|Steve Barron Director||previously directed Electric Dreams|
The Turtles in a Half Shell come to life with some Jim Henson Creature Shop magic, in a movie fueled by pizza and PURE RADITUDE! Notable for being one of the highest grossing independent movies.
All the shirts Danny wears have Sid Vicious on them.8 More Trivia
Casey Jones jokingly wonders if they are staying in a house that was used in the Grapes of Wrath.3 More Movie References
13 More Quotes
|Todd W. Langen|
|Judith Hoag||April O'Neil|
|Elias Koteas||Casey Jones|
|Michael Turney||Danny Pennington|
|See Full Credits|
A 1990 film adaptation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise and the first time the turtles were portrayed in live-action. This movie retells the origin story of the TMNT and their master Splinter as well as the beginning of their battle against Shredder and his Foot Clan. Generally regarded of the best in the trilogy of live-action movies it gave the turtles both an edge of violence that was found in the original comic but also some light and funny moments found in their animated series.
A crime wave has been terrorizing New York City and everyday citizens are having a tough time. April O'Neil is a reporter for local channel 3 has been covering the crime wave noting that most victims never see who has been stealing their belongings and that the police and City Hall is doing very little to stop the crime. After filing another report at work April starts to head home only to stumble upon a robbery happening and is attacked. Just as the burglars are about to steal her purse and leave a metal object breaks a nearby light and, in the darkness, we hear a scuffle. When the police arrive moments later they find the would-be burglars tied up and April spots a sai laying on the ground near her.
We then spot the owner of the sai hiding under a man cover and cursing at his loss. The heroes who saved April are walking home through the sewers of New York City celebrating their victory, with one sulking. These heroes are the teenage mutant ninja turtles, Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo, and Michelangelo. They return to their master Splinter, a large mutant rat who acts as the turtles sensei, and learn their lesson from the turtles first victory.With the other turtles eating some pizza Raphael, the one who lost his sai, returns to the surface to watch a movie.
Raphael spots a purse snatching and trips the assailants who then try to run away only to run into Casey Jones, a hockey mask wearing vigilante. Raphael stops Casey after he seems to be going a bit too far in his punishment and the two get into a fight. Raphael is even more upset when Casey is able to hit him with a cricket bat and flee the scene, causing Raphael to get even more frustrated and upset in himself. When he returns home master Splinter consoles Raphael on his anger and the support he has.
The next morning April has recovered from her attack but continues pressing the police chief to answer questions, especially about the Foot Clan. Shredder, the leader of the Foot, sends his henchmen to attack her and kill her while Raphael realizes, after seeing her on TV, that she is the woman who picked up his other sai. Raphael follows April into the subway where she is attacked by the Foot and threatened to stop talking about them. After dropping Raphael's sai trying to defend herself, he is able to take care of the Foot Clan thugs and carry the unconscious April into the sewers to the turtle's home, but is followed by one of the Foot.
April wakes up to a large rat and four talking turtles thinking she must be dreaming or at least dead. Splinter tells her where they came from to calm her down. Splinter was originally the pet of his Master Yoshi and would watch his training and mimic his moves to learn ninjutsu. Splinter moved to New York and in the sewers found four baby turtles crawling through some ooze. The ooze mutated Splinter and the turtles, changing their size and intellect, and Splinter began teaching them everything he knew about ninjutsu. The turtles then escort April back to her apartment, and ocne she mentions pizza, has four pizza loving guests.
Upon returning to their sewer home the turtles find the place broken into, ransacked, and their master Splinter kidnapped. The turtles are distraught and have no safe home, so they return to April for a place to stay. The next morning April is visited by her boss and his son, he boss wants April to stop her reporting on the Foot because his son is stealing and the police captain has put pressure on him. While in April's apartment Danny catches a glimpse of Michelangelo in a reflection and runs off to report what he saw to the Foot Clan.
The Foot Clan have set up an entire warehouse to entertain runaway children in order to convince them to help steal for them. Tatsu is running the Clan for Shredder, who's plan is to train more and more Clan members out of the children who have runaway as well as destroy the ninja turtles.
