The Nerd: To understand how it was such a big let-down, I need to put you into the time. Think back to the late 80s, and if you weren't there, then just try to imagine. Ninja Turtles were the fuckin' shit. And I mean they were awesome, and every kid I knew couldn't get enough of 'em, even though it was everywhere. There were video games, comics, action figures, and of course the cartoon series.
The Nerd: In 1990, all this Turtle craze would soar to a higher new level. This is when we were given the first big-screen live-action Ninja Turtle movie. The taglines would say things like, "Lean, Green, and on the Screen." and "Hey dude, this is no cartoon!" I was 10, and I can't even describe in words how psyched I was. This was like the big kid version of Ninja Turtles. It was rated PG, it was dark, a little violent, the turtles talked like adults using words like "Damn."
Michelangelo: Don't just--Ninja-kick the damn rabbit!
Raphael: (While he chases Casey Jones) Come back here! I'm not finished with you! DAMN!!!
The Nerd: The battle scenes got us all pumped up. And for guys in costumes, it was a pretty great display of physical talent and fight choreography. Not to mention those awesome turtle moves. I think of this movie as the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s. I can't think of another film at the time that had such a big impact on the youth and it just reached to the culture. There was skateboarding, video games, bubble gum, and hmmm, kids with cigars. Well, bottom line, it was the definitive turtle movie. Never did I expect another. It ends with the classic confrontation of Splinter and Shredder, much like Obi-Wan and Darth Vader. And they find out who Shredder really is, Splinter flips him over the rail where he falls to his doom, the foot clan falls, everything's resolved at the end, all the loose ends tied, there's no way there would be a sequel, right?
Well, the next year, to my surprise, there was Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. The jokes were cornier, the fighting scenes were stupider, and what seems like an attempt to turn down the violence, the turtles, they use all kinds of silly objects as weapons. And besides, they never say "Damn!" anymore. But, regardless, it had all us kids going crazy. It felt like it was a necessary sequel since it advanced the story further and it pit the turtles against other mutants made by the same ooze that mutated them. So, they like, met their match. In the first movie, they only fought humans. But, during the cartoon, they were fighting all kinds of other mutant characters. So, we all thought that this was going to be the live-action version of Bebop and Rocksteady. What we got, instead were two new characters named Tokka and Razar. Nevertheless, all my friends at school still called them Bebop and Rocksteady, even though it's kind of obvious that Bebop and Rocksteady were a rhinoceros and a warthog while Tokka and Razar were a snapping turtle and a wolf. Well, that's true, but the real reason a lot of us called them Bebop and Rocksteady was we were attached to the TV series and the line of action figures. So, we wanted the movies to represent those characters.
The Nerd: So, now that a Ninja Turtles sequel existed, we knew at this point that there was going to be another. This wasn't just a one-movie deal, this was going to be a series. And we would get to see live-action incarnations of many of our favorite characters yet to come. Or maybe not.
The Nerd: We had to wait another two years before another Ninja Turtle movie was finally announced. So, we're thinking, "Well, because they're taking so much longer on this one, it's going to be incredible!" I remember actually having dreams about going to see Turtles III, and then waking up and being pissed off that it wasn't real. The wait was fuckin' killin' me.
The Nerd: There's already a third Ninja Turtles game on Nintendo, The Manhattan Project. Would that be the subtitle to the movie, too? My friends and I all debated what it would be. Would it be Ninja Turtles III: The Advent of Krang, Ninja Turtles III: The Revenge of Shredder, Ninja Turtles III: uh, Enter Dimension X, Ninja Turtles III: um, Here Comes the Technodrome!? Well, no. We were far off. It was like landing on the 0 in Roulette. Everyone fuckin' loses. The movie had no subtitle at all, while today, whenever I bring up the film, often people insist that there was a subtitle: Turtles in Time. But to clear that up once and for all, Turtles in Time was the name of the video game and it had nothing to do with that awful movie. Yes, in the movie, the turtles go back in time, but it's to ancient Japan, while in the game, they go back to several different times, as well as the future. It was the second Turtles game in the arcade and it was also on the Super Nintendo known as Turtles IV. But, back to my question, "Why was there no subtitle in the movie?" They subtitled the last movie. Well, I have an answer. Look under that title. You see that blank, empty space? Let that be an indication of the blank, empty imagination employ within and the void it left in our hearts.
