“A wise man says forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza.” -Michelangelo
The first of the big screen adaptations of Eastman and Laird’s much loved mutant reptilian comic adventures is a cheerful, infinitely quotable and entertaining slice of early 90’s childhood nostalgia.
As New York City is enveloped by a wave of youth crime, tenacious TV reporter April O’Neill (Judith Hoag) is rescued from becoming a crime statistic on her own show by a band of anonymous vigilantes, and ends up discovering her biggest news story yet.
Her rescuers are none other than four sewer-dwelling, squabbling, pizza obsessed (no anchovies), teenage mutant turtles who are trained in the East Asian art of ninjutsu by their similarly mutated rat guardian, and sensei, Master Splinter. Fluent in early 1990’s teenage slang, excellent dancers, and named after four famous Italian Renaissance artists- Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo (my personal favourite, he definitely has his priorities straight: food, first and foremost, above all else) and Donatello, evolved from discarded pets and into “bald punkers in green makeup” thanks to that staple of 90’s comic book heroes, the conveniently discarded jar of radioactive material (although Master Splinter seems to have been a pretty jammy rat before any hazardous waste aided him).
Caught up in a decades old feud from Japan between Master Splinter and his arch enemy Shredder, who has instigated the current crime wave, the turtles indulge in some “major league butt kicking” through the New York City streets and sewer systems, in an attempt to save their master and return lost teenage criminals to their parents.
Once the highest grossing independent film of all time, and now due for the dreaded big-budget remake, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is everything you would expect from an adapted comic book and cartoon-light, fun, gloriously silly, chock full of turtle puns and action scenes, but with a soft heart at its core. Revolving around themes of family, teenage angst and the struggle to find your identity in a society that has cast you to the fringes, TMNT is not without its more thoughtful moments. Primarily though, our heroes are a refreshingly unburdened bunch, with many a regular teenage concern and impulse, behaviour that leads to a fast paced and enjoyable hour and a half well spent.
Mutated crime fighting turtles, a giant talking Japanese rat, martial arts, pizza and cheesy nineties incidental music- what’s not to love? Awesome!
– Holly Thackeray
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles screens at the Palace Picturehouse in Armley Mills Thursday 21st November. We kick things off with a selection of shorts from 7PM and there ill be homemade pizza and cake available on arrival. Doors open 640PM.
Tickets available here.