Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a brand-new franchise for me. I mean the only time I’ve ever mentioned the franchise was when I added Rocksteady as one of my favorite hippo characters ever. That was for the Exit Limbo article (you can read it here) and since then I’ve not touched on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Which is why I think it’s the perfect time to revisit the franchise. First and foremost, we have a great game to go along with this article. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection. And secondly, we’ll take a closer look at all the live-action movies from that very franchise. The three from the ’90s and the rebooted two from 2010s onwards.
But we can’t go any further with this article without a mention of the game that inspired it.
What Is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection All About?
Developed by Digital Eclipse and published by Konami (US), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection assembles thirteen classic TMNT games by Konami in one incredible package. This collection provides a unique opportunity for gamers to experience these immensely popular and very influential games on Steam and includes a fantastic set of new quality-of-life features.
That’s right. The Cowabunga Collection compiles thirteen Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games developed by Konami between 1989 and 1994. Almost every game including both the Western and Japanese versions. With the exceptions being the arcade version of Turtles in Time. And the NES version of Tournament Fighters, which did not have Japanese versions.
13 iconic TMNT games. One shell of a time. KONAMI’S Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection is Available Now at IndieGala. Get it here.
And What About The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movies?
As we previously mentioned, we’re gonna mainly focus on the 5 already released live-action movies. The trilogy from the ’90s and the two Michael Bay produced from the 2010s. Not the animated series. Nor the original comic books. We’re gonna focus on the past and the future of live-action movies. Let’s get started, shall we?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The OG 1990 movie started the cinematic transfer to the silver screen. And the first installment in the original trilogy. Yes, the movie follows the turtles on a quest to save their master Splinter, from the Shredder and his Foot Clan. With their new allies, April O’Neil and Casey Jones, respectively. Although with mixed reviews, the 1990 movie got a huge response from the audience. And thus was a huge commercial hit. At the same time, this is an adaptation of the early Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics. With several elements taken from the animated series airing at the time. However, the turtle costumes were developed by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. One of Jim Henson’s last projects before his death shortly after the premiere.
Fun fact: Jennifer Beals, Marisa Tomei, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Melanie Griffith, Sean Young, Lorraine Bracco, Winona Ryder, & Brooke Shields were all considered for the role of April O’Neil.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze
A year after the release of the original movie, the sequel was ready for the fans. The Secret of the Ooze is the title, and it follows the adventures of the four Turtles. Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, and their Master Splinter. The sequel sheds some light on the origins of Splinter and the Turtles. As well as introduces two new villains, Tokka and Rahzar. But unlike the first film, it differs in the use of the Turtles’ weapons. They instead fight bare-fisted for much of this film. As part of an attempt to tone down the violence of the previous installment. It received mixed reviews from critics, who felt it departed from the much darker tone of the original 1990 film. But like the previous installment, was successful at the box office.
Fun fact: The movie has a Jim Henson dedication.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
The final installment in the original trilogy and the movie put a stop to any further movies for a long time. Indeed. There were early plans for a fourth installment. Playmates catalogs indicated a fourth film would be released in 1996. But it never materialized due to the disappointment from the third installment. Not to mention, starting with this film, All Effects Company took over and worked on the animatronic effects for the turtles and Splinter costumes. But the concept for this movie is loosely based on a story called “Masks”. From issues #46 and #47 of the original Mirage comics. Sadly it’s still not that good, even today.
Fun fact: This film brings back the character of Casey Jones, who wasn’t in the second movie because the studio wanted an even less violent film. This is also why the turtles rarely use their weapons in the second movie.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
New rebooted live-action movies with a new cast and crew. Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Danny Woodburn, Abby Elliott, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, and Alan Ritchson. Just to name a few. But while there was a new and exciting team behind the material, the problems remained the same. Negative reviews from critics for its inconsistent tone and poor characterization for instance.
The 2016 sequel was a slight improvement over its predecessor. But with serious flaws when it comes to the wit or anarchic energy of the comics that birthed the franchise. And much like with the previous 90’s movies, there should have been another movie. In this case, the third installment of the franchise. But it got the boot, and Noel Fisher (Mickey) stated in an interview that he and the other Turtle actors had a three film contract. Not two. Megan Fox had also signed on for three films but that’s all behind us now.
Let’s take a quick look at the future of the franchise.
The Future Looks… Bright?
In June 2018, it was reported that Paramount Pictures will once again reboot the series with Bay, Fuller and Form returning to produce the film and Andrew Dodge writing the script. Back in 2019, the script was still in development, but things changed in 2021. That’s right. In August 2021, Colin Jost and Casey Jost were announced to be doing a rewrite of the script. Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller, Scott Mednick and Galen Walker are on board as producers. Paramount still sees the IP as a high priority at the studio. Especially after Nickelodeon announced it was relaunching the animated movie with Seth Rogen exec producing for 2023.
But Are You A Fan Of The Franchise?
Which movie is your favorite? Let us know in the comment section. We’d love to know all about it.ve to know all about them too.