Sunday, October 10, 2010

You Probably Won't Like Turtles Forever, But You MIght

I absolutely loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when I was growing up. I watched the cartoon religiously, and once I got my hands on $5.24, I was down at KB Toys buying a new action figure. When the movies came out I was a child obsessed, It was pure magic to me. Everything about the movies were cool to me.
In retrospect, not so much...

But, as most people do, I grew up. I stopped paying attention to the cartoons. My action figures met their grisly fates taped to M-80's. My TMNT RPG books became yard sale fodder. And I saw the 3rd movie through eyes unclouded by the unquestionable worship only a child can feel and saw it for the silly crapfest it was. As the years went by, the Ninja Turtles never went away, but I just stopped caring. I was always peripherally aware of new toy lines or cartoons, but never went out of my way to learn more. I did, however, get a chance to enjoy the original comics, which I really enjoyed. The series started out as a parody of the dark and gritty Ninja comics of the 80's, particularly Frank Miller's Daredevil. How it became the childish marketing juggernaut it is today is beyond me, but it did.
So gritty...

I did recently watch the computer animated TMNT movie and not hate it. It was a fun little action movie. There was some pre-existing storylines (Shredder is dead but has a daughter?) that proved that the current animated series has been busy. I've never had much interest in the current series because it just looked like it was trying to be too sleek and bad-ass. While this may have in fact been a return to the original spirit of the characters, they weren't my turtles so I just didn't care.
A few months ago, a friend of mine told me about Turtles: Forever, a made for t.v. movie where the Turtles from the original series are teleported to the universe of the new series, hijinks ensue. I was intrigued by this concept so I put it on my netflix queue. I wasn't that intrigued, so it wasn't #1, and I kept putting movies and series ahead of it, but it eventually made it to the top, and I watched it yesterday.
Throughout the first three quarters of the movie, I was mildly entertained. It mainly served as a vehicle to poke fun at the campiness of the 80's cartoon series. The old school turtles constantly annoy the modern ones by endlessly cracking jokes and obsessing over pizza. What I found odd was the one who cracked the most jokes (by far) was old school Raphael. I remember him being the bad ass of the group, even back then, so this struck me as odd. Perhaps my 7 year old's interpretation of bad ass is a bit different from my current one. I did like the interactions between old school Shredder with modern Shredder. He really was an incompetent bungler back then, wasn't he?
"Tonight I dine on turtle soup!"? Puh-leeease!

Well, the plot eventually unveils itself to be surprisingly unoriginal. [POSSIBLE SPOILERS] So there's a TMNT multiverse and Shredder decides that the only way to truly rid himself of those pesky Turtles is to destroy the source, or "Turtle Prime". I actually rolled my eyes at this. I watched Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths recently, and it had the exact same plot. Well it was the trip to "Turtle Prime" that turned out to be a real treat. It's a black and white world inhabitted by the surly, constantly narating turtles from the original comic. It turned out to be a nice little tribute to the original comic and it's creators Eastman and Laird. The final scene made the whole movie worth it.

I find I can't really grade this movie like I normally would. For the most part, I thought it was pretty lame save. a few clever tributes and observations. Will you like it? Well if you liked the original cartoon or the comics than this is worth checking out. If you feel like you can't watch something this "uncool", turn it into a drinking game or something. Drink every time someone says cowabunga or pizza. Take a shot every time Raphael makes a joke, if you dare, but don't say I didn't warn you.

No comments: