- For the article about the third TMNT game on the NES, see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project. For the article about the 1993 Game Boy game, see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue. For the article about the 2005 video game see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III|
|Release date:||March 19, 1993|
|Starring:||Paige Turco, Elias Koteas|
|Music by:||John Du Prez|
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III is a 1993 American action comedy film based on the comic book characters the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It is the second sequel to the 1990 live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. It was produced by Clearwater Holdings Ltd. and Golden Harvest. This was the last Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film released by New Line Cinema and released on VHS along with Columbia TriStar Home Video. It was internationally distributed by 20th Century Fox. With this film, the All Effects Company provided the animatronics, rather than Jim Henson's Creature Shop, which acted as the providers for the previous films.
The movie opens with a man fighting off a bunch other men in feudal Japan. In the present day, Raphael is complaining t
hat the Turtles aren't a
ppreciated because no one sees what they do. April, who was shopping in preparation for a trip, bought each of the Turtles a gift. Michaelangelo was given a colorful lampshade, Donatello an old radio, Leonardo a book on historical swords, and Raphael a cowboy hat. Raphael left before he could receive his gift, however. Splinter was given an ancient Japanese scepter by April.
In ancient Japan, the man seen earlier, Kenshin, was being reprimanded for disgracing his father, Daimyo Norinaga. He leaves his father, goes to a temple, and drives out its priests. There, he finds a scepter and reads its inscription: "Open Wide the Gates of Time." Before he leaves, an English weapon trader named Walker is introduced as well as his thug, Niles.
In the present, April is looking at the scepter. It's begun to light up and spin. She and Kenshin switch positions in time and space. April is immediately kidnapped and imprisoned by Lord Norinaga.
In the present, the Turtles befriend Kenshin. They call Casey Jones over to watch the lair while they're gone. When they head back in time, they are replaced by four honor guards (instead of four priests as they intended).
When the Turtles arrive in Japan, they arrive on horses. Michaelangelo can't ride and falls off the horse. Outlaws kidnap him and steal the scepter. The others decide to rescue April first. People mistake them for honor guards, but they are imprisoned after following Walker's thug. After a sloppy rescue involving a man named Whit (who April thinks is Casey's ancestor), they haven't a clue what to do.
In the present, Kenshin is getting worried. If they don't switch places again in 60 hours, they won't be able to get home. To take Kenshin's mind of his troubles, Casey introduces the group to ice hockey.
In Japan, an attack on the Turtles leads them to Mitsu, the leader of the rebellion against Lord Norinaga. They discover that Mitsu's village is being burned down and go to save it. In the same village, two men release Michelangelo, thinking he's an honor guard. He shows them his face and the men flee. Michelangelo insists that he's a "beautiful princess in disguise," but is quickly distracted by the dropped swords. Walker was the one who burnt the village, in hopes of finding the scepter and to continue the war so people would buy his weapons. After being confronted by Michelangelo and several villagers, Walker flees. Michelangelo saves a boy named Yoshi, so the Turtles are allowed to stay after Leonardo gives Yoshi CPR. However, the scepter has been lost, so they must make a new one.
Lord Narinaga and Walker were bargaining over the price of weapons. Lord Norinaga mentioned that demons that resembled turtles once tried to end his reign. Immediately, Walker rose his prices.
In the village, Michaelangelo teaches the people about pizza, but his is so hard he has to use it as a Frisbee instead. Michelangelo is attracted to Mitsu, but he understands that she and Kenshin share a bond. Raphael also grows found of Yoshi. The new scepter is completed, but it's broken by Raphael and Michelangelo in an argument about whether or not to stay. Mitsu informs the village that Lord Narinaga has guns and will attack the village tomorrow. Yoshi, fearing Raphael's death, gives the Turtles the original scepter. They are happy to have it, but angry at Mitsu, whom they believed hid it so they'd fight in the war. Her grandfather, the village leader, defended her by telling them he told Yoshi to hide the scepter and beg them to fight.
