How the 1990 movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles created modern superhero comedy

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There are many amazing aspects to the original live-action “Ninja Turtles” – you can see future stars Sam Rockwell and Skeet Ulrich standing side by side all at once – but perhaps the most important is how point it has influenced the tone of modern superhero movies. . A lot of it boils down to the look of the film, which rather than the colorful cartoon palette wears the same hyper-stylized, dark (perhaps “Batman-inspired) big-city look of Tim Burton that you would see throughout. 90s in movies like “Jacob’s Ladder”, “The Crow”, “Seven” and “The City of Lost Children”. “The city looks like a dirty version of a lousy film noir, and the sewers are like medieval dungeons.” A few years later, 1993’s “Super Mario Brothers” tried to tap into the same grim visual and arguably went too far with its cyberpunk grime and repulsive puppets.

By the time “Ninja Turtles” hit theaters, other films had tried and failed to tap into the same kid-friendly comic book tone, namely George Lucas’ deaf take on Marvel’s “Howard the Duck” and desperately schlocky from Cannon Films “Masters of the Universe.” The biggest sin of both of these efforts was straying too far from the source material, something “Ninja Turtles” took to heart in maintaining the appearance of the characters and their New York surroundings. Casey Jones looked like Casey Jones with his trademark hockey mask on. Splinter looked like Splinter. Their subway den looked like a real sewer, not something sanitized for children. This fidelity to the material turned out to be much harder than Barron let it appear. Even the sequel to New Line’s original “Ninja Turtles” trilogy went too far to camp with “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze” and its embarrassing cameo Vanilla Ice, or the 1993 trilogy capsule “Teenage. Mutant “. Ninja Turtles III “and his absurd / lazy time travel vanity.


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