01 February 2014

Quickie Movie Review: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (1990)

Rated: PG for unspecified reasons (US)
Starring: Judith Hoag, Elias Koteas, and Josh Pais
Released: March 30, 1990 (theaters)
Synopsis: A band of criminals known as the Foot Clan is invading New York City, making off with countless items leaving nary a trace behind.  The citizens and police are both baffled, not even sure where to start.  When reporter April O'Neil (Judith Hoag) is attacked, she gets saved by a mysterious stranger...who she later finds out is one of four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Along with their over-sized rat mentor Splinter, they have been living in the sewers of NYC for a while...and, now, it seems that they're the only ones who can put an end to the Foot Clan and their master, Shredder...but will they?

My Review: This is a good example of a movie that would be better with some remastering.  I watched this DVD partly on my computer and partly on my Blu-Ray player, but the video was really grainy, particularly during the two flashback scenes.  I know that the DVD format is capable of better quality video than this; this is almost like an EP VHS tape.  Other than that, the plot was engaging, though it felt a bit slow at times.  The fight scenes and animatronics were well-done, and much less cheesy than I was expecting.  I was a bit surprised by the language--see below--but, it was still a good movie overall.  I sure hope the Blu-Ray version of this flick has better video quality.

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: A bit of kissing, and April is referred to as a "babe". 4.25/5
  • Nudity: April wears a short skirt in most of the scenes she is in, and a girl's bare midriff is seen twice. 4/5
  • Language: Not as clean as I was expecting.  The d-word and h-word are used at least four or five times each; God's name is equally misused.  One b-word is heard, and euphemisms such as "gosh" and "heck" are heard about two times each.  The term "spaz" is heard three times.  Most of the problematic language is used by the Turtles themselves. 2/5
  • Violence: Of course there would be some ninja action, right? Most of the violence isn't bloody or graphic; still, heroes and villains are punched, kicked, hit with various objects, and thrown through buildings throughout this film.  A scene shows a man's face being scratched by a rat, and it is implied that the rat's ear is cut off as a result.  A flashback involves a man killing a woman.  A fire destroys an apartment. Splinter is seen with what appears to be blood on his face. (Spoiler: The flick ends with the main villain being crushed in a trash compactor, though not graphically.) 2.25/5
  • Drugs: A kid is seen chomping on a cigar. 4.5/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: The whole feel of the movie is dark, as much of it takes place underground and/or at night.  The main villain is also scary.  This probably isn't for younger kids. 1.5/5
  • Other: The movie is a bit commercialized, as product placement is seen throughout. 4/5
Final Score: 3/5

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