight Scene Between Raph and Leo: It’s a beautifully animated and brutal culmination of all the tension between the brothers. There are parts that I hate about it, which I’ll get to later, but credit needs to be given where it’s due, and that was a fantastic fight scene.
  • The Themes and Message: The main story is about brothers who have been estranged coming together again. That is a beautiful concept and would make for a great plot for a Ninja Turtles film, but…

The Bad:

  • The Plot: So, here it goes: 3000 years ago, a great general and his family accidentally opened a portal to another world, unleashing 13 monsters, granting the general immortality, and turning his family to stone. Now that the conditions are right, the general wants to send these monsters back from whence they came and break the curse. What does this have to do with the Turtles? Nothing. They literally stumble upon this with sheer, dumb, bad luck. They don’t even meet the general until the very end of the film.The majority of the run time is the Turtles trying to become a team again after Leo left the group for reasons never explained in the film. Look, if you’re going to break up the Turtles, that’s fine, but please explain why they were broken up, because otherwise, the character arc just falls flat. For all I know, Leo was sent away because he couldn’t decide who will get the last slice of pizza. Also, Karai is in the movie, probably because she was a popular character in the 2003 show. She doesn’t do much, she’s just there.
  • Donny And Mikey: Well, they certainly existed in this film. Nothing much can be said about them. They were pretty much supporting characters in the Leo/Raph show, which brings us the one of the worst aspects of the film…

The Ugly:

  • Leo’s Characterization And That Line. You Know The One: Ugh. Leo saying that he’s better than Raph to his face has got to be as bad as or worse than Pa Kent saying that maybe Clark should have let a bus full of kids die. Do you know why I hate the line so much? It’s not because it didn’t make sense in the context of the movie, and it’s not because it gives Raph yet another reason to be the perfect martyr in the situation. It’s because Leo is the character I always looked up to and identified with. He is the character that I’ve always admired for his devotion to his family, his leadership skills, his ability to look for and seethe best in people and most of all, his humility. The Leo I know and love would never say anything like this, which is a part of the reason he’s my favorite. He never had to say that he was awesome, he just was. Whenever I got into an argument with my family, I’d take a step back and ask myself what Leo would do in this situation. Growing up, I never wanted to be like Superman or Captain America. I wanted to be like Leonardo the Ninja Turtle, so when I see this character treated so horribly in this movie, it hurts me. It hurts me that the writer, Kevin Monroe, was so interested in making Raph seem like some sort of martyr who has to learn how to control his anger for the thirtieth time that he forgets to give my childhood hero motivation for being a jerk. It hurts me that, in the end, Raph is vindicated, and they win not by Leo’s leadership and their camaraderie, but by Casey and April delivering a macguffin to them. Leo never proves himself to be a good leader, which makes all his character motivations and arc moot. Also, I’m sick of Raphael. I don’t hate him, I’m just tired of his character arc being done over and over in every cartoon, movie, and comic. He’s the low hanging fruit which writers pick. I’d like to see movie where Mikey or Donny get a major character arc, instead of Raph, once again, learning that his brothers are there for him no matter how much he angsts. It frustrates me that Leo is always the bossy bad guy who is only there to drum up some brotherly conflict with Raph while the other two Turtles fade to the background. One thing I loved about the 2003 show is that whenever Leo and Raph fought, which was fairly rare, they both had valid arguments. None of those conflicts as felt forced as the one in this movie, where Leo’s logic makes no sense and he’s being an arrogant idiot. It hurts and angers me to see my favorite Turtle, the one who I try to emulate and has affected everything about me right down to my favorite color, be reduced to a smug jerk for the sake of the contrived plot. This is what prevents me from enjoying the movie more than anything else. I can forgive the confusing plot, the vital information left out, and the other two Turtles fading into the background, but the treatment of one of my heroes is just awful.

Even though I ranted, overall, the movie is pretty decent. It’s definitely the second best out of the cinematic appearances, but considering that the competition is the one with Vanilla Ice and the one I reviewed last week, that’s not saying much. If you can get past the plot, the warping of Leo’s character and backstory for the sake of being foil for Raph and the lack of Donny and Mikey, it still is an entertaining Turtles flick, just not the masterpiece it was trying to be. If you adore Leonardo like I do, you might be angered by it, but otherwise, it still is worth checking out. So what are you waiting for? Watch it now, but seriously writers, just stop it with the Raph/Leo conflict, it’s been done to death. Follow IDW’s example and put some tension between Leo and Donnie, that would be cool to see. Next post, to round out Turtles Month, I’ll talk about the single greatest crossover in Saturday Morning Cartoon history, Turtles Forever, and I can give up ranting for the moment.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

Hello, I’m a unicorn. PAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIN!!!!!!!!! Every synapses, every thought is filled with the white hot agony! Every part of my soul weeps in misery at this abomination against Ninja Turtles and film. This movie is atrocious, worse than the Spirit! There is no other word to describe it, it is just so bad.

How about terrible, abominable, dreadful, horrible…

I don’t care, Textbox! Let’s just get this over with. There are so many grievances, I’m just going to bullet point them, but first, I’ll start off with the bearable aspects of this film.

