TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES…And why the 1990 movie kicks the 2014 reboot’s shiny metal ass…

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October 30, 2014 by heligena

TMNT14TMNT90It’s pretty self explanatory really but if you’re looking for ten good reasons to impress your friends with, then here they are!

1. First of all and this may surprise some of you but the version made in 1990 is classed as the highest-grossing independent film of all time making over $130 million dollars at the box office from a meagre $13 million budget. The reboot has taken $190 million dollars so far but with a bloated overall cost of $125 million this ain’t quite in the same league dollar for dollar.

2. For its time the nineties flick had some cutting edge tech at its disposal. The turtles were brought to life through the hard work of multiple people- one set to wear the suits and provide the physical action, then a robotic puppeteer to work the mechanical heads and finally a third to voice the creations and give them their personalities. It was the definition of a collaborative work of art. Now don’t get me wrong CGI is an impressive thing these days and used sparingly it can be both beautiful and powerful but it doesn’t deal well with absurdity at the best of times and when it comes to a story about sewer dwelling mutant chop-socky turtles…well, you don’t get much more absurd than that. Sometimes brushstrokes made on a computer are too broad to do this kind of ludicrousness justice.

3. Also the Turtles in Jonathon Liebesman’s new flick are incredibly freaky to look at. Seriously.TMNT14a

4. A lot of folks were upset about the levels of violence in the original movie including Jim Henson and toymakers Playmates Toys who refused to create a line of action figures for this very reason but… director Steve Barron spent most of his time working out each and every fight scene down to their bare bones and the result is that they look awesome on screen. The new film with all its money and prestige seems to equate action with incomprehensible movement and can’t seem to manage to hold the camera still enough to make the fight scenes anything more than a glossy blur. Which is great if you don’t suffer from motion sickness but for the rest of us offers a particularly empty experience.

5. TMNT were a one-off starburst of a phenomenon. Somewhat appropriately the 1990 film is chock full of actors who made their mark in a movie then fell by the wayside again. ‘Bad kid’ Danny aka Michael Turney.? Jay Patterson? Kitty Fitzgibbon? Don’t remember them?… me either. Hell even April O’Neil’s Judith Hoag is more of a recognisable face than a name on the big screen these days. But all this adds to the initial movies impact, giving it a sense of nostalgia that I’m pretty sure the new one just won’t earn.

6. “I’ve got a message for you”…I’m not even going to explain that line of dialogue any further but what happens next in the original movie is so odd and uncharacteristically rude that it may well be my favourite part of the entire thing!

7. The Splinter puppet in the 1990 flick is voiced by Kevin Clash- famed voice of Elmo and loveable star of Elmo: A Puppeteers Journey. The man is a legend and was able to make a six foot paternal Japanese rat seem plausible. Tony Shalhoub though I love him as an actor brings nothing to his voice role in the 2014 film and on top of this, taking away the characters accent just hurts man. It hurts.

8. The production designer and art director spent four months taking stills of New York City locations to design their backgrounds and locations in the early nineties film. They also constructed real sets with concrete and wood. And while the reboot filmed much of its action in the real New York City the interplay between mainly CGI characters and a real live location just seems jarring in comparison with the old school method.

9. April’s love interest in the original, Casey Jones is an integral part of the team- cocky yes but brave, protective and moral in some skewed way before he even met the reporter. In contrast Will Arnett’s Vernon is little more than an entitled smug fool who seems to think that helping April out and earning himself an injury means that the young reporter owed him a physical reward despite the fact she’s always been clear that she wasn’t attracted to him. That’s just kind of gross and accepted far too easily by audiences of today as a representation of ‘romance.’TMNT14b

10. And finally we offer up a tagline showdown. ‘Lean, green and on the screen!’ versus ‘Meet the new face of justice.’ That just about says it all, right? I mean that second one could basically be the tagline for any film that came out in the last five years!

This is my case then and I leave it in the hands of the jury….decide well my friends….

Credits: Thanks to imdb for their trivia facts which were used in this post available at


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