April 22nd, 2009
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. As you all know, I love everything Nostalgic. But since day one of starting this show, everybody has been requesting me to do a certain CGI film that actually came out rather recently. A little film known as "TMNT."
Title card of TMNT and the footage of it are shown.
NC (Voiceover): I guess since I grew up with the other Ninja Turtle movies, everyone wants to know what I think of this newest one. And since the Ninja Turtles were a large part of my childhood, I could technically include this as something nostalgic.
NC: Now, I am not one to fall victim to peer pressure. I just do what everybody tells me in the hopes of feeling less insecure. So I have decided to review the latest installment of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle films. Is it any good? Is it as strange or as bad as some of the others? Well, let's take a look.
(The movie begins)
NC (Voiceover): So it starts off with our opening sequence, which apparently is so cheap, that they couldn't even bother to spell out the entire title. We get a narrator, played by Laurence Fishburne, who introduces us to our heroes.
Narrator: Four turtles. Genetically reborn in the sewers of New York.
NC: Wow. Brief.
NC (Voiceover): I mean, geez. They expect us to buy this whole mutated turtle thing pretty quickly, don't they? Most people would consider that a little out of the norm. I mean, is the title the only real backstory we're gonna get about them? How the hell do you think they described the Star Wars trilogy?
The scene of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader battling plays out.
NC (Voiceover): (speaks like TMNT's narrator): A guy with the sword. His father. (Darth Vader cuts off Luke's hand) They... don't get along. (normal) This is, like, the briefest description of the Ninja Turtles ever. Imagine if you didn't know who the Ninja Turtles were. You'd swear you were high listening to this.
Narrator: Named after the great Renaissance masters and trained as ninjas. But now a greater evil is poised to destroy their very brotherhood. An evil born ... 3,000 years ago.
NC (as the narrator): Yeah, we thought the Turtles story was kinda slow and a little lame, so we decided to make up another story. Enjoy.
Narrator: And a warrior king named Yaotl led a brotherhood. In his quest, the warrior learned of a constellation called the Stars of Kikan, opening a portal to a world of unknown power. Upon the portal's opening, 13 monsters were released into our world.
(Yeah, this is just what you think of in a Ninja Turtles movie, doesn't it)
NC: Uh. Are we still in the same movie?
NC (vo): When did we suddenly become "300"? I mean, you just glanced over the Turtle's backstory. What makes you think we're gonna give a crap about this one?
(As a battle begins)
NC: For Gondor and Middle Earth!
(Battle scene shows with Lord of the Rings clips)
NC (vo): You know what I just realized? This isn't a movie. This is an intro to a fucking video game.
(Battle scene continues, then the subtitle "Press 'A' to Skip" appears in the corner)
Narrator: The warrior king was left to eternally walk the earth, unable to die or forget his horrible mistake.
(Dissolve to the next scene in present day with the subtitle "Central America")
NC (vo): Central America? WHAT IS GOING ON?!
NC: If you didn't show me the credits, I'd swear I was still watching the trailers for five different movies.
NC (vo): So, OK. We're in Central America, now, I guess. The perfect setting for the Ninja Turtles, why not, as we see an evil crime lord who rules over the good people of a local village. He drives off in his jeep, but is stopped by a tree in the middle of the road.
Crime Lord: Remove it! (His men are suddenly captured by some unseen force) Why, you...show yourself!
Lackey: He punishes those who prey upon the weak. He's coming.
NC: (as Lackey) It is the demon simply known as ... George of the Jungle.
NC (vo): No, it turns out to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja...Chupacabra, who puts that evil criminal in his place. This draws the attention of April O'Neil, voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar, who gave up her job as newsreporter and now has the popular occupation of...Tomb Raider Adventure Huntress! I don't know. Her job is not fully explained.
(*It should be noted that April never was a reporter in this movie. At least not supposedly)
(April suddenly falls down a hole and is caught by somebody)
Voice: It's a long way from the city to just drop in.
