And here we are, at the end of the trilogy. The third installment of the franchise, that has Nothing what so ever to do with the first two. But that is something I as a fan don’t have a problem with. As a kid, I was a weekly subscriber to the comicbooks so the fact that they threw in a completely new story in the midst of the already established one, was to me a kind and gentle reminder of how many adventures the four brothers actually have shared together. Ofcourse, most of them had something to do with the Shredder, but not all of’em. In my book, this was a great addition to the mythology.
The story we are about to embark on, is somewhat more intricate than the last two. It starts out with showing us 5 samurai, four chasing the fifth and we are pretty instantly treated with the fact that it takes place somewhere in feudal Japan. A clichéd fade-over to the present and enter the Turtles, dancing to the sound of ZZ Top, waving their weapons around, looking ridiculous. I guess we are supposed to take this as a training-session, but compared to the one we are treated with in the first movie, this just looks awkward and foolish. Raph nags a bit on how they wear themselves out for no apparent reason and that no one even knows they’re alive. Enter April, dressed in jeans and a leather jacket. She comes bearing gifts and this is where everything turns upside down. As a gift for Splinter, April has bought a scepter, wich turns out to be a portal to the past. All of a sudden there is heavy wind and some pretty good lighting-effects… and April is transported back to feudal Japan and in her place, is now Kenshin, the person we see being chased in the beginning.
But before I go on any more about the story after that, I have to take you back a little bit, to the scene when we see Kenshin, a daimyo’s, being dragged back to his fathers castle and we quickly understands that the antagonists of the story is Lord Norinaga, a japanese daimyo that rages a war against a small village of rebels and Walker, an english merchant with a penchant for small birds. After a while, we see the daimyos son bitterly breaking stuff in a temple, stumbling upon the scepter and that’s when the transference occurs.
The Turtles, confused as expected, desperately tries to find out how they can get April back, and then they learn that the transference through time could only take place if the ones holding the scepter are of the same weight. So, in order to get April back, they have to use the scepter to go back in time, find her and come back, all within a short time-period. Sounds easy enough huh? And here comes my favourite part of the entire movie… the sports-fan himself, Casey Jones (Elias Koteas) is back, thinking that they should go out and bust some skulls. He have a minor part in this story though, as he is left to babysit the four soldiers that switched places with the Turtles, but still, it’s a pleasure to see him again.
When the Turtles arrive in the past, they are separated from each other, as Mikey ends up with the rebels, leaving Raph, Donnie and Leo with yet another task at hand. First, they rescue April, then they go looking for Mikey. And as their adventure progresses, they find themselves ambushed by a group of rebels lead by Mitsu, the love-interest of the daimyo’s son, thinking that they are the daimyos honor-guard. After a minor fight-scene, the rebels see that they are not who they thaught they were and the Turtles are taken back to their village, where they’re reunited with their lost brother. They quickly starts to think up a plan to get home, since the scepter is gone, but somewhere along the line, they are convinced that they cannot leave without helping Mitsu with her rebellion. They fight side by side with the rebels, ultimately defeating both Norinaga and Walker, retrieve the scepter and returns home with just seconds to spare.
But enough of that, now I wanna talk about some of the things that actually did bug me. Let’s start with the Turtles. Or more specifically the costumes. In the first movie, the costumes were amazing. The way they looked were astonishing, especially for the time. And the way they used the animatronics really made the Turtles come alive. In the second movie, not much was changed, maybe some minor design-flaws but nothing you really notice. It’s almost like they used the same costumes as in the first one. But then came the third movie, and … oh my god, do they look bad.
The animatronics are beyond trash and the colours on the costumes are so bright, it’s almost like the targeted audience were children ages 2-5. In fact, come to think of it… the entire movie is like that in a way, with their corny jokes, weak plot twists and ridiculous characters. Compared to the first two, this is a Turtles-movie made specifically for small children.
I think I’ve blabbered on a little to much on the story, so it’s onward to the characters for some bashing! We begin with Walker (played by Stuart Wilson), one of the Antagonists. He is an english merchant with a love for birds, thought by the daimyo to be dead, but now he’s back with an even bigger appetite for gold and glory. He supplies the daimyo with guns and manpower, lending him his crew of miscreant misfits with nothing else to do. Unlikeable, easy to forget, nothing special about the character at all. Don’t stand a chance to be in a remake so no fantasy-cast for him.
Lord Norinaga (played by Sab Shimono), a stereotypical villain. A disgraced father with omnipotent tendency to exaggerate every little thing his subjects do. The character works in the movie, but there is no chance in hell, that he could even be considered for the remake, so no cast here either.
Mitsu (played by Vivian Wu), is the fierce but naive woman with the well-being of her villagers strong at heart. She is the love-interest of Kenshin, the daimyo’s son, and the leader of the rebels fighting against Norinaga. Since this character is from another time than the Turtles, the chances of her being in the remake is slim to none, but if they could find a way to use her, I could easily see Grace Park taking the helm.
I just wanted to say something real quick about master Splinter. If you look at the left side you can see Splinter from the first movie. We clearly get the privilege of seeing Splinter as we do in the cartoon. As are we in the second movie and just like with the Turtles, not much has changed to the design. To the right, we see him in the third movie, sitting behind a counter, swaying his hands back and forth, looking all cuddly and cozy. That wasn’t a big disappointment for me when I first saw it back in 1993, but then again, back then I was a little kid, I didn’t know any better.
And “finally”, as promised. April O’Neil, the annoying but steadfast reporter and allie to the Turtles. She was originally voiced by Renae Jacobs in the cartoon and in 1990, she was played by Judith Hoag. One good thing about this characters transition onto the silver screen, was the beautiful choice of discarding that horrific yellow banana-suit she was always wearing. BIG thumbs up on that one! In the second movie, The Secret Of The Ooze, she was replaced by Paige Turco, who reprised her role in the third installment. It wasn’t until the new cartoon from 2003 that I found a smidgen of interest in this character, but then again, in that one she’s not an annoying reporter. The chances of April being used in a remake is huge, so my fantasy-cast for her is none other than the beautiful and multi-talented Rachel Weisz! What’ya think about that huh? 😉
Anyways, I’m not gonna go any deeper into this than I already am. I’m actually starting to see turtles everywhere. So the next installment of my TMNT-segment won’t be up until sometime this weekend, but I think you have enough to last you a while anyway? 😉
So until then, all I have to say is…. Peace out hombrés!