Back at April's apartment Raphael and Leonardo begin to argue and fight over what to do about Splinter's kidnapping. Raphael wants to run out and find Splinter and due to their misunderstanding Raphael runs to the roof to let out some of his frustration. On the roof the Foot Clan is able to sneak up on Raphael and beat him thoroughly due to their greater numbers and throw him through April's skylight down into her apartment. The turtles scramble as the Foot storm into April's apartment worse than insurance salesman. After the Foot miss horribly with some of their weapons the floor of the apartment gives way into April's antiques store. When Tatsu and more Foot are waiting below for the turtles they begin to be overwhelmed.
Just in time Casey Jones, who spotted Raphael being jumped, arrives to help the turtles out. One of the Foot cuts some of the old wires in the building causing a fire and forcing both the Foot and the turtles to retreat. Shredder and Tatsu are enraged by the skills of the turtles and Danny, who is beginning to see the error in his ways, discovers the chained up Splinter and listens to his advice. The turtles, meanwhile, arrive to April's old family home to heal Raphael, fix April's now broken down van, and learn that April has been fired.
The turtles begin to recover from their defeat in different ways as well as train harder. Donatello bonds with Casey while fixing a vehicle to make it back to New York, Leonardo keeps watch over a healing Raphael, and Casey and April begin drift closer. Raphael eventually wakes up, asking for food of course, and all together they train without Splinter for the first time. Leonardo begins meditating one day and is able to sense Splinter, that evening the four of them meditate together and are able to contact Splinter learning that they have finally mastered their ninjutsu training. With their training complete, the turtles are now ready to return to New York and save their master and defeat the Foot.
Back home in their home they find Danny who had been hiding there. As everyone is sleeping for the night Danny sneaks off, while being followed by Casey, back to the Foot headquarters. Danny has come back to Splinter and hears the story Splinter's origin. Splinter's master, Yoshi, has competed for with love of one woman with his rival Oroku Saki. Saki was able to hunt down Yoshi after he moved to New York with his love. Saki killed Yoshi and his love and in the struggle freed Splinter from his cage, Splinter jumped onto Saki's face clawing at him only to cut Splinter's ear before fleeing. Splinter reveals the Saki's whereabouts were unknown but Danny was wearing Saki's symbol, revealing Shredder to be Saki.
Shredder discovers Danny talking to Splinter and finds Danny holding onto one of April's sketches of the turtles. As Shredder prepares to assault the turtles once again, Casey and Danny team up to rescue Splinter before Tatsu can kill him. Tatsu discovers them as their saving Splinter and begins beating Casey up until Casey finds a golf club to beat Tatsu with. The remaining kids are convinced by Splinter and Casey that fighting isn't worth it and their "family" isn't what they thought it was. When the Foot arrive at the turtle's hideout they are easily taken care of by the turtles initial trap and by the turtles better training.
The turtles fight the Foot back into the streets with ease and follow them up to a roof of a nearby building. On the roof the turtles are confronted by Shredder himself. One by one or together the turtles aren't enough to the Shredder's superior skills. Casey prevents any more Foot from joining the fight as Splinter, having been accompanied by Casey and Danny most of the way, disappears. Just as Shredder forces the turtles to throw away their weapons to save Leo's life he is about to kill Leo anyways when Splinter shows up.
Shredder rushes in to kill Splinter who easily glances off Shredder's attack with one of Michelangelo's dropped nunchuks. As Shredder tries to throw one final knife at Splinter, he is able to catch the knife which causes Shredder to fall into a garbage truck below. Casey is there and activates the truck, presumably crushing Shredder. Danny and his father reunite, April is offered her job back to help cover the Foot Clan's crimes, the kids used by the Foot tell the police captain where to find plenty of evidence, and the turtles celebrate their victory on the roof, cowabunga!
Primary shooting took place in North Carolina with location shots in New York to capture specific landmarks in the background. Some of the sewers were built to design specifications after scouting out a few real world locations in Brooklyn. The sets, specifically the sewers, were built to be as authentic as possible. The suits themselves were built by the Jim Henson Creature Shop in London. Henson would say that the turtle suits would be the most advance thing that he ever worked on and took his shop 18 weeks to complete.
This movie has been one of the biggest successes for an independent film ever and widely praised by fans of the franchise. Some complained over the dark tone of the film as well as the level of violence for what was perceived as a children's franchise and movie. This, however, was more in line with the original comic book and strayed away from the more recent animated television series that most people had come to know. The success of the film spurred on multiple sequels and lead to a reinvention of the turtles franchise.
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