(We pan to see our Ninja Turtle leader, Leonardo. We even get to see his name put under him)
NC: OK. So, they barely explain the turtles' backstory because apparently they're making this movie for the fans who already know it. The fans who know it SO WELL that they have to see the names of the turtles under them, so that they can tell which one is which. THAT makes sense!
NC (vo): So Leonardo explains to April that he's in Central America because his master Splinter sent him there. Why? Because he needs to find his inner bullshit or something to lead the rest of the turtles properly. And how are the other turtles you may ask? Well, April fills us in that Donatello is a customer service rep for a computer company and Michelangelo is a children's party entertainer.
NC: Wait. Wait. Wait. The turtles have JOBS?! ... Well, I guess they have to get their pizza somehow, but, what? Were they stealing the money before? Are the checks sent to the sewers? Do they go to the bank? Do they apply online? What the hell am I talking about? TURTLES CAN'T GET JOBS!
NC (vo): Raphael, on the other hand, has turned into a reptile without a cause, as he continues to be doing what the turtles SHOULD be doing: fighting crime. Only he dresses up as a fearsome crimefighter simply known as the Nightwatcher. Because I guess a giant radioactive green monster just wasn't intimidating enough.
April: Your training period ended a year ago, and Splinter says you don't write anymore.
Leo: Splinter sent me down here to become a better leader. I can't go back a failure. Besides, these people need me more than my brothers do.
NC (vo): Did we miss some movie somewhere? I mean, the last time I checked, they went time-traveling or some shit. When did all this self-discovery nonsense happen?
- If it's not obvious by now, the turtles broke up after the Shredder was killed in Turtles II.
Leo: I don't know. I just know something's missing.
NC (vo): (as Leonardo) Like the plot that brought us here. (normal) So we cut back to New York as we see the other turtles doing their normal schtick: skateboarding, eating pizza, all that good stuff. But Mikey seems to miss the good ol' days.
Michelangelo: (watches a news report on TV) I remember how that used to feel, busting up crime syndicates. Sure, they had a bunch of guns, (stands up on the couch to flex his arms) but they weren’t like these guns.
Donatello: Why do you do this to yourself, Mikey? Those boring days are over. Forget about it. Go on with your life. Concentrate on your work.
Raphael: (walks in from above) Yeah, yeah, spoken like a true has-been.
NC: WHAT AM I MISSING?! WHY AREN'T YOU FIGHTING CRIME ANYMORE?! Nobody’s stopping you!
NC (voiceover): This isn't the amphibian version of “The Watchmen”! Just…go…do it!
Donatello: (to Raphael) I’d love to know what it is that you do that is so great. At least we’re contributing around here. All you do is sleep all day.
Raphael: Yeah. I do nothing. You’re right. (points to Donatello) You got me all figured out.
NC (voiceover): Wow. Remember when these guys used to be fun? That was before every single comic book hero had to be brooding 24 hours a day. Seriously, lighten up!
Raphael: First of all, this team you speak of doesn’t exist anymore. And second of all… (He surprises Donatello with a threatening fist)
Splinter: (off-screen) Raphael.
NC (voiceover): (as Splinter) Excuse me, I just walked in from Kung Fu Panda.
Splinter: Donatello, his home has become like an empty shell. Each of your brothers…
NC: (buries his face in his hands) Oh, God. What did they do to Splinter’s voice?
NC (voiceover): He sounds like Mr. Miyagi if he smoked a million Marlboros.
Splinter: If you don’t learn to recognize this…
(In a voiceover, NC mocks Splinter in a slurred voice)
(NOTE: This was before NC knew more about Mako, the actor who lent his voice for Splinter in this film)
NC (voiceover): So April returns home bringing a statue to I guess her employer, a man named Mr. Winters, voiced by Patrick Stewart.
Mr. Winters: These statues may appear to be only stone, but they’re like family to me.
NC (voiceover): But it turns out he has sinister plans, as he’s hired some rogue men who may sound familiar to you.
