Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever (Review)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever

Directed by Roy Burdine and Lloyd Goldfine

Turtles Forever is the 25th Anniversary celebration that brings together different branches of the Ninja Turtle franchise in a way that is not only a good story, but a fun reference to the past 25 years of the franchise. Both people like me, who grew up with the older cartoon in the 1980s and the more modern fans who were raised on the modern cartoon will have plenty to make them smile.

For those of you who never really watched the modern TMNT cartoon, it is a slightly more realistic take with less crazy stuff and more actual deaths. Though they still have a bunch of wacky adventures and aliens and all that fun stuff. The Turtles still have the same basic personalities but they are less over the top.

When the 80s Turtles show up, their voices are different from the classic voices (due to union issues, IIRC) but they have the same animation. There are plenty of Easter eggs – including Tokka and Rahzar in it! We also see Irma and unmutated gang members (including unmutated Bebop and Rocksteady) back in the 80s Turtles’ universe. There are lots of other references to the old show, including the 80s Turtles finding all sorts of ways to use the terrain to take out bad guys instead of directly attacking them.

This is dubbed off of a TV broadcast because I am cheap and the DVD isn’t out yet! For purposes of this review, we will refer to the 1980’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as 80s Turtles (80s Leonardo, 80s Donatello, 80s Raphael, and 80s Michelangelo) and the modern TMNTs by their regular names. 80s Shredder will be referred to as such, and Utrom Shredder is the modern version. 80s Splinter and Splinter. Any other random characters (like 80s April O’Neal) will follow the same pattern. Isn’t that easy? So let’s begin. First up is the Roll Call:

80s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – We all know how this goes: Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines, Raphael is cool but crude, and Michelangelo is a party dude! Raphael even breaks the fourth wall like he does from the old cartoon. The 80s Turtles are very fond of noogies.
Modern Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – The modern Turtles are a bit more low-key and realistic, fitting in with their more realistic cartoon reality. Leonardo is the leader, Donatello is still smart, Raphael is hardcore, and Michelangelo acts similar to the 80s Turtles.
Utrom Shredder – Utrom Shredder is an alien disguised at a human who was the central villain for the first three seasons. Other Shredders are an ancient Shredder, Shredder’s daughter Karai, and a digital copy of Shredder called the Cyber Shredder. Utrom Shredder is brought back by 80s Shredder and concocts a plot to destroy all turtles throughout the multiverse.
80s Shredder – Shredder was Oroku Saki and was the enemy of Splinter back when he was a human. He was played by Uncle Phil from i>Fresh Prince of Bel Air James Avery back in the day. Shredder’s plans were always defeated by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Krang – Krang is the evil brain from Dimension X. He isn’t a race of brains, just a guy removed from his body, and thus he has his own robot bodies. Both of the classic Krang bodies are here, as are such Dimension X favorites as the Technodrome. Krang spends most of the film quibbling with Shredder, and has no Modern counterpart.
Modern Splinter – Master Splinter is the rat who was Hamato Yoshi’s pet, and raised the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and trained them to fight against the Shredder.
80s Splinter – 80s Splinter isn’t a mutated rat, but is Hamato Yoshi mutated into a rat. He trained the 80s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Bebop and Rocksteady – Everyone’s favorite hench-mutants return and they’re as dumb as ever! Look for the cameos of their non-mutant forms.
Hun – Hun (real name Hunter Mason) is the leader of the Purple Dragons street gang. I thought he was named Han at first and wrote the entire review with “Han” and even had Han Solo jokes, but then looked things up on Wikipedia and everything was ruined. Damn you, Wikipedia. Now I have to make jokes about Attila the Hun. That’s no fun. Hun is eventually mutated into a turtle monster that resembles Slash from the 1980s cartoon.
Classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo are all hardcore black and white ninja masters! They are also the Turtles Prime, thus the origin of all Turtle Universes!

A robbery of some high-tech devices goes awry as Ninja Turtles attack those thugs!

Meanwhile…Master Splinter’s stories (soap opera) are interrupted by a news report of surveillance camera footage of four giant turtles. Splinter at first admonishes his students for being careless and getting spotted, but they have all been cooped up with him all night long. Thus, confusion sets in.

Donatello analyses the data and sees the turtles were fighting the Purple Dragon Gang, who are lead by a guy named Han. The turtles go to investigate.

Han is being led by his men to what they have captured during the robbery…the TMNTs! Except, not the TMNT from this reality, it is the 1980’s TMNTs!!!

