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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Genre: Action
Directed By: Steven Barron
Produced By: Kim Dawson
Simon Fields
David Chan
Based On: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird

Starring: Judith Hoag
Elias Koteas
Cinematography: John Fenner
Distributed By: New Line Cinema
Release Date: March 30, 1990
Runtime: 93 minute
Country: United States
Hong Kong
Budget: $13.5 million
Box Office: $202 million
Sequel: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a 1990 martial arts comedy-drama superhero film based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. It is the first theatrical Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. Directed by Steve Barron from a screenplay by Todd W. Langen and Bobby Herbeck, it stars Judith Hoag and Elias Koteas with the voices of Brian Tochi, Robbie Rist, Corey Feldman, and Josh Pais. The film follows the turtles on a quest to save their master, Splinter, with their new allies, April O'Neil and Casey Jones, from the Shredder and his Foot Clan.

The film is an adaptation of the early Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, with several elements taken from the original animated series airing at the time. The turtle costumes were developed by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, one of Henson's last projects before his death shortly after the premiere.

The film was released theatrically in the United States on March 30, 1990, by New Line Cinema. It received mixed reviews from critics, but was a box-office success, grossing $202 million against a budget of $13.5 million, becoming the highest-grossing independent film up to that time (surpassed in 1999 by The Blair Witch Project) and the ninth highest-grossing film worldwide of 1990. It was followed by two sequels, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993).


In New York City, a mysterious radioactive ooze has mutated four sewer turtles into talking, upright-walking, crime-fighting ninjas. The intrepid heroes; Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael are trained in the Ninjutsu arts by their rat sensei, Splinter. When a villainous rogue ninja, who is a former pupil of Splinter, arrives and spreads lawlessness throughout the city, it's up to the plucky turtles to stop him.

Why It has Turtle Power

  1. The film stays very faithful to the comic book series and its characters.
  2. While not staying 100% faithful to the comic books, it also borrowed elements from the 1987 show such as April being a news reporter, the turtles wearing different headbands, and their love of pizza.
  3. Great cast of characters like the Turtles, Splinter, April O'Neil, Casey Jones and Shredder.
  4. Excellent costumes designs on the Turtles, Splinter, the Foot Clan and Shredder.
  5. Catchy, rocking and iconic soundtrack.
  6. Great choreography for the fight scenes.
  7. Very good acting.
  8. Some funny moments like Donatello and Michelangelo dancing to "Tequilla" and saying "Ninjutsu!" instead of "Tequilla".
  9. The chemistry between the four turtles, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael is great, especially the final showdown with Shredder.
  10. Splinter's words of wisdom with the Turtles and Danny Pennington are the most heartfelt in the movie.
    • Encouraging Raphael about learning to control his anger.
    • Telling Danny that all fathers care for there sons
    • Contacting the Turtles in a campfire telling them how proud he is of them for learning to work as one, and stating that they no longer need him.
  11. Oroku Saki/The Shredder is a threatening villain, with his grizzled voice, attitude for killing, and martial arts skills that surpasses the turtles.
  12. The final fight was epic and amazing.

Not Radical Qualities

  1. Some of backstories from the comics were omitted, like Casey Jones's reasons for becoming a vigilante, and even those in the movie could use a bit more detail, such as the rivalry between Hamato Yoshi and Oroku Saki, and the latter's reasons for becoming the Shredder. Sure, the film has them fighting for the love of a woman, as in the comics, but there is a lot more to the story that could use touching upon.
  2. Some of the animatronics for the Turtles have poor lip syncing.
  3. Splinter's costume looks cheap and has not aged well.
  4. Its sequel: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze, wasn’t as good, and the series goes downhill from there...
  5. The way Splinter defeats Shredder can be seen as anti-climactic for some.


Critical response

The film was a commercial success and was praised by the large fanbase, but received mixed reviews from critics. Based on a sample of 38 reviews, the film holds a 40% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is exactly as advertised: one-liners, brawls, and general silliness. Good for the young at heart, irritating for everyone else." Roger Ebert gave it 2½ stars out of 4, saying, "this movie is nowhere near as bad as it might have been, and probably is the best possible Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie. It supplies, in other words, more or less what Turtle fans will expect." Box office

The film opened at the box office in North America on March 30, 1990, entering at #1 over the weekend and taking in more than $25 million. The film turned out to be a huge success at the box office, eventually making over $135 million in North America, and over $66 million outside North America for a worldwide total of over $200 million, making it the ninth highest grossing film of 1990 worldwide. Videos


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