Entry #17: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)

I was never a big fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I had a few of their comics as a teenager, but was out of the demographic-range for the films by the time they came out, which means I had never seen this particular one before. Well, I hadn’t missed much!

I know that many people of the generation after mine love these films, and I also hear that the first two TMNT films are much better. Gosh, I hope so! This one pretty shallow.

From a time travel perspective, this is a unique device. The turtles friend (concubine?) April finds an intricate Japanese scepter at a flea market and brings it back to the sewers to show the guys. Unfortunately it zaps her into feudal 17th Century Japan, while bringing a Japanese nobleman back in her place. The scepter works by having to bring a person of similar mass for the one going back. But, the four honor guards that swap with the turtles don’t seem to be of the same size, let alone the same mass. So, besides the fact they time travel, it also displaces them in space from New York to Japan. Not sure how this makes sense?

The film seems really geared towards a younger audience as the scenes are more about the turtles making jokes than being concerned about having TIME TRAVELED to JAPAN in 1603!! There’s a supposed time limit for them to return, but I didn’t feel any urgency to the characters, up until the end of the film, when they realize the credits are coming! Then they needed to get back, except on of them didn’t make it, except that tension was resolved in about 45 seconds, so as not to trouble any one too much.

I thought the turtle puppeteering looked good, and was told that the other films did it better, but that didn’t affect my viewing too much. It was more the inappropriate jokes (two of the turtles saying “SCHWING” when April tears her pant legs off into shorts) and the pedestrian plot that keep this from being anything special.

NOTE: This entry is the third part of a six-part Time Travel grouping of non-sequential sequels that are time travel related. The next entries will be a part IV, V and so on, until we get to a sixth film. Think of this as a mini-marathon thru several franchises, showing the diversity of time travel in genre film!


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