The Nerd: So, who's the villain in this movie? Is it going to be Krang? Since even the first movie, we've been hoping for him, and aside from Shredder, he's the main villain in the show. So, will it be A) Krang, B) Baxter Stockman, C) The Rat King, D) Leatherhead, E) All of the Above? Well, the answer is none of the above. The answer is just a big "Fuck you!" to all the kids who were waiting so anxiously to see their favorite characters on the big screen. Then, you think, "Well, Shredder's gotta be in it, right?" Nope, not even him. Well, there's even more reason to bring him back because at the end of Turtles II, Shredder uses the last vial of ooze to turn himself into Super Shredder. Now, Super Shredder was awesome because he was like a monster. But, you only see a little bit of him since he's under the dock all shrouded in darkness. There's no way the turtles could even fight him. Remember back to the first movie? They couldn't even beat regular Shredder. Splinter had to take him out. And at this time, in an anti-climatic end, Shredder does himself in by ripping apart the dock.
The Nerd: Now, think about this. Would he really die by having a dock collapse on him? In the first movie, he falls in a garbage truck; Casey Jones activates the compactor, and crushes the fuck out of him. Now, he comes back in the second movie alive and well. Now, if he can survive that, why can't he survive some falling beams of wood? And besides, this time, he's Super Shredder! Would you have liked to see Super Shredder come back in Turtles III? Well, that's what I was hoping for. But, too bad, make way for this samurai and this guy on a horse. Yeah, these are our villains of Turtles III. Norinaga and Walker. I never heard of them before.
The Nerd: Now, you have this huge stockpile of memorable villains from the comics, the TV series, the video games, the action figures, all that and they just go ahead and bring in two uninspired, stereotyped, mediocre villains?! I mean, come on! This is the best they could come up with? Are you shitting me up the ass? And you might say, "Well, Shredder can't be in it because it takes place in ancient Japan." Well, you know what? That's my fuckin' point! The movie shouldn't have taken place in ancient Japan! Like, wow! That's original, isn't it? That's never been done a million times already!
The Nerd: So, now, hopefully, you could relate to how disappointing this was. But, to really understand how inhumanely atrocious this shitload of fuck is, then, we need to go over this movie and cover the basics. As usual, the best place to start is the beginning. The first two movies open in New York City, which worked really well. It puts you into the right atmosphere; you get a sense of the environment, the crime that's going on, and it just builds up to the turtles' first appearance. Seeing the movies as a kid, it was like, "They're coming. They're coming, any minute." But the third movie begins in ancient Japan, and you know that at this point, it doesn't have anything to do with the turtles yet. You're just watching some pointless scene with samurais on a horse. Do you feel like you're watching a Ninja Turtles movie? No, you don't! You feel like you're watching some cliché samurai movie. I mean, come on! Could this be anymore stock?!?! Maybe if they made it take place in the Old West instead and it began with a train robbery, that's the only way that it could be more shallow. Then, what happens? It uses a subway train as a transition, like we've never seen that. And it cuts to the sewers. Of course, now the Turtles abruptly show up, but take a look back to how the last two movies revealed them.
The Nerd: In the first Turtle movie, we don't see them right away. First, we see a weapon smash out a street light, which we can identify as Raphael's sai. Then, we see nothing but darkness, but we could hear the Turtles beating up the bad guys. Next, we see a little glimpse from the sewer hole, then we see their shadows and we know at this moment, that right when they come around that corner, we are about to see for the first time the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the big screen. But, no! Wait! In mid-jump, the title screen comes up and then the suspense is delayed even further. Come on...come on...YEAH! Look at that! It's awesome! Totally radical! Now, that's how you do it!
