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Tonight's movie review takes us from the sewers of NYC back to feudal Japan, all the while subjecting us to some of the most questionable jokes yet seen in a direct-to-video flick about four turtles with liver spots.
In the second movie, the Turtles killed Shredder.
In the third movie, the Turtles killed Shredder. Not really, there's no Shredder around this time, but they'll probably end up killing one of his ancestors. I'm still not quite sure why this movie was made...the Turtles were already running low on gas by this point, and even they don't seem excited over the idea of a second sequel. This time around, Casey Jones is back, Splinter is even closer to death, and the Turtles have grown a pretty amazing overbite.
The first two movies were darker, so maybe I just didn't notice that they had stalagmite teeth, but I probably missed the only three good lines of this movie while mesmorized by their enormous piano keys. Compiling in the fact that they've all grown giant freckles all over their heads, and its becoming crystal clear: Father Time treats the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles like sad sacks of shit. This time around, the Turtles need to go back into ancient Japan to save April and realize their predestined fate. How's this work out on the silver screen? Can the Turtles top rappin' Raph and an appearance by Vanilla Ice with a 95-minute block of Japanese warriors who all speak better English than Sly Stallone? Let's find out!
Oh, first, a review on the back of the box: "TURTLES 3 IS THE BEST OF THE SERIES. Loaded with great action, humor, and family-oriented fun!" -- Entertainment Today Magazine. Yeah, I'm wondering the same things you are. What the fuck is Entertainment Today Magazine? Is that some 7-yr old with their first typewriter making a cute family newsletter? If so, that seven-year-old should be shot, because I was almost too embarassed watching this to make it through. But in a good way, since I love TMNT. Here's the rundown...
Those wacky Turtles are back! In the first one, they tried to give the Turtles some elements of realism. In the second, a little more comical, but still pretty good. This time around, everything is abandoned and we get a complete live action cartoon. I don't know if the person who scripted this thought that making Donatello say 'schwing' every dozen lines or so was funny or not, but all of that pales in comparison with what's got to be the worst dub job I've ever seen. You know those old Japanese monster movies, where someone who's sleeping will somehow relay the message that Mothra's invading Tokyo? Its worse. And since the Turtles like doing impressions so much, you'll spend half the movie wondering if there's someone else in the room talking to you.
April's also back again, this time with bags of crap from a flea market. Don't ask me.
Norinaga Castle. Ancient Japan. I watched this on a small television, and misread that to say 'Norwegian Castle', so for the next 90 minutes I was trying to figure out what all these Japanese samurai warriors were doing in Norway. Only thing is, had this took place in Norway, it would've made a little more sense. I don't know too much about vikings, but I can't find an explanation for every Japanese guy talking only in English. Its explained that they needed to learn English for their trade sessions, but somehow, I don't think they'd adopt it as their national language just because of the obvious convenience connection when they're trading for cotton and silk.
Evil Emperor is pissed at his son, and vice versa. Seems there's a war going on that the son doesn't approve of. Ungrateful wanker. Dude, your father sits around in a samurai warrior outfit when he's just drinking tea, you shouldn't be that surprised that he's one of those damned war embracers. Likewise, the father feels dishonored by his bastard pacifist idiot of a son, and sends him away. So the son goes into the Japanese House of Culture, throws a tantrum, and pulls out a mysterious scepter. He should know better, scepter's always lead to trouble, especially when held by those who by all means shouldn't be in a movie about mutant turtles.
The Son Of The Evil Japanese Emperor picks up the scepter, and it starts glowing. All of the sudden, wind starts forming little tornado swirls all around him, and we realize: that's the same scepter that April brought home from the flea market! Wait a second, could this be the key to that whole time travel thing as rumored by the title? I was so looking foward to a Delorean. But it looks like we've gotta take this, becauuuuse...