Karai: The Foot Clan and I have come to hear your offer.
NC (voiceover): The Foot Clan? Weren’t they following the Shredder? Who’s this chick? Is she the Shredder’s sister, or…are they gonna explain anything here?! HELLO?! EXPLANATION?! BACKSTORY? ANYTHING?
NC: Okay, you know what? They’re just making up anything they want. They don’t care what it connects to. For all I know, Michelangelo is a dentist, Leonardo’s an All-Star, and April’s a prostitute. (Photoshopped images of what NC described are shown briefly) Who cares? I don’t. Let’s see how they botch it up more!
NC (voiceover): So Raph, while continuing to play turtle in shining armor, comes across an old friend: good old Casey Jones.
Casey Jones: You haven’t fooled me, Raph.
Raphael: (sighs) How did you know it was me?
Casey Jones: Wasn’t that hard, man. You know, you look like a big metal turtle.
Raphael: (takes off his helmet) It’s that obvious, huh?
NC: (scoffs) Next thing you’ll be telling me, Clark Kent is Superman. Pfft!
NC (voiceover): So they both sit and talk about how much it sucks to be a superhero.
Raphael: I-I don’t care about Leo anymore. I hope he never comes back.
Casey Jones: Come on, aren’t you being a little hard on the guy?
Raphael: I don’t know; it’s possible. Guess it comes from growing up with a house full of brothers.
Casey Jones: I’m not trying to tell you what to do. I’m just saying that if it was my brother, I’d find a way to work it out.
NC (voiceover): You know, this isn’t exactly what I had in mind when I think of a Ninja Turtles movie. (as an announcer while a fake TV promo featuring footage from the movie plays out) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Giant reptiles talking about things! Expressing their emotions…and analyzing them! Tune in next week when Donatello discovers that he might have bi-polar depression! Stay tuned! (normal) So we finally see Leonardo return home and be reunited with his brothers and sensei.
Splinter: (hugs Leonardo) I have missed you, Leonardo.
Leonardo: I’ve missed you, too, Father.
NC (voiceover): (as Splinter) Stop calling me that. I’m a fucking rat. (normal) So now that Leo’s returned, they finally decide to go fight crime again, it’s about time. But Leonardo warns them that this is just a training mission.
Leonardo: Alright, but remember, we’re only up here for training.
Michelangelo: You know what I always say: Train by doing, dude.
Leonardo: Mikey, when have you ever said that?
NC: (as Leonardo) I mean, you’re so…incredibly underdeveloped, I forget what your characteristics are.
NC (Voiceover): Well, their first training exercise is definitely a doozy, as a giant monster is seen attacking the Foot Clan, who are being paid to bring to Mr. Winters.
Michelangelo: You think we should help these guys? I’d rather enjoy the show. (to Leonardo) What do you say, fearless leader?
Raphael: I say we stop talking!
NC: (as Raphael) We must get it back to where the wild things are! (The cover for the book “Where the Wild Things Are” is shown quickly)
Michelangelo: (starts attacking the Big Foot) Come here, Fuzzy Wuzzy!
NC (voiceover): So we partake in, to be honest, a pretty cool action scene. But it’s suddenly broken up when Mr. Winters magically brings these stone statues who look like the cast of “Street Fighter” if they ate the Transformers.
NC (voiceover): So they (the stone statues) capture the monster and leave the turtles behind. In fact, they capture most of the monsters, as it seems the statues are the brothers of Mr. Winters who it turns out was the immortal ruler long ago who has to capture all 13 monsters so that when the stars all realign, he can send them back to another dimension where—do you really give a shit at all? I don’t think you do. The original movies were pretty basic: Stop the Shredder, the end. Do they really think we’re gonna follow this crap about dimensions and interstellar dog piss? I really doubt it.
Donatello: That doesn’t prove anything.
NC (voiceover): So Raph and Casey find a monster being attacked as they try to intervene. But they themselves are attacked as they hide in a shack on one of the roofs.