The Nerd: Now, let's take a look at the second movie now. It's a little more abrupt, but it works in a different sort of way. This one doesn't rely on suspense, or at least not in the same way. You can say that you're already in suspense as soon as the movie begins. I know I was. I mean, you're thinking, "Come on, where's the Turtles? Who's this guy fighting the bad guys? We don't want him, we want the Turtles." And then when those thugs all gang up on him, we know he's in deep shit. And, what better time than now? There they are, in the background, out of focus. And then, they jump in the air and freeze frame. At this moment, the theater just erupts into a high-pitched wail, kids screaming and applauding, just, you know, going crazy. It was one of the most exciting moments I ever had in a cinema. Just look at that. How's that for a title screen? Not only are all four Turtles in the frame, every one of them's up in the air.
The Nerd: Now, how's the third movie begin? Well, the turtles just come in dancing to ZZ Top. No build-up, no scenario, no creativity, no fucking thought whatsoever. Now, just look at the Turtles! They look like shit! Even the voice acting's horrible! The animatronics suck, too! They talk like sock puppets! Watch Leonardo's mouth.
Leonardo: Hey, what's that, April?
The Nerd: (In high-pitched tone with a sock puppet) Hey, what's that, April? (normal voice) Now look at Raph!
Raphael: But, you know, things might get a little nuts. I might forget.
(The Nerd mumbles trying to imitate Raphael)
The Nerd: Is this movie made for little kids? Well, I guess it is, so the joke's on me. The worst of all is Splinter. He looks like fuckin' roadkill! And I guess they never finished him because you only see his upper body. He's like a puppet that should be used on Sesame Street. Even worse is his voice!
Splinter: (Deep, wheezy voice) Have patience, my son.
The Nerd: What an assload of fuck! Well, everything sucks. Now, the plot of the movie is, I don't know, I think April buys some lantern from an antique shop and that makes them go back in time. The imagination's just overwhelming. So, the turtles are in ancient Japan, Michelangelo gets captured, and they have to rescue him and get back to their present time.
The Nerd: There's not as many fighting scenes, either. Just to prove my case, let's look back at the other movies and count all the battles, but only the ones with the Turtles.
In Turtles I, there's Raph vs. Casey. That's 1. Raph rescuing April from the Foot Clan, that's 2. Raph on the rooftops and the rest of the Turtles joining in, that's 3. And the final battle, all the Turtles against the Foot Clan and then Shredder. Well, we can count that as one final battle. So, that's 4 battles and 2 of which involve all of the Turtles.
So, let's go to Turtles II. We have the first battle in the shopping center, that's 1. Then the fight at the lab, that's 2. Raph and the junkyard, 3. Then rescuing Raph from the junkyard and facing Tok and Razar, 4, then the final club scene, so that's 5 battles and 4 of which have all the Turtles.
In Turtles III, there's the fight at the dungeon with no Michelangelo. Well, anyway, that's 1. Then there's the fight at the river. Again, no Michelangelo, so that's 2. Then, there's the final fight with all the Turtles. So, only 3 battles in the whole movie and only 1 in which Michelangelo’s involved. And that pissed me off because he was my favorite Turtle.
The Nerd: Some of the concepts are just ridiculous. Like when April's thrown into the dungeon, she looks over at this guy next to her and she says:
April O'Neil: Casey?
The Nerd: Okay, so, you're saying that Casey Jones had an ancestor in Japan? Well, even if I'm going to accept that, why'd she call him Casey like he's going to respond? And then, just to push the scene over the edge of mockery, they have this rat creep in, and April says:
April O'Neil: Yeah, you look familiar, too.
The Nerd: What? You-you don't mean--? Oh, my God, they do. I swear, I didn't make this edit. The movie actually fades from the rat to Splinter implying that that rat is Splinter's ancestor. Now, April never ceases to amaze me. Of course, the fucking rat looks familiar! It's a rat! I can't tell one rat from another! And of all the rats that can be crawling around that dungeon, how's that one just happen to be it? And I gotta say, all the planets must have lined up. April meets both Casey and Splinter's ancestor in a matter of seconds? And I could accept Splinter because it's Japan and that's where he's from, but both of them? That's the biggest fucking coincidence I've ever heard in my life!