The Bearable:

  • Elias Koteas: He was as enjoyable as always, and easily the best part of the movie. Every minute he was on screen was a minute that was at least a little bit less painful.
  • The Fight Scenes: Out of the three live action movies, this had the best action sequences, mainly because, unlike the second film, they got to actually use their weapons. While they wasn’t nearly as gritty and brutal as the first and fourth films, the scenes were a nice reprieve from the rest of the stupidity.
  • Raph and Yoshi: Maybe because I have a soft spot in my heart for kids, but I enjoyed the interactions between a little boy  with anger issue named Yoshi and Raph. It was kind of cute.
  • The Concept: Ninja Turtles versus samurai in feudal Japan? Awesome! This concept could have been really freaking cool except…

The so awful I think my ears are bleeding and my IQ is dropping exponentially:

  • The execution: The plot is so generic that literally anyone could have been in the lead roles no one would be the wiser. The basic plot is that a samurai prince and April O’Neal switch places due to wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff and a magic scepter, so the Turtles rush after her. Hilarity ensues, the Turtles help in a rebellion against an evil Daimyo and mustache twirling British trader, and the typical time travel shenanigans occur. This is one of the more frustrating aspects of the film. The Turtles are no strangers to time travel, they even have an ally who is an apprentice time traveler/part time valley girl named Renee, and one of their biggest villains is Savanti Romero, who is basically a goat creature wannabe Time Lord. The movie even had the time scepter, which allows the heroes and villains to travel through time. Wouldn’t it have been cool if these Renee and Romero showed up? Or if they didn’t want that, why not explore the origins of the Foot Clan? That would have been fascinating, but nope! All we got was a generic and time travel plot, which would have been fine with the right amount of humor and clever dialogue, but…
  • The Humor is painful: There was not a single joke that made me laugh, which is sad because they tried, they really tried. Every time of dialogue for the Turtles was a joke or pop culture reference, but they didn’t fall flat, they were dropped from an airplane and run over by a steam roller. Basically, take every corny, dated joke from the first movie, and take away any of the clever humor and heartwarming dialogue between the brothers, and that’s every agonizing spoken line in this movie. Lame jokes would have been tolerable, if they knew when to shut up, but no. Nearly every moment they were on screen, they were talking with no sign shutting up and letting the audience just absorb the moment or enjoy a fight scene. They just kept talking until I was begging for a minute of reprieve from the stupidity.
  • The Costumes: Do you remember how awesome the costumes were in the first movie? How they looked like actual living creatures and not puppets? Well, here are your nightmares for the week:

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! These abominations owned by New Line Cinema

    At many points in the movie, you can even see the seams where the head attaches to the neck. Also, the Splinter puppet was only seen from the waist up and was just awful. But one of the most irritating parts is that the lips don’t match up to what they’re saying, so I kept imagining that they had just dubbed over the good jokes in post production. *Sigh*

  • The Time Travel Physics Make No Sense: Okay, so the rules are that to travel through time, there has to be an equal amount of matter displaced, and the travelers switch clothes when they arrive in the different time periods, but then they go around and break those rules willy nilly. I’m pretty sure that April and the samurai prince have different body masses, and for whatever reason, April was allowed to bring her walk man along, which breaks the two rules set in the movie. It’s the same with the Turtles, Mikey is the only one to put on pants, so only one of the replacement samurai arrives in pants, but the rest arrive in that undergarments that they were already wearing. What? Also, I’m pretty sure that, once again, the Turtles and samurai tourists also have differing body masses. There was another stupid rule that they had sixty hours to find April or else they’d be stuck there forever, because of timey wimey stuff and I don’t get why the rule was put into place because it never comes into play.

Overall, avoid this movie like the plague. The few decent parts are overshadowed by the agony of everything else. If you want to see a good Ninja Turtles movie, check out the first one, or next week’s movie. All I can hope is that this is the lowest of the low, and we can only get better from here.

What about Next Mutation?

What Next Mutation? I’ve never heard of that.

You mentioned it in your last post, and tweeted about it as you watched an episode.

Look, Textbox, the first rule of Next Mutation is that no one talks about Next Mutation. It. Never. Existed. Anyway, what are you waiting for, check out one of the good Ninja Turtles comics, movies, or TV shows, just avoid this mess of a movie.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie

Hello, I’m a unicorn, and welcome, once again, to Ninja Turtles month. This month is the heroes in a half-shell turn thirty, so I thought I’d kick it off with their first and best cinematic appearance. But does it hold up to modern standards? Let’s find out.

The basic plot is that a gang of ninjas and runaways are creating havoc by stealing everything they can get their hands on. Ace reporter, April O’Neil, gets too close to their leader, the Shredder, and is rescued by the eponymous Ninja Turtles, who are old enemies of the Shredder. Meanwhile, there is a subplot with a kid that no one cares about. Let’s break this down to the tubular and the parts that are grody to the max.

Duuude, that sounds, like, totally radical.