Han is confused, Michelangelo is cracking jokes, and Rafael is sarcastic (excuse me…cool but rude). And breaking the fourth wall, which really confuses people in the movie. Han also finds out about the mutagen they had on them, testing it on a fly and seeing the fly become a monster. Han will kill the turtles…until the turtles show up! The other turtles! The modern TMNTs. They fight the Purple Dragon Gang and during the battle Michelangelo takes a shining to the 80s TMNTs.

They escape out of the wall after it is blown open. The Turtles and the 80s Turtles talk, the 80s Turtles agree to explain how they got there…after lunch! They go to get pizza, and start wandering around in public. Because this universe does not know about the TMNT, people freak out and the Modern Turtles are upset, they go to get help. The 80s Turtles head to a pizza shop, and the cops arrive. The 80s Turtles are grabbed by the Modern Turtles and the Modern Splinter. Finally, the 80s Turtles explain how they got there.

They were fighting 80s Shredder on the Technodrome and were rewiring the trandimensional portal to send the Technodrome back, but when Foot Soldiers attacked there was an explosion and they woke up in the city, saw some criminals, and started to fight them. Got it?

The two groups of Turtles track the Technodrome to under the city. 80s Shredder sees eight turtles, and sends out Bebop and Rocksteady with a bajillion Foot Soldiers. The 80s Turtles jump right in to battle, with the Turtles watching slackjawed. They start fighting as well, shocked that the Foot Soldiers are robots. The 80s Turtles constantly use terrain like ceiling dirt and stalactites to stop foes. The fight continues until 80s Shredder realizes there might be Shredders and Krangs in this dimension, so they make a run for it so he can check. 80s Shredder blows up his own foot soldiers to provide cover for his escape.

80s Shredder looks up this universe’s Shredder, Utrom Shredder. (There is no Krang in this dimension.) 80s Shredder finds him off-world, beams him back to the Technodrome…but Utrom Shredder is just an octopus frozen in ice!

They wake him up, but Utrom Shredder is not very nice. They show him around the ship, but it is a trick to knock him out with gas. Surprisingly intelligent trick from the 80s crew. They plan to dissect Utrom Shredder, but the plan is foiled when Utrom Shredder’s daughter Karai shows up.

The eight turtles are cruising in the Turtle Van when they are ambushed by Han, this time Han has a goon who was splashed by mutagen during the previous battle, turning him into a crazed monster dog guy. Said mutant tears up the turtles and Splinter until Splinter blasts him with missiles in the Turtle Van. Goo…EVERYWHERE!

The Turtles jump to the sewers (just leaving their flipped over van in the middle of the road), but Han chases trying to get the mutagen. He gets it…splattered on his hand! The Turtles run off, and Han mutates into a scary turtle that looks very similar to Spike from the 1980s cartoon. He is picked up by Utrom Shredder and the Technodrome. Utrom Shredder has a new Shredder body.

The Technodrome is getting upgraded, as are the Foot Soldiers, by Utrom Shredder. He’s also making mutant troops to battle the Turtles with.

Back at the Turtles’ HQ, the Turtles set out to make a multi-dimensional portal stick out of a flashlight (80s Donatello’s idea, of course!) Utrom Shredder learns of the multiverse and the Turtles being in every dimension. Imagine how mad that makes him.

Mutant Han, Bebop, Rocksteady track the Turtles to their lair with that nose tracking device from the 1980s cartoon. You remember that device. The mutants and Foot Soldiers 2.0 attack. They are too powerful even for all eight turtles. Han reveals Utrom Shredder is back, so way to blow any surprise later. Splinter gets knocked out, and the ceiling is collapsing on the Turtles. 80s Donatello gets the transdimensional portal stick to work, and they teleport out…

To the 1980s Turtles dimension!

The 80s Turtles will go to get their anti-Technodrome gear and return to the Modern dimension, but first they must save April! They save her every day…she’s currently being attacked by mutant bowling balls, pizza, bananas, and leprechauns. Just your average Thursday.

After the fun, they go to sewer, and meet 80s Splinter while getting their gear. Back in the other dimension, the Technodrome 2.0 has arisen and is attacking the city, including April O’Neal and Casey Jones, who are always right in the forefront of the messes as they happen.

The Turtles open a portal and see the chaos, their weapons are no match (the 80s Turtles have exploding throwing stars and anti-technodrome roller skates.) So they break out their rides – the Turtle Party Wagon and the Turtle Blimp. The Technodrome 2.0 takes out the military, and unleashes mutant goons including Han and Tokka and Rahzar! Holy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Batman!

