By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Six Pack) –
A mystery befalls the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when their reporter friend April O’Neil visits a flea market which specializes in time-travel MacGuffins. Through a series of “hilarious” hijinks, April and the Turtles wind up trapped in 17th century Japan, swapping places with four samurai, who are transported to present day New York City. The turtles help a young princess fight a rebellion against her own father, the Shogun, as well as Walker, a British Privateer. The turtle’s have a limited time to curtail the encroachment of Western Imperialism, or else they’ll be stuck in history forever!
To say that TMNT III is a fucking mess would be giving it way too much credit. Whereas the first film in the series was frivolously entertaining, and the sequel retains some early 90s nostalgic appeal, this film is the producer’s middle-finger pointed directly at the audience’s pocketbook.
If I had to name a redeeming trait, it would be that the filmmakers brought back actor Elias Koteas to play Casey Jones, who was conspicuously absent from the second TMNT film. Sadly, they also had no ideas on how to use Koteas, who plays Jones alongside a past-self version of Jones in ancient Japan. Neither of these subplots go anywhere, and both Joneses just sort of disappear by the end.
This was the first turtles film to not utilize Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in designing the animatronic costumes of the turtles and their rat-leader Splinter. The decline in quality is shocking, lip-syncing is drastically off, and the turtles’ mouths don’t even seem to close correctly. Presumably to save money, some scenes hide the turtle’s faces (poorly) in an effort to disguise the fact that their mouths aren’t moving at all.
The screenwriters on this film attempted to insert plenty of pop-culture references with seemingly no clue as to their meaning, most of which are delivered in the form of puns. These clunky and obvious efforts to appeal to children were effective in engaging children in 1993; to everyone else though, they are grating and painful relics of a deservedly forgotten past.
TMNT II featured almost no scenes in which the turtles used their weapons, in order to tone down the violence. And even though they did allow the turtles to use them this time around, the fight choreography has visibly declined in quality. I’m guessing it’s a combination of the lower budget and suits which clearly appear to detract from the wearer’s field of vision
Even worse than the turtle costumes is Master Splinter, whose head appears to be a shoe box with fur coat stretched over some googly eyes.
Did they ever run out of ideas fast. Time-travel subplots have been the killer of many a franchise.
Take a Drink: for aged pop-culture references
Take a Drink: any time Splinter or the turtles’ voices fall out of synch (or don’t move at all)
Drink a Shot: for increasingly minimal, but ever-present Pizza references