Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie
So, as a child of the 80s, I was unable to escape the popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Even if I wanted to, I was helpless to stop the onslaught of awesome that they brought with them. Fortunately for the producers of the Ninja Turtles, I was hooked from the very first episode, which I vaguely recall watching in December of 1987. My friends at school and I talked about how great the 5-episode pilot was, and we were excited for more new episodes! But, two years later, when a live-action movie came out? Holy crap, dude. THIS was gonna be FOR REALS.
I’m not sure, but I seem to recall going to the theatre on opening weekend. It was an overcast day in Massachusetts (which is many days up there, really), and my mom and aunt brought myself, my two-year-old brother, and my aunt’s two daughters. Now, as 1990 was 20 years ago, and I was eight and a half at the time, I don’t recall where the theatre was. But I do remember that the showing we tried to make it to completely sold out while we were waiting in line, and we went and got something to eat (probably pizza) before the showing we ended up seeing. And, seriously; At the time, I didn’t realize how huge of a deal this was, but the theatre lobby was PACKED with kids. By comparison, years later, my brother and I went to see the third Pokémon movie on opening night, as a goof (and ended up making fun of it from the back row the entire time, probably to the chagrin of the kids sitting in the row right in front of us, though potentially to their parents’ delight). That theatre was not even close to as busy. In 1990, this was probably the biggest collection of kids I had ever seen, outside of school. Boys, girls, fellow elementary school kids, middle school kids, and probably some high schoolers — though, when you’re eight, high schoolers look like adults, so it’s impossible to tell. Especially 20 years after the fact. After all, who would’ve even thought that I’d start an Internet blog where I tried to recall memories from my childhood? I’m pretty sure Al Gore hadn’t yet invented the Internet at the time. Or, at least, Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s inventional of HTML wasn’t really readily available to the public.
So, anyways, we saw the movie. Which, y’know, I suspect that most people reading this will have already seen, and have their own opinions about. I absolutely love the movie, and it’s one of the few movies that I can watch at pretty much any time and have it hold my attention. Plus, it’s one of even fewer movies that I can quote along with in its entirety, all-but-perfectly in time with the movie. It’s one of the few VHS tapes I intentionally kept in my collection after making the switch to replacing everything on DVD, and now that I’m contemplating selling all of my DVDs so as to support streaming movies online, it will definitely be one of the few DVDs I keep in my collection.
The first TMNT movie is still easily the best of the three live-action Turtles movies, despite its mixed reaction. As of this writing, it’s got a 46% rating on Rotten Toamtoes from the critics, but a 76% “liked it” from the audience. Roger Ebert gave it two-and-a-half out of four stars, stating “… 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.” And I think that really sums up the movie. If you’re a fan of the Ninja Turtles, this really is the best introduction to the fabuloso foursome that you can give to somebody. If they dig it, there’s a lot more Turtles fun to be had!