The original 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has remained a favorite for 2 decades and for good reason (and no it is not all nostalgia). This movie became a classic for a number of reasons, let’s look at 10 of them!
Jim Henson’s Creature Shop
CGI? Nope. The original turtles came in the form of rubber, paint, robotics, and hard work. A big part of the turtles appeal came from the talented people at the Henson company (and of course the hard work of actors in the suits and puppeteers).
Good storytelling goes a long away, even for a story about teenage ninja turtles who are mutants. The importance of pacing, character development, and subtlety bring a story to life. This movie took us through the highs and lows of the turtles and supporting characters showing that these turtles had more than cheap laughs and ninja kicks.
Gritty New York City
This movie made no attempts to cover the grittiness of 1990’s NYC. The turtles lived in the city and it was apparent rather than being used as a backdrop.
A fan favorite Casey Jones was brought to the screen in a realistic portrayal by superb actor (then relatively unknown) Elias Koteas. He brought so much to this character that it still resonates with fans to this day.
April O Neil
Judith Hoag who had been seen in mostly television appearances up to this point brought April to life. She was a reporter with problems including 4 big green ones. The movie demonstrated how important she is to the turtles mythology.
One huge aspect This movie really hit on was the brotherly aspect of the turtles. They ribbed and teased each other, fought, and ultimately came together as a family would.
“T U R T L E power”. This soundtrack just kicked ass and you know it.
Ominous. Intimidating. A leader. This is Shredder. The moment he enters the warehouse in front of the Foot clan you knew this guy meant business. They didn’t even have to hide him behind some mechanized suit to do it.
Action You Can Follow
I know in today’s world things have to be bigger, badder, and faster but sometimes a fight scene where you actually can follow the movements can make a lot of sense. This movie did this well from Raph’s rooftop battle to the antique store fire to the final battle with Shredder. It also helped that these were real people doing the stunts.
Just like it says, Leonardo was the leader and it was apparent! He wasn’t there only to bark orders he brought his brothers together and united them.They would have defeated Shredder without him.