(A helicopter with a search light is heard overhead)
Voice: (from the helicopter) Police!
(The stone warrior runs away)
Casey Jones: I gotta hand it to you, Raph. You sure know how to show a lady a good time.
NC: (reacts in surprise to Casey’s line) Is there something you’d like to tell us, Casey?
NC (voiceover): So Raphael thinks they (the turtles) should attack, while Leonardo says they should check with Splinter first. Raph finally gets fed up with Leo and decides to go solo. Yeah, I’m so glad Leo left for that year in training. He’s truly molded his family into a powerhouse of teamwork, hasn’t he?
NC (voiceover): So Raph tries to find what’s left of the monsters and comes across… (the Jersey Devil pops out of a fallen shelf to attack) …the Noid’s aborted crack baby.
Raphael: (as the creature jumps on his head) Hey, this thing ain’t rustproof!
NC (voiceover): As Thing’s Chihuahua escapes, Raph is confronted by Leo, who actually can’t put it together that he’s the Nightwatcher, even though it was apparently OBVIOUS in an earlier scene.
Leonardo: So I’m going to give you one chance to just walk away and stop this vigilante nonsense.
NC: (as Leonardo) Yes, stop this vigilante nonsense and be like us! (Beat) The…non-nonsensical vigilantism.
NC (voiceover): So they have their little fight scene where Leo knocks Raph’s helmet off, revealing his true identity.
Leonardo: Raph? What?
NC: (as Leonardo) RAPH??? (Beat) You know, I was wondering why many crime fighters have only three fingers, but still, I’m very shocked!
NC (voiceover): So Leo continues to lecture as Raph has none of Leo’s self-righteous bull-crap, and neither do we, for that matter.
Leonardo: This qualifies as “just fine”? Dressing up like it’s Halloween every night? Risking the safety of our family?
NC: YES!!! That is what you were supposed to do! I think that is actually the definition of “superhero”!
NC (voiceover): But Leo stands by his not-being-superhero-ism as it looks like the two are ready to fight over their points of view.
(Camera close-up on Leonardo’s eyes)
Leonardo: Don’t do this, Raph.
(Camera close-up on Raphael’s eyes)
Raphael: I’m done taking orders.
(Camera close-up on NC’s eyes)
NC: I could really care less about what’s going on.
NC (voiceover): I mean, we don’t even really know why they hate each other. Nothing about their anger makes sense. Leo’s logic is crazy, Raph’s anger is just pointless. Why am I supposed to be invested?
Michelangelo: Someone’s cranky!
NC (voiceover): But Leo is kidnapped by the evil statue gang and is taken back to being presented as one of the 13 monsters. Raph goes home to tell Splinter the bad news.
Raphael: I know why you chose him now. I know there’s a reason why he’s the better son and I’m not.
Splinter: You may not be my favorite student. It does not mean that you are my least favorite son.
NC (Voiceover): (as Splinter) The important thing is that you fail at something.
Raphael: But, Master Splinter, I messed up big tonight. (He puts down Leonardo’s two broken katana swords) They took him.
NC: (as Splinter) They WHAT?! This is why you’re my least favorite son! What a disappointment!
NC (voiceover): So the bad guys lock up Leo with the other monsters as the rest of the gang gets ready for the rescue, including April, Casey, and even Splinter. So our heroes get together and infiltrate the evil—Okay, this is officially a video game! Just pop out the controllers and we’ll play the rest.
(As the fight scene plays out, it intercuts with NC pretending to play a video game with a controller, starting with Raphael attacking)
NC: Ooh! Block! Block!
(Splinter and a turtle run up to attack)
NC: Spin attack! Spin attack!
(Two turtle spin each other around to knock some Foot Clan members down)
NC: (presses a button on his controller repeatedly) Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump!
(All the turtles and Splinter jump over the Foot Clan to run across them)
NC: Drop kick! Drop kick!