April and The Son Of The Evil Japanese Emperor have switched places...through time! They even traded clothes! Pretty odd when you consider that they'll stay in these clothes for the rest of the film. It means April's bountiful bosom is free ridin', and that poor SOTEJE is walking around in a bra. Either way, the Turtles' best friend is trapped in the past. And you know what that means, right?
Exactly, listen to Donatello. Splinter breaks the news that the Turtles will have to go back in time to fetch her, but they don't care. They already killed Shredder twice, and making a movie about the Turtles checking out April's latest flea market finds would only appeal to eBay sellers.
Meanwhile, back in feudal Japan, April is regarded as an evil witch, and the Emperor guy wants to know what she did with his son. Not helping matters any is the English trader and his band of English trading people. I'm too lazy to look up the guy's name, so we'll just call him Ben. Since UPS doesn't exist in feudal Japan, Ben had to come all the way to Japan to do the ritual trading, but since he's there, and since he has an English accent, he'd just be the perfect main villain for this film. Meantime, I had a lot of trouble trying to figure out if the Emperor was good or evil. He fought with his son and wanted to cut April up into little pieces, but look at the guy. He looks like a cute little puppy dog with those sad eyes and long, sorrowful sideburns.
See? Irresistable charm.
The Turtles are still at home, killing time before going back in the past in the hopes to draw this movie past the sixty-minute mark. Its our loss, not theirs. There's only been one instance of continuity between the films, and that's the fact that Splinter is about as helpless as a 400 year old mutant rat who talks like he has lung cancer can get. So, since there's a ninja from ancient times in the sewer with them, they're a little concerned about taking off into the past, leaving Splinter to fend for himself. They decide that the stupid rat needs a babysitter. Hmmmm... Well, they can't call April, she's in the past. They could try calling the other april, but Judith Hoag's made it clear that she wants nothing to do with TMNT. What about that misbegotten youth who they helped mold into a hero in the first movie? WHAT ABOUT KANO?!?!? Nah, all passe. There's only one person the Turtles can rely on...its time for a blast from the past...
CASEY JONES! FINALLY, something worthwhile. Casey was great in the first movie, and I was hoping he'd be here to salvage the dignity of this unholy trilogy via the use of hockey sticks and more cheap, tawdry affairs with April...but before you get your hopes up, he's only here to protect Splinter and keep those dirty Japs in check. Oh well.
The Turtles go back in time, switching with four samurai warriors dressed in hot orange jams or ugly sumo outfits. I didn't vidcap it because I have my limits, but for the rest of the movie we'll find these four warriors getting Americanized, playing everything from video games to hockey. Amazingly enough, they don't appear to speak English. Interesting considering their whole fucking village is reading off Shakespeare, but I don't know why I'm griping about plot oversights in a movie about turtles who get mutated into humanoid turtles that have ninja skills and travel through time. Its kind of like complaining about Hell being hot. There's much larger issues here.
First order of business, the Turtles free April. April takes it upon herself to free a guy who looks exactly like Casey Jones. Why, it IS Casey Jones! With a crewcut! Well, its not really him, but chances are good that its one of his ancestors. Anyway, someone should've told this April that she never actually met the guy anyway, and there's no way she should be able to tell what he looks like. But continuity, continuity! April wants to jump on Casey's face, and since this guy has Casey's face, let's set him free too.
April rips off half her skirt, and the Turtles get goofy because of it. Donatello's adopted a nasty habit of giggling with his hands over his mouth by the time this movie began filming, and I had to really restrain myself from burning the VCR any time that happened. Leonardo just asks her to 'take it off', but April doesn't mind the lude comments. She's been hanging around these guys long enough to know that four giant green guys who have to live in the sewer because they're so ugly and who have no visible testicles are gonna be pretty sexually frustrated. Showing a little leg is April's way of saying... 'I understand.'
