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TMNT III: A Farce of a Finale

There comes a time in our childhoods when we were thrilled to want to watch a movie, only for it to not meet our expectations.... in a bad way. When Turtle-Mania was at its peak in the early 1990s after the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, Secret of the Ooze, turtle fans would have to wait two more years for a third movie, leaving room for speculation on what it was going to be about.

Perhaps the movie would include more elements from the cartoon, such as the Technodrome, or finally including Krang among some of the other characters we'd become familiar with....

Rather, what we got coming from the trailer was definitely something turtle fans (including myself) didn't see coming, leaving us with more of a "huh?" than a "cowabunga".

What's it about?

After April makes a visit to an antique shop she brings home a scepter that takes her and the four turtles off to feudal Japan. April immediately gets kidnapped, and it's up to the turtles to find her, and it's here that we meet two of the most boring and pathetic villains in TMNT history.

Walker (left) being a weapons dealer allied with Norunaga (right) a Japanese Daimyo.

While the concept of the turtles going back in time had already been done for a second arcade game, it's just executed so poorly here, and being a movie aimed at family I could see kids being so uninterested in these two. Their dialogue is boring, they make the plot move too slowly, and I just don't see them having the same level of intimidation that Shredder had.

To make matters worse, the Jim Henson animatronics were given up to apparently save money on the film's budget, and because of this, the animatronics introduced for the turtles even look like a severe downgrade.

I'll always prefer the first two movie animatronics over.... these.

So aside from the story and characters, was there anything decent that I liked from this? Well, the soundtrack has a few interesting songs, coming from Technotronic, ZZ Top, and Baltimora with their "Tarzan Boy" track that all give that late 80s, early 90s feel.

Honestly it's sad to see a third part of a movie series flop so hard with a lackluster execution. It had two years of waiting to have the potential to be the finale that turtle fans were looking forward to. And from this alone, even the cartoon series was just barely hanging on after the reception the movie got. Kids were turning to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and that was already a sign that Turtle-Mania would be just a memory.

The original promotional movie poster at least gave it promise to look like the final part we were expecting.

On the topic of the cartoon series, there was one episode late into the series where the turtles went back in time along with Shredder, but in my opinion, the plot was handled far better, dare I say it should have been the plot of the third movie, and it might as well have been since Shredder somehow came back to life in the second movie, after a trash compactor crushed him at the end of the first one.

"The Legend of Koji" premiered several months after the release of the third movie, with Shredder using a time portal device to change history to make sure Splinter and the turtles won't exist in modern time. It's also where we see past history of the Foot Clan.

In the aftermath of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, at least the cartoon was able to keep a firm ground on the franchise up until 1996. As of today, the movie could be considered a guilty pleasure to some, a misunderstood film to others, and just something to pretend that doesn't exist to the rest of the fans.


What are your memories of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III? Leave a comment and see you next article!

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Benjanime Posted on Mar 24, 2022 at 08:21 PM


we'll watch them with full blown nostalgia, my love ❤

Julie Posted on Mar 24, 2022 at 07:41 PM

I didn't watch any of the three movies yet so I'm looking forward to be introduced to them by my beloved @Benjanime. ;)
And one more charismatic and intelligent article with the opinion of a lovely, awesome boy. I love you forever, my sweet @Benjanime. ❤❤

Benjanime Posted on Mar 22, 2022 at 03:51 PM

@Mr Magic

i totally forgot about the movie figures!

Benjanime Posted on Mar 22, 2022 at 03:50 PM


i'm going to guess that the director and writers behind the movie only ever had their own villains on their mind and weren't familiar with that character, let alone the actual comics. instead just looking for a franchise to give dumb jokes to along with their story

Mr Magic Posted on Mar 22, 2022 at 03:05 PM

I still remember my old Raphael Samurai figure.

echidna64 Posted on Mar 22, 2022 at 03:51 AM

Also, how is Usagi Yojimbo not in this movie?

echidna64 Posted on Mar 22, 2022 at 03:49 AM

I never liked this movie, nothing but lame wet willy jokes. It always felt more like a direct-to-video movie than part of a trilogy. I'm not opposed to the time travel idea, it actually would have been fun to go into the future as well a la Bill and Ted. But alas we are just left with a dorky bird-obsessed villain and a loose connection to the previous films.

Benjanime Posted on Mar 22, 2022 at 03:47 AM

@Mr Magic

coming back to it today i just can't bring myself to keep awake for it, it's that boring to me really.


i recall my older brother and his friends actually coming up with this concept where shredder becomes "hyper shredder" or "neon shredder" being a much stronger form of super shredder from secret of the ooze but that's all i can remember lol

Mr Magic Posted on Mar 21, 2022 at 07:45 PM

The idea of not having Shredder was odd. I do remember liking the movie regardless, though.

Vaporman87 Posted on Mar 21, 2022 at 07:33 PM

Yeah, I'm in complete agreement. Without Shredder and the budget to make the turtles animate convincingly, this movie was a total waste. I think the concept of going back in time could have worked pretty well in the hands of a better writing team and with Shredder once again stirring up trouble... perhaps with Krang at his side.

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