(April bends low before Casey knocks a couple Foot Clan members down; Cut to the gang inside Winter’s Tower and approaching the portal)
Donatello: Whoa, check it out. That would be the swirling vortex…
NC: (puts down his controller) Oh, I hate these cut scenes. I wish they had a cheat code so you could skip them.
NC (voiceover): So they find Leo in one of the cages and break him out. Here, Raph and Leo finally get a chance to reconcile.
Raphael: (hands two new katanas to Leo) You’re gonna need these if you’re gonna lead us out of here.
Leonardo: I’m gonna need you, too.
NC: Kiss him, you fool. There will never be a better time.
(Mr. Winters is heard making a yelling noise before being propelled into the scene)
NC (voiceover): Oh! Turtle sex will have to wait, as it turns out Mr. Winters has been kicked out of his own team. Why? Because it turns out he wants to send the monsters home, not bring more to this world. See? He’s actually a good guy, which leaves us with these stoners as the villains.
Mr. Winters: [My] brothers, I—
General Aguila: We are no brothers to you!
General Gato: With one monster still free, the curse will never be broken.
NC (voiceover): I especially love this scene where the statues offer the Foot Clan a chance to work with them and rule the world.
General Aguila: Join us, Foot Clan. Swear your allegiance to us and no harm will befall you.
NC (voiceover): (as all the Foot Clan members) Okay!
Karai: (raises a hand to stop the Foot Clan while facing General Aquila) The Foot ninja is not without honor. We work for Winters, not you.
NC (voiceover): (as Foot Clan Member #1) Uh, I thought we worked for money. (as Foot Clan Member #2) Yeah, me, too. Screw honor if we can rule the world—(Karai signals the Foot Clan to quickly leave) OK, we’re gone. (Normal) So April and the Foot Clan go to find the thirteenth monster as the bad guys…just let ‘em go for some reason!
General Aguila: (to Mr. Winters) Forget about them. By the time they return, the portal will already be closed.
NC: (as General Aguila) I suppose I’m kind of stupid that way. But at least I know my cockiness won’t in any way lead to my downfall. (He winks to the camera with a “Ding!” sound)
NC (voiceover): So as the turtles stay behind to fight, April and the Foot Clan find the monster and try to lead him back to the building. (Beat) Where were these monsters all the time, anyway? Were they in the city the whole time? That’d be pretty hard to miss. Maybe they travel to the city. Good God, can you imagine how awkward that trip must have been? (A Photoshopped image of a monster riding a subway with people is shown briefly) Well, either way, the monster is brought back and knocked into the portal as the evil cosplay statues are destroyed forever.
(The link in the portal disappears into the sky for good)
NC (voiceover): So now that that’s taken care of, what about the Foot Clan? I mean, are they still enemies or what?
Karai: (to the turtles) Savor your victory tonight. For soon, we will have further business together. The kind that involves familiar faces from your past.
NC: (as Karai) I’m talking about sequels. Vague plots that we really haven’t yet come up with type sequels. Now, here’s smoke in your eye! (He raises a fist before cutting to a dust cloud forming in front of Karai and a Foot Clan member she’s holding, presumably to disappear before the dust could settle; NC, as Karai, cackles)
NC (voiceover): So with that…weak trailer for the next film established, we also see what happens to Mr. Winters, who is no longer immortal.
(Mr. Winters looks up skyward as his body freezes with a blue light shining off of him; Raphael steps forward, but Splinter stops him with his fighting staff)
NC (voiceover): (as Splinter) No. I want to see how stupid this gets.
(Mr. Winters is lifted up and suspended in mid-air)
NC (voiceover): So he evaporates into…golden sand! No reason why or any logical understanding. He’s just sand.
NC: Maybe he was a pixie dust junkie and just exploded on too many happy thoughts.
NC (voiceover): So the turtles go home, add Winters’ helmet to their trophy collection and go into the night to fight crime once again. (Beat) So what have we learned from this epic-filled adventure?
