RETRO REVIEW – ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III’

Review by J.T. Johnson

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: March 19, 1993
DIRECTOR: Stuart Gillard
CINEMATOGRAPHY: David Gurfinkel
WRITER: Stuart Gillard
MUSIC: John Du Prez

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III” is often noted as the weakest film in the original TMNT live-action trilogy. It features different animatronics, a meager budget, and a subpar story. Like most films of this nature, its infamy has only grown over the years and it is often considered the weakest link in the TMNT franchise.

Christ, does this movie suck! I mean, I hated this film even when I was a kid, but as an adult, it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. However, allow me to briefly revisit the first two films in the franchise first in order to show where I’m coming from. The original movie is a wonderful adaptation of both the original comic book and the insanely popular cartoon. To this day, it is still one of my favorite superhero films.

The second movie, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze”, decided to lean more towards the children and the cartoon. While it definitely lightens things up a bit, there is still an undeniable charm to the movie. Ultimately, I still enjoy it.

The third film?

The first thing you notice is just how cheap the film looks. All three of the original films were shot on modest budgets, but this is the only one where it looked like they hired only the cheapest labor in Hollywood. That’s especially true of the animatronics.

Instead of using Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, the filmmakers used the All Effects Company instead and that company should be ashamed of their work on this movie. The suits they made are some of the fakest things I’ve ever seen. Not once was I convinced that these were the Ninja Turtles and I always felt like they were people in cheap costumes.

The story is just god awful. Think about your least favorite episode of the old cartoon and multiply how much you hate it by 100. Then, you’ll start to get close to how bad this story really is. There is no Shredder or any other villains from the show or the comic book and it definitely feels like Golden Harvest was done with this series at this point.

They even managed to ruin the fact that they brought back Elias Koteas as Casey Jones. So, does that mean that Casey gets to kick some ass like he did in the original film? NO! Instead, he has the illustrious job of babysitting some time displaced Samurai, showing them things in modern day New York City such as hockey and television… It still pisses me off to no end.

So many times, I almost dozed off throughout this movie. I know that I often think that “Batman and Robin” is the worst superhero film, but at least there I can make fun of it and I can at least follow the story. In other words, I think I’ve found the superhero film that has dethroned “Batman and Robin” as the worst superhero film of all time.

This movie definitely sucks as much as its reputation. In fact, I think it somehow manages to suck even more than that!

 

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