Films with cartoon-y aesthetics are gaining more acceptability with the cult success of Scott Pilgrim, but movies have tried to venture on that road twenty years ago. I’ve already written about Riki-Oh but now I’m here to talk about a more Hollywood and less bloody version, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The film includes a rat character – coming with an almost offensive Japanese accent – that I don’t remember in the cartoon’s I’ve seen as a child. This character is a gateway to the film’s origin story that includes his younger self as a small rat puppet doing karate moves, teaching his martial art skills to the turtles’ miniature versions and jumping on a guy’s face and this is already the greatest movie ever made.
Elias Koteas, a younger version of Robert de Niro and the rich man’s Christopher Meloni, is also in the movie, at a time when the world and Hollywood wasn’t so nice to him. How this man can be sexy and be able to pull off long, 90’s grungy long hair is beyond my feeble understanding. He and a love interest of a news reporter join the teenage ninja turtles in a retreat in the love interest’s farm-house for some meditation, for some reason. They’re freshening up before saving the rat from a Darth Vader lookalike of a samurai, ninjas and their ridiculously antisocial minions (Hey look! Teenagers with cutoff faded jeans playing pool!). Cue the slapstick martial arts standoffs that take place in the film’s New York mise-en-scene.