The reason why the third movie is better than the second is because it has more originality and a better story. Truthfully, even with all the fun lying around, the third one cannot compete with the first one, but it’s definitely a slight improvement over the previous movie.
Not only does our favorite April-actress Paige Turco return and – hey, whadya know? – she even gets to play a much bigger role than before.
But Casey Jones played by the ever cool Elias Koteas also comes back … though he’s a lot less menacing than in his first outing.
The story this time deals with a magic artifact that transports April to the old 17th Century Japan. So, the boys in green suit up and go after her using the same means of transport.
Concurrently, for each person sent back to old Japan, an ancient priest or guardian is sent through the same vortex to New York … leaving hockey mask Casey Jones and old Splinter to babysit these 17th Century Japanese people. It’s the beginning of a crazy time-travelling adventure for both parties, with many surprises along the way.
The smartest thing the filmmakers did was to change the overall scenery of the movie. A third movie with the Turtles running around fighting the Foot clan in New York was probably a bit too much of the good thing.
So, by sending the four turtles back through time to Japan, the whole setup becomes very original … leaving much room for jokes aplenty.
Obviously, this being Teenage mutant ninja turtles III: Turtles in time, there’s also lots of action and fighting included. Seeing the Turtles pitted against ancient Japanese samurai-warriors is both cool and very entertaining to watch.
And guess what? There’s even some great acting involved. No, we’re not talking about Elias Koteas this time … despite him playing a double role.
The main bad guy is brought to life by actor Stuart Wilson and boy-oh-boy … is he good! His smug grin and egotistical complacency – basically a jerk with nice clothes and a keen interest in the finer things of life – makes for a character that you wish you could kill yourself.
Add to that the Japanese casting, such as Sab Shimono who plays a brilliant version of an ancient Japanese warlord.
Or how about the ever-beautiful Vivian Wu as the honorable hero who only wants her people safe, and her boyfriend back in her arms? It’s nice to see some ladies who can manage, even with the Turtles being the lead.
Ultimately, what makes Teenage mutant ninja turtles III: Turtles in time such a fun movie is that everything about the old Japan really feels authentic. We hardly ever get to see New York, even with the five ancient Japanese priests caught in the sewers, and the movie is better for it.
It’s just a pity that the old ways of making the Turtles come alive – by actual puppeteer costumes – has totally vanished. Nowadays, it’s all about CGI and computers … oh well … we can always go back to the old movies.
Did you know?
This is the only movie of the original trilogy where filming happened outside of the US. The filmmakers actually went to Japan, because they wanted to retain the authenticity of old Japan and the birthplace of martial arts.
Give it to me short:
Watching Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo fight against ancient Japanese warriors is not a desperate movie to make a third movie, but a very smart setup by the filmmakers. By changing the atmosphere to old Japan – and to the roots of martial arts fighting no less – the movie gains a renewed freshness that makes the third Turtles-movie perhaps even the most colorful and pleasant one to watch. Of course, it’s not as good as the first one and there’s no Shredder or Foot clan this time … but instead we get so much more!
Casey Jones with the hockey mask is back. The sweet, beautiful April-actress Paige Turco is back … and this time she’s not only there for window-dressing, but plays a vital part in the heart of the storyline. But the sweetest touch of acting comes from Stuart Wilson who plays a delightfully heinous English warlord. Little does he know he’s about to face a green-colored ninja-storm … the likes of which he’s never seen before!
This may not be the last Turtles-movie ever made and – granted, the new ones are still quite enjoyable – but it’s the last of the original movies. The last time we’ll ever see those incredibly awesome Turtles-costumes … this is how Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo were supposed to look. Cowabunga, dudes & dudettes!