The Nerd: You know another part I can't stand? This. That turtle duck thing is really getting old. I mean, it was cool the first time, but geez! That's enough of that shit! So, is there anything I like? Well, I kinda hate to admit it, but when they're dancing at Tarzan Boy, that's the highlight of the movie.
Casey Jones: Come on! Hey! Come on!
The Nerd: All the Turtle movies are full of bad jokes and constant references to movies or TV shows. But this one just takes it another step to obscurity. The other ones were corny, but this is beyond corny. The recurring joke is "Wet willy time."
Raphael: It's Wet willy time!
Niles: (Shrieks and runs away after Leonard and Donatello give him a wet willy in both ears)
The Nerd: Pretty bad, but without ranting on forever about this crap, I'm going to round up my personal top ten worst lines from Ninja Turtles III. Number 10:
Donatello: I think I swallowed a frog. I hope it wasn't an ancestor.
The Nerd: He swallowed a frog and he hopes it's not an ancestor. Guess that's why they're turtles. Number 9:
Raphael: There they are, the Three Stooges.
Donatello: Yeah, Larry, Curly, and Moe. Nyuk, nyuk.
The Nerd: So, just in case we don't know the names of the Three Stooges, be sure to say 'em all. Number 8:
Donatello: Wow! A Leg-o-Rama!
Leonardo and Donatello: SCHWING! (chuckles)
The Nerd: No comment there. Number 7:
April O'Neil: WHOA! It's Star Trek time, guys!
The Nerd: It's Star Trek time. Number 6:
Michelangelo: What if we make, like, a cosmic u-turn and end up back in Godzilla-Land?
The Nerd: Funny. Get it? Japan, Godzilla-Land? Number 5:
Donatello: It's Hammer time!
The Nerd: Ohh! God! Number 4:
Raphael: Did you hear what he called me, Leo?!
Leonardo: Yeah, an ugly lump of dung.
Raphael: Well, that was an insult, Leo.
Donatello: Not necessarily, Raph. Did you know that in some countries, dung is used as a fuel source?
The Nerd: Oh, so that makes it a whole lot better. He called Raph a fuel source. I'm sure that's what he meant, too, right? Number 3:
Leonardo: We're Turtles, friend!
Donatello: Of the Teenage Mutant Ninja variety, sleezeball!
Raphael: Yeah. Hmm.
The Nerd: Okay, the line was bad enough, but look at how the Turtles react to it, like, "Yeah, he really told him off." Alright, number 2, and I'm warning you it's about to get really bad now. Listen to this one.
Donatello: Hey, you were expecting, maybe, uh, The Addams Family?
Raphael and Michelangelo: (Laughing)
The Nerd: I remember seeing that line in the commercial and I couldn't even believe he said it. It's not really a joke that makes any kind of satirical sense. Was I expecting The Addams Family? No, I wasn't, actually. The Addams Family was probably the last fucking thing that ever comes to my mind when I think of Ninja Turtles. What I especially love about this line is the way Donatello nods his head as he says it. And look at how Raph nudges Mike as if saying, "Yeah, that was a good one!" It's like the actors were actually making fun of it because it was so ridiculous.
The Nerd: So, are you ready for number 1? Because, I don't think I am. Nothing can prepare you for this. Are you sure? You ready? Alright. Behold, the #1 worst, most God-awful movie quote of all time.
Donatello: Help! I'm a Turtle, and I can't get up!
The Nerd: (exclaims) I still can't believe it. Did he really say that?
Donatello: Help! I'm a Turtle, and I can't get up!
The Nerd: (Groans) I'm sorry for playing that again, that's really terrible. Not only is this the worst line of the movie, it's probably the worst line ever spoken in a motion picture. And believe it or not, this line was in the commercials, too. And even worse, I distinctly remember in the theater, everyone laughed. I mean, come on! It's not funny! (Begins to laugh anyway.)
Donatello: Help! I'm a Turtle and I can't get up!