The Tubular: Holy Hera, the Turtles look fantastic. Even now, the costumes, courtesy of Jim Henson, hold up really well. I mean, just look at them:

Feel free to geek out. Ninja Turtles are owned by Nickelodeon.

Feel free to geek out. Ninja Turtles are owned by Nickelodeon.

While their fight scenes are sometimes shot in the shadows or obscured by smoke, this is forgivable because when the battles are visible, they look great. The acting is excellent, especially April and Casey. I’ve said before that I don’t really like her as a reporter, but Judith Hoag is so good that I don’t mind as much. Here’s a fun fact. A teacher in my middle school was a double for April in the movie and her hand can be seen in one of the scenes. Anyway, Elias Koteas is awesome as the nutjob with a hockey stick. The voice acting on the Turtles and Splinter is very well done and the Shredder is as dangerous as ever. The humor is hit and miss, with some very funny moments and some lines that are cheesy. My favorite moments were of the heartwarming variety, the discussions between Splinter and his sons, and when Raph and Leo make up after their first defeat.

The Grody to the Max: Danny. Oh, great Krypton, Danny. I think this sums up my feelings of him being in this movie.

WHYYYYY? (owned by nickelodeon)

WHYYYYY? (owned by nickelodeon)

Ugh, this kid. This freaking kid. Waaah, woe is me. I live in an economically stable home with a dad that loves me and has the gall to care for me. My life is so hard. Waaah. If this kid hadn’t been and idiot and joined the Foot Clan, Splinter wouldn’t have been kidnapped, Raph wouldn’t have been hurt, April wouldn’t have lost her home, and Shredder wouldn’t have discovered that the Turtles were back from April’s farmhouse and they could have had the element of surprise. Yeah, so pretty much every misfortune that falls on the heroes is caused by this knucklehead. Come to think of it, Danny is the real antagonist. I mean, think about it. He’s directly caused the Turtles more grief than the Shredder just by his own idiocy. I guess they were trying to draw parallels between the father son relationships of Splinter with the Turtles and this Yucko with his father, but it wasn’t really effective because this is just him whining about having a decent dad. Look, I can understand that he’s trying to become a man when his dad thinks he’s just a kid, but he does nothing to prove that he’s mature enough to become an adult, so when his dad agrees to just call him Dan, it’s a poor pay off. I just really hate him, and the fact that every second he’s on screen is a second that I could use to geek out over the Turtles costumes.

Man, this kid is gnarly.

So, has this movie aged well? Yes and no. A lot of the dialogue, especially the “totally radical” speak and the pop cultural references have not. This film is the 80’s in a nut shell, but it’s also still a lot of fun. When the jokes are funny, they are really funny, but when they fall flat, they crash and burn. The fight scenes and acting is fantastic, even through the cheesy lines. The story has plenty of dark moments and is much closer to the comics, which I was grateful for. Speaking of which, time for a little ranting on the new film coming out this year. The biggest defense I’ve heard for it is that the film’s made for nine year olds, so it doesn’t matter if it’s bad or stupid because it wasn’t made for adults. I’m going to call bull dung on that. Ninja Turtles are universal. Boys love them. Girls love them. Five year olds love them and adults love them. The original comics were intended for adults, and two out of the three animated shows appeal to all ages. I grew up on the 2003 series, which had one beheading, no less than four impalements, one creature literally shot in half with a gun, a man slowly go insane as his body decays, and every single character die in an alternate universe and in the main universe. All of this was in a show intended for kids. Even now, when I watch it again as a fifteen year old, it still holds up, and I’m impressed with the violence a “kids” show got away with and still remained fun. This movie struck a great balance between violence, tear jerkers and humor that I enjoyed in the first grade and still enjoy now. This movie proves that Ninja Turtles can be appeal to all ages. I hate this argument because it’s just a lazy justification for a bad adaption of good source material. By saying this, you’re saying that you don’t care about that character you grew up with and loved. You’re saying that kids can’t be challenged and that they’ll eat up anything with a familiar label. You’re saying that you’re okay with crap coming out of Hollywood instead of good stories that inspire generations of new Ninja Turtles fans. I’m a firm believer that kids are smarter than people give them credit for and should be challenged with good stories. By dismissing something as “just a kid’s film” you say that you’re okay with Hollywood thinking that children are morons. Movies should be evaluated by whether or not it is good, not what age group it is intended for. I, myself, still haven’t decided if I’m going to watch the new movie because it does not look good. I’m trying to give it the benefit of the doubt, because I believe that it can’t possibly be as awful as The Next Mutation or TMNT III, but I’ve been proven wrong before and with every trailer, I’m getting more and more scared for my favorite heroes.

Speaking of TMNT III…

*Gulp* that’s next post up, isn’t it?

Yep. And after that the 2007 film. Muahahahahahah!

Goody goody gumdrops. Well, hopefully, I’ll also have the Amazing Spider-man and Turtles Forever to look forward to. Hopefully. Anyway, sorry about the rant. As to the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, what are you waiting for? Grab a pizza slice, become a kid again, and watch it now. Cowabunga!

Radical!

Tubular!

Icy cool!

Bossa Nova!

No. Just no. Let’s stop now. Please. This is just sad.

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