Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991) Review:

It was obvious that with the successful release of the Ninja Turtles comics, cartoon TV series and first theatrical release, that another story of the turtles was asking to be told. As told by the released date, it seems that the production of the next installment was already being set up very quickly after the first film. This is ok if everything is thoroughly prepped but most of the time, this isn't the case. The product becomes rushed and comes out nothing like it's predecessor. From the trailer it may seem like nothing changed, when in fact there are, and its rather distracting.

Yeah these guys haven't changed thankfully
The story takes place after the events of the first movie. So it seems like along with this setting, all the characters should be back too right? Actually, it's a bit of both. Some require explanations for both the missing and the present. Fans will appreciate that their four turtles still look the same and voiced by the same actors. However, a new actress named Paige Turco has taken over for the role of April O'Neil. Although she fits the look of the character more, she isn't given much to do this time. Her character hangs more on the sidelines than anything else, than actually helping her turtle friends fight crime. Also, where is Casey Jones? He's not to be found or even mentioned once throughout the film. Not to mention, the writer behind the screenplay worked on the first movie. How'd he miss that?

Another issue that comes into question in this installment is the return of The Shredder. In first movie, audiences witnessed him being crushed inside a garbage truck compactor. How in God’s name did he survive that? The continuity is lacking here and it's very unclear. But the piece of the movie that fans will not appreciate is the fact that for action sequences, the turtles no longer use the weapons they carry. It would be one thing if they didn't carry them at all, but in every fight they do and they never decide to use them. This particular aspect was something that fans enjoyed about the first one. Why upset the fans? It all comes down to money sad as it is.

When it came to other parts of the screenplay, the whole plot behind the "secret" of the ooze, pardon the pun, didn't contain enough substance to really expand upon anything that wasn't already known. This is rather disappointing because the setup behind the first made it feel like there was more to be told. Yet when viewers arrive at the sequel, the explanation to this setup feels almost washed over like there wasn't anything to begin with. With all this said though, there are still a number of redeeming qualities. First and foremost are the turtles themselves. Although they don't use their designated weapons, they still are fun to watch rolling around, have kicks flying and throwing fists. It seems that even the facial expressions move more fluidly too which is a good thing.

These guys though,.....
It’s also nice to see that Splinter is still included in the movie. Even David Warner, better known as Ed Dillinger from Tron (1982) plays a scientist who understands the toxic ooze. And most possibly, the most surprising of them all is seeing Vanilla Ice performing the most nostalgic of all raps, the Ninja Rap. To think that the first movie had music that dated it is now and understatement. With Vanilla Ice chanting his "Go Ninja Go" lyrics, there's nothing to think except that THIS is the dated movie now. The composer is also the same for this movie and it is understood now that John Du Prez's themes from the first movie are still kept in tact for this movie as well. At least now, there's an official theme. Surprisingly, it still entertains with all its issues.

It still contains fun action sequences and the same turtles but on the whole, the story feels like an empty shell of the first movie. Not to mention, there are a number of things that go unexplained.

Points Earned --> 6:10

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