NC: (smiles) I have absolutely no idea.
NC (voiceover): I mean, what did Leo learn on his trip? I don’t know. How is the team stronger than it was before? I don’t know! Is the message that vigilantism is bad? Because it looks like they’re going right back to doing it again at the end, anyway!
NC: (shrugs) So, really, what have we learned? We’ve learned that when a franchise is dead, IT SHOULD STAY FUCKING DEAD!
(Clips from the movie (in addition to clips and images from the 1980’s TV series, live-action movies and the 2003 TV series) play out as NC speaks)
NC (voiceover): Okay, okay, so how does “TMNT” fare out? Well, to be honest, it’s not horrible. It’s not even really that bad. It’s just not very engaging. I mean, the story is just all over the place, and the characters aren’t even that developed. I mean, I know they set them up in the show and the movies, but those were two different entities, as well as a long, long time ago. I guess maybe this is supposed to be a spinoff to the new show that’s come out, but I never watched it, and anyone who hasn’t is gonna be totally lost; that is, if it is a spinoff, I really don’t know.
NC: But I will give it this, though: The CGI does kick…
NC (voiceover): …ass, especially the design of the city. I mean, the angles, the lighting, the shadows, this is a really cool-looking movie.
NC: But I don’t think that’s enough to really save it. It’s vague, it’s confusing, and it’s just a mess, much like my sex life. (He realizes what he just said) Err, I mean, uh…did I say it out loud? (chuckles nervously) I, uh... (He quickly reaches down to pull out a pair of sunglasses, puts them on and pulls out a memory eraser to flash it at the camera a la “Men in Black”; the screen flashes white before fading back onto him) And that’s why I’m the greatest lover ever, and don’t you forget it. I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don’t have to. (He gets up to leave)
Ask That Guy: Hello, I’m That Guy With The Glasses, and there are many questions I’m sure you want to ask me, like what am I doing at the end of this video? Are you actually that handsome in real life? And why did the Nostalgia Critic wear mascara in his last video, anyway? Well, none of those questions are important next to the greatest question of them all: How do I get Geek Fight cards? That’s right, it’s a fucking commercial. I bet you thought I was gonna say something meaningful like I usually do. But it turns out I’m an unbelievable whore. And how can you not be when you are actually featured on the cards? (He brings up a Geek Fight card before the camera cuts to a close-up on it, which features himself on it) Look at that. Ask That Guy With The Glasses has his very own card. (Cut back to him) Isn’t it beautiful? Yes. There are also other characters you can get, though, like (camera close-ups on the following cards are shown) the Nostalgia Critic, Chester A. Bum, and even Hamster Jelly has a card. (Cut back to him) How did Hamster Jelly get a card? (He slightly frowns) You don’t want to know. (smiles again) They are only $7. Isn’t that fantastic? Now that we have that out of the way, we can get back to answering the important questions, like why did the Nostalgia Critic wear eyeliner in his last review, anyway?
NC: (pops in camera right) It was from the Melvin sketch, alright? I don’t wear eyeliner! (He leaves)
Ask That Guy: He’s lying, of course. It’s because he’s an emo.
NC: (shouts off-screen) No, I’m not!
Ask That Guy: Yes, he is. This is That Guy With The Glasses saying (holds up the card deck one last time) “Buy these cards today, or I’ll come to your house, sodomize and kill you.” (The caption “He will, too.” appears below him as he nods his head while still smiling)
(Cut to a promotional image featuring Angry Video Game Nerd and NC in a duel before the weblink “DivingDragonGames.com/Shop” is shown)
- There actually does exist an explanation for what happened between the previous movies and TMNT. At the time of the movie's release, Mirage Studios (the company that published the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics) put out a five-issue prequel mini-series detailing what happened with each of the main characters prior to the film's events. The mini-series, along with a comic adaptation of TMNT, was later reprinted as a trade paperback titled TMNT: The Collected Movie Books, though it is now out of print.