Skipping ahead a bit, there's another village of Japanese warriors. These are good warriors though, led by Woman Of Great Virtue. WOGV's son is trapped in a burning straw house, so Mikey saves him, earing the Turtles the trust of the village. Leo, jealous that Mike did the heroic deed, pretends the kid needed CPR and gives us the most disturbing scene in TMNT history...
Ewwww. Turtle breath straight down the throat. I'd pick the afterlife.
Anyway, Guy Who Looks Like Casey, who by this point has had three lines and maybe, oh, a minute and a half on screen, starts talking to April as if they've been lovers for the past 20 years. In another life, pal. April doesn't help matters any, getting so flustered and upset over the prospect of having to go home and leave GWLLC that she storms off. Did I miss something? Was there, I don't know, 45 minutes of character development left off the final cut? This isn't the only love affair going on...
Raphael, the only Turtle who didn't have a claim in saving little Yoshi's life earlier, somehow manages to become his favorite mutant freak. Yoshi is crying because he thinks Raphael's gonna die. After Raph cheers him up by telling him that nobody's gonna die, Yoshi is so elated that he shows Raphael the scepter he's been hiding in the cellar for the whole movie! Oh those crazy kids, here the Turtles are wasting hours and hours looking for it, and that little Yoshi had it the whole time! Now they can go home!
...Or not. I really don't know what I missed, and I'm not ruling out falling alseep, but somehow, the bad guys pull off four things: they kidnap April, they kidnap Woman of Virtue, they steal the scepter, and they add turncoat Casey-Guy to their ranks. This all happens in a one-minute span. And for the next ten minutes, everyone does battle. But I didn't understand a thing I saw, so there's no point in telling you about it. Put it this way...there's now at least four different groups of people...the Turtles, two sides of samurai, those dirty Englishmen...it keeps going on. As they battle, someone will run to a door in the middle of nowhere, open in, and about 30 more troops run in screaming with swords. I couldn't follow a second of it...all I know is that the main evil Englishman ends up getting hit with a fireball. Take a look...
There's no better way to kill off a villain than to make him fall 200' to a watery grave. Think about it...that alone saved The Good Son. It was just icing on the cake that they did this whole sequence in slow-motion, revealing all the shoddy effects and giving us clear view that there's no way in hell anything's falling to the water below. Anyways, the Turtles go back home. Almost done...
Michaelangelo's a bit upset. He wanted to stay in Japan because he was hot for Woman of Great Virtue. He says he'll never laugh again, but he didn't take into consideration that Splinter would be wearing a lampshade on his head by the time he finished his sentence. ALL IS WELL! TURTLES FIGHT WITH HONOR AND HAVE WON THE WAR!
The only thing left to do is dance. I didn't catch the song lyrics, so I made my own.
But enough of dat - lidden up, our mission:
You'll watch our movies, and buy our toys..
Making ninja turtles outta little boys!
We're Raph, Mike, Donny and Leo!
In case you missed it - we'll make it crystal clear, yo...
You think this all about fighting n' what's right? You be wrong..
Hell we're gonna make a 4.99 single...outta this song!
So check yourself, and get on track!
Till you stop buying, we keep coming back!
On the actual Turtle scale, this movie pales in comparison to the last two, a feat which some would argue is pretty fucking hard to accomplish. Being a TMNT fan, I liked it. And if you're a five-year-old, you'd probably like it too. So I'd say about...hmmm...99.3% of you out there...you just won't like a damn second of it.
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ROCKET THROWS AN X-E PARTY?! See that fellow to the left? That's our media guru, Dr. Rocket. His real name is Chris, but he hates when people call him that. Chris Rocket likes donkeys and Japanese pop music...but more than anything else, he likes putting together X-E getogethers in Ohio! So come this December 16th at Gameworks (three-floor arcade) in Columbus OH, look for the group of deranged people looking awkwardly at each other, and you've found the X-E crew! Who knows what Rocket has in store for you all...but he has said that he can make special arrangements for those who'd like to make the trip in and stay the night. Should be a happy fun time - e-mail email@example.com for more details.