Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

Here we are again, Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a movie and blog about it.  It's just that simple.  Today, we round out the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trilogy with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.  This is in my notes at December 7, 2013.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III Movie Poster

Well, time to finish off the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trilogy. This is the way the franchise ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

With Shredder's apparent and final demise at the end of the second film, I was looking forward to more of the Turtles' rouges gallery getting explored in live-action. Maybe finally bring in Krang. (If IMDB is to be believed, the original cliffhanger ending for the second film was kindly scientist Professor Jordan Perry revealing himself to be an Utrom -- little brain-like aliens in android bodies from the original Eastman and Laird comics, who served as the inspiration for Krang in the 1987 cartoon.) With the animatronic might of Jim Henson's Creature Shop, I was really looking forward to Baxter Stockman and an army of animatronic mousers. But sadly, it was not to be. Instead, for a new villain, the filmmakers decided to throw the Turtles back in time.

(Fun trivia fact: for home video and DVD releases, the third film was given the subtitle "Turtles in Time." Many speculate this was to cash in on the much more successful arcade game "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time.")

So thanks to the power of a magic scepter, the Turtles and April swap places with a Japanese prince and four samurai in Feudal Japan. There, they find themselves thrust into the middle of an uprising against the brutal shogun Lord Norinaga. The true villain, though, is the British arms merchant Walker, who keeps stirring up the battles so he can sell his guns to Norinaga. Of course, our heroes side with the resistance in order to bring peace to the land, because it's the only way they can get home.

And...that's pretty much it. Not much in the way of any character development going on here. People complained about the Turtles being nothing more than pop culture referencing, catchphrase spouting machines before, but here, it's turned up to 11. Every word out of their mouths is some kind of early 1990s pop culture reference. April O'Neil doesn't get much to do, except whine and complain about wanting to go home.

It's nice to see Casey Jones back, but he doesn't get much to do. He's stuck in the present day, babysitting the displaced prince and samurai. Elias Koteas (the guy who plays Casey Jones) gets in a pretty neat dual role, though, as he also plays Whit, a British mercenary in the past who winds up teaming up with the Turtles, but then turns bad, but then turns good again. Ya know, the typical Lando Calrissian role.

Jim Henson's Creature Shop isn't back doing the animatronic Turtles. Instead, we have some outfit called the All Effects Company. And it's sorely missed as the movement on these animatronics doesn't seem as fluid and lifelike as in the first two movies.

The beaches looked awfully familiar, and according to the end credits, it was filmed in Oregon. Wouldn't surprise me if it was the same beaches from The Goonies.

But yeah. Not much more to say. Definitely the blandest of the series. I did listen to the soundtrack pretty much non-stop back in the day, thought.

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