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Late Shift Cinema: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Late Shift Cinema: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Dan Bernardi
[intro-text size=”25px”]Twice a month, Cleveland Cinemas plays host to the Late Shift Series, a collection of classic and beloved films that have achieved cult status among fanatic cinephiles. Teaming up with Melt Bar & Grilled, the Cedar Lee and Capitol theaters bring us the chance to watch our favorite flicks up on the big screen in all of their intended glory.[/intro-text]

This weekend, they’re mean, they’re green, and they’re on the screen.

Saturday at 9:30pm and 11:30pm, Cedar Lee Theater brings everyone’s favorite heroes in a half shell back out of the sewer when they screen the original 1990 live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  In case you missed it 25 years ago, here’s the rundown. New York City is overrun by a crime syndicate known as the Foot Clan and reporter April O’ Neil is after the story, but she’s not the only one trying to bring down the Foot. April encounters four walking, talking, ass-kicking, wise-cracking anthropomorphic turtles living under the streets of the city. They join forces, and with the help of a talking rat and a vigilante in a hockey mask, they set out to bring stop the supreme bad guy, Shredder, from wreaking any more havoc.

Based on the comics by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman and also inspired by the 1987 animated TMNT series, this movie is a most excellent display of turtle power . Donny, Leo, Raph, and Mikey are our bodacious turtles, four of the most wildly imaginative protagonists imaginable, forever engraved as icons of pop culture. The film is proof that it’s possible to bring larger than life characters to the big screen without the necessity of animation. Costumes for the Turtles were created by one of the greatest visual effects companies of all time, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. It’s magical to watch the Turtles in such a tangible form, physically sharing the screen with their human co-stars. With the advent of CGI, its unlikely that we’re going to see a return to the guy-in-a-suit method any time soon, which makes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles an impressive but antiquated piece of nostalgic cinema gold.

Take it from someone who still possesses over a hundred TMNT action figures from his childhood: forget the new CGI reboot from last year; it doesn’t hold a flame to the original. Apparently, next year we’re in for a sequel to the reboot, so hopefully they find a way to do it justice (Krang, please). In the 90’s, we were lucky enough to get a couple fun sequels, but as much as I love Vanilla Ice and time travel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the only film in the franchise to really capture the essence of what I thought TMNT represents, but on a PG level where kids could get in on the action. It’s absurd, comical, and occasionally a little violent or serious- but not too serious. They’re a bunch of mutated kung-fu reptiles, after all.

For a totally righteous time, grab some buddies and skate on over to the Cedar Lee for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Saturday. One lucky attendee will win a free pizza! Tubular!

See Also

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