The Nerd: (laughs) Oh, God. Alright, alright, I'm back. So, what's the best way to end a shitty movie? With a shitty ending. An ending that sucks so hard, it scarred me for life. This guy, Walker's running away from the Turtles, but, oops, he forgot his bird. Yeah, that's right. I forgot to mention that part. Not only does this character belong in totally different genre, but he has this bird in a cage that he always carries around. I'm serious, this movie's totally whacked. So, what happens to him? He gets fired at and then he falls off the roof and into the water.
The Nerd: Now, I gotta pause this because I gotta ask, how many times have you seen this shot in a movie? Way too fucking much. It was one of the biggest clichés of the time. What happened at the end of Batman? The Joker falls, same shot. What happens at the end of Dick Tracy? Big Boy falls, same thing. But Turtles III takes this cliché to a whole new level. I mean, a whole new level. Watch what happens when Walker hits the water.
Walker: (Screams while he falls)
The Nerd: Did you see that? Here it goes again.
Walker: (Screams while he falls)
The Nerd: There's no splash. Instead, he disappears. But he doesn't disappear. He like, implodes into himself. I'm really stunned, like why'd they do this? They couldn't do a special effect for a splash? But, what they could do is make him implode. Now, if you couldn't make a splash, why couldn't you just cut away, and then, just leave the sound of the splash? That would've actually been more effective. I can re-edit it right now. Watch.
Walker: (Screams while he falls to his death)
(scene cuts to the Turtles with the sound of the splash intact)
The Nerd: See? That's all they had to do, so why make the weird imploding effect? What were they thinking? Now, to top off the whole thing and carry on in the tradition of Splinter telling a joke at the end, what did they do? The worst fuckin' joke ever to close the worst fuckin' movie ever. But, right before we hear what Splinter says, let's go back to Turtles I again. The joke in the first movie is "Cowabunga."
The Nerd: All right, acceptable.
Splinter: I made a funny! (Laughing)
The Nerd: Now, let's go to Turtles II.
Splinter: Go, Ninja, go, Ninja, GO!
Splinter: I made another funny! (Chuckles)
The Nerd: Can it be any worse than that? Yes, it can. Behold, Splinter's last joke in the Turtles trilogy.
Splinter: Yo, dude!
Michelangelo: Yo, dude! (Laughing)
Splinter: Just like Elvis, in Blue Hawaii.
The Nerd: What a way to end the series. Would there be a follow-up? Would there be a Turtles IV? Fuck no. Not after that.
The Nerd: It's amazing how it went downhill. The first movie, watching it today, it's still a satisfying experience. It's a good movie. I mean, it's no masterpiece, but it's entertaining, and it leaves you with a happy feeling after watching it. The second one's funny. I mean, it's so bad it's great, but Turtles III is just so bad, it's bad. Yeah, Turtles II had its share of stupidity, like when they crash through a wall, and they find out that Vanilla Ice happens to be performing at a club, right next door to the bad guy's hideout, and he's able to just bust out a Ninja rap all of a sudden? It's retarded, yes, but it's hysterical. It's a guilty pleasure. Now Turtles III, it just makes me feel embarrassed. Like, watching it actually makes me cringe. I feel like I have to turn the volume down, and face the TV toward the wall and watch in a dark corner somewhere where nobody will ever know. It just leaves you with a bad, bad feeling, like, this movie should not exist.
The Nerd: Cowabunga. Cowa-fuckin'-piece-of-dog-shit! I'd rather watch crap oozing out of a buffalo's asshole. I'd rather fucking puke diarrhea up my dick. It fucking sucks so much fucking suck, it fucks. It fucking sucks so much cocksucker motherfucker bullfuck that...well, something must be done.
(The Nerd takes movie, looks at it, then sets on floor before taking out a katana. He braces it, aims it, then splits the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III" VHS tape in two. We see him switch weapon to a hammer.)
The Nerd: IT'S HAMMER TIME!
(He smashes video until all of it is smashed to bits, and he sighs angrily. The camera pans to see the destruction of the VHS copy of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III," accompanied by the "Level complete" music, from "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" for the NES, before the scene fades to black.)