Then the Turtles warp in riding the Turtle Party Wagon and the Turtle Blimp! They blast up the muties and crash the blimp. Then the eight team up and head into the Technodrome 2.0. Utrom Shredder just lets them walk in, enraging 80s Shredder and Krang, causing them to get tied up by Rocksteady and Bebop. Utrom Shredder needs the turtles alive for reasons to be explained in a few minutes.

The Turtles get captured almost immediately! Where was Admiral Akbar to tell them it was a trap? The animation goes all Matrixy and the Turtles are put into a spinning machine room that will tear them apart to analyze their DNA. Utrom Shredder is doing so because there are Turtles in every dimension (cue shots of various Turtle franchises including Samurai Turtles, Live Action Turtles, Anime Turtles, Baby Turtles…) so Utrom Shredder will find the base dimension Turtle Prime to destroy it and kill all of the Turtles in every dimension.

Turtle Prime located and the Turtles are disintegrated. Welp, that’s the end of the Turtles! It’s been a great 25 years…

The Technodrome 2.0 beams out to Turtle Prime. Casey and April mourn the loss of the Turtles…until the 8 Turtles fall from the sky! How did that happen? Well, Utrom Shredder’s daughter Karai briefly spies on her dad, so put 2 and 2 together.

The Turtles know their rescue wasn’t part of the plan, so Utrom Shredder will think they are dead and not coming after him. They head to Purple Dragon lair to get the high tech gear the gang robbed to use to modify the dimensional portal stick to track the Technodrome 2.0. Wow, this cartoon is getting very techy.

But first, the universe is being erased!

At the gang’s HQ, Han and his men attack…but Han sees the light as the universe starts to erase around him and gives them the gear to track Utrom Shredder. The Turtles run to where the Technodrome 2.0 was, and April and Casey bite it, erasure style. The Turtles beam out just in time…and land in Turtle Prime.

Turtle Prime is a black and white noir world just like in the original gritty comic. Because it is the gritty original comic! The Turtle Primes spot them and attack, Leonardo narrating the whole time (actual lines from the original comic, IIRC) which is hilarious. The Turtle Primes stop when Shredder’s name is mentioned. Of course, they have vowed revenge on their own version of Shredder.

The Turtle Primes are super-hardcases, even more hard than Modern Raphael, who likes them at first before they reject him for being too soft. The Turtles explain it is the Utrom Shredder come to their world to destroy it, and they need to find the Technodrome 2.0. Which is right behind them blowing up the city.

They go attack. The Turtles Prime yell for Shredder to face them…Utrom Shredder hesitates, but goes out to fight them himself. (In the meantime, Shredder Prime shows up and gets garbage thrown at him!) Utrom Shredder is ambushed by all 12 Turtles, and finds out Karai let them live and also released Modern Splinter, 80s Shredder, and Krang to aid in stopping Utrom Shredder.

Bebop and Rocksteady are tied up inside, for those of you worried about Bebop and Rocksteady.

Utrom Shredder doesn’t care that he will destroy the multiverse, and when punched, grows to giant size and starts smashing things up. Even giant Krang doesn’t stand up to giant Utrom Shredder.

Everyone else attacks the giant suit, but seems invulnerable. Until the Turtle Primes crash him into the beam from the Technodrome 2.0. The beam is the only thing that can damage Utrom Shredder. The plan is to crash Utrom Shredder into it, but by then Bebop and Rocksteady get free and trip over the power cord turning off the laser beam. D’oh!

Utrom Shredder grabs the Turtle Primes, starts to crush them, the world begins to erase…

Until exploding throwing stars from the 80s Turtles cause Utrom Shredder to drop the Turtle Primes. But the blasts are not enough to stop him…until Bebop and Rocksteady plug the laser beam back in…disintegrating Utrom Shredder!

The multiverse is saved, Utrom Shredder is dead. The Turtle Primes depart, and it is goodbye time as the 80s crew all gets on the Technodrome (with Shredder and Krang giving threats of blasting the 80s Turtles with their Giggle Ray!) The Modern Turtles return home, leaving the Turtle Primes to fade us off as the movie ends…

Not yet, as we fade to the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comic being drawn in 1984, complete with Eastman and Laird voice cameos.

The end.

Now, this is pretty much awesome. Even as someone who hasn’t kept up with the Turtles franchise for over a decade I was entertained by the flick. I am one of those weirdoes who is into alternate realities and all that jazz in my science fiction, so getting that and what is basically a love letter to all the different franchises over the years makes for a memorable time.

Rated 10/10 (Heroes. In. A. Halfshell. Turtle. Power. Go. Green. Machine. Dudes!)

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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!