Whit, the man the Turtles saved along with April, kidnapped Mitsu. The Turtles save her and free all her friends. This leads to a large battle at Lord Norinaga's palace. Leonardo defeats Norinaga in a duel which he cuts his hair and cut the rope then trapped the bell.
The turtles are surrounded by Walker's men. As they are about to fire Whit disagrees but Walker throws him in with the turtles and April. Leonardo goads Walker into shooting him and reminds everyone they're demons, but this backfires as Walker uses his cannon instead. As the cannon fires, Leonardo ducks his head and the cannonball hits the bell. Walker retreats and the turtles go after him.
Walker managed to grab the scepter in the confusion and was going to use it to his advantage by tossing it off the roof. However, he forgets his birds and run back to get them. The Turtles save the scepter and Whit redeems himself by finishing off Walker.
The Turtles debate whether to stay in Japan, where they are appreciated but might interfere with history, or return to New York, where they must hide but can continue with their lives. The Turtles ultimately decide to return, but Michelangelo misses the ride. He manages to make it back in time, but the scepter is smashed, making it unusable.
In Japan, Norinaga is taken prisoner and brought before Mitsu and Kenshin. He is surprised to see them both together, and more surprised to see his Honor Guard walk through the corridor, half naked and talking incoherently about anachronisms. When he has gone, having spoken no word but clearly shown his submission, Kenshin seizes Mitsu in imitation of a poster he had seen in the Turtles' home and kisses her on the lips.
Michelangelo, perhaps thinking on the preceding scene, is depressed until Splinter puts the afore-mentioned lampshade on his (Splinter's) head as a joke about Elvis in Hawaii, whereupon both laugh. The film ends with another dance sequence by the Turtles.
- April O'Neil - Paige Turco
- Splinter (voice) - James Murray
- Leonardo - Mark Caso
- Leonardo (voice) - Brian Tochi
- Michelangelo - David Fraser
- Michelangelo (voice) - Robbie Rist
- Donatello - Jim Raposa
- Donatello (voice) - Corey Feldman
- Raphael - Matt Hill
- Raphael (voice) - Tim Kelleher
- Casey Jones/Whit - Elias Koteas (Whit) (debut)
- Norinaga - Sab Shimono (debut)
- Mitsu - Vivian Wu (debut)
- Kenshin - Henry Hayashi (debut)
- Walker - Stuart Wilson (debut) (death)
- Niles - John Aylward (debut)
- Yoshi - Travis A. Moon (debut)
- Grandfather - Tad Horino (debut)
Reviews for the film have been mostly negative by both fans and critics. Based on a sample of 22 reviews, the film holds a 27% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus "It's a case of one sequel too many for the heroes in a half shell, with a tired time-travel plot gimmick failing to save the franchise from rapidly diminishing returns." It was poorly received by the LA Times as well.
Other common criticisms include the absence of any established TMNT villains, like Shredder or Krang. James Berardinelli gave it one out of four stars, citing that "any adults accompanying their kids will have to invent new and interesting ways to stay awake. Not only is this movie aimed at young children, the script could have been written by them." TV Guide gave it two out of four stars and said in their review, "If the time-travel gimmick has to be employed twice in a row then it's probably best to banish these characters to a retirement sewer." when commenting about a possible future film invoking time travel. The film has also been criticized for its low-quality animatronics as they were provided by All Effects Company instead of Jim Henson's Creature shop, like the first two films.
Despite most of the reviews from critics, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III debuted at No.1 at the box office.
Home media releases
On August 4, 2009, the film was included in a special 25th-anniversary boxset, released to both DVD and Blu-ray formats. It also contained Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, and 2007's animated release, TMNT. In this release the film is given the subtitle Turtles in Time, previously a common misnomer by fans confusing it with the video-game of the same name.
- There was a banner with an image of Usagi Yojimbo on the set.
- The working subtitle for this movie was "A Feudal Fable".
- One of the lines mentioned in the film implies that the day it happens was Groundhogs Day of the released year, implying that the film took place about a month before the movie was released.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III at the Official Ninja Turtles website.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III on IMDB
- TMNT: Original Movie DVD (English). Mirage Studios (September 2002). Retrieved on March 7, 2020.