My kids are on a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles kick. I don't know where exactly this came from; but it seems that now we cannot even speak to them for more than ten minutes or so without being regaled by the adventures of the four half shelled heroes, or being cautioned in tones of hushed excitement about the villainy of Shredder or the squishy brained Kraangs.
On one hand this is good. As a modern father and all that, I try to encourage play with a variety of toys. My youngest daughter really enjoys Matchbox style cars and such, my middle daughter is a tomboy through and through and my oldest daughter will joyfully dig in the mud for frogs and bugs, so I think I am doing alright in my plan to not raise overly 'girly' girls. As a man, frankly there is only so much Barbie conversation I can handle, so a little ninja action is right up my alley.
On the other hand, their excitement and enjoyment of the series has pretty much overwhelmed everything else in their life. I walk into their rooms in the morning and it plays out something like this:
"Hey girls," I say in my cheerful 'I don't want to be awake and pretend to be nice' voice. "It's time to wake up and get the day started."
The girls then roll around, and stretch, their eyes remaining closed as they are still in the grips of peaceful slumber.
Then, as though struck by a bolt of lightning or awakened by a Tower of London sized bell, their eyes flash open and they look up at me.
"Daddy," they exclaim in an eerie form of unison that I don't understand and secretly hope is common to all sisters. "Can we watch some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? I think a new one came on yesterday."
Yes, it gets a little tiresome.
I watched the original with them back in Novemeber of last year (saying that sounds longer than intended; it was only two months ago). I found it enjoyable in a: "Wow I can't believe I liked this as a kid" sort of way.
Some movies last the test of time. You can watch them 5, 10, or even 20 years later and the plots are still good, the dialogue still believable, the characters still likable. The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
Not so much.
My wife - who is infinitely smarter (and prettier) than me - decided that franchise of movies was one she was going to skip. Any quality time purchased with those three movies was coming all from me. I thought that was alright, I could handle it. While I survived the movie, I did cringe in awkward delight at the films antics. The kids really enjoyed it though.
For Christmas I gave the final 2 movies to my oldest daughter, who is by far, the biggest fan of the new Turtles. So in spite of one two hour exposure to some of the best filmwork to come out of the year 1990, I sat down with them for another blast from the past with the turtles.
Overall I would give it about an 80% score. The plot was actually enjoyable. I am of course giving it a bell curve rating here. You can't possible score an old movie like the Turtles straight up against time enduring serious films like... uh... Titanic or Avatar?
Someone help me out here.
Anyway, you get my point. This time, I didn't want to climb through the screen and punch Raphael in the face. Not as much as the first one anyway. He seemed a bit more adolescent and less spoiled brat. Though hats off to the screen writers for basically recycling the EXACT same character conflicts from the first movie and repackaging them into the second. That was brilliant. Why think up new stuff when you can just repackage old stuff?
Isn't that what Microsoft does with every release of windows? Look where it's got them!
The highlight of the film though has got to be Vanilla Ice. Yep, you read that right.
Indeed I had forgotten that good old Robert Matthew Van Winkle was in this film. And boy did he do it justice. I guess this was in his hay day, and he was making the most of his fame from his one hit song. I'm sure you don't need me to remind you of it do you? But you might not know he was actually the lead man in another great film from yesteryear known as "Cold as Ice".
Believe it or not I actually got free tickets to a screening of this movie way back when. My mom had signed me up for a pre-screening package program where I got some free movie theater tickets to some movies. This was one of them. I also got tickets to the St. Bernard movie Beethoven and Beethoven's second along with this one. That shows you how valuable of a purchase she made.
Apparently "Cold as Ice" was so bad it only lasted three weeks in the theater. I would love to get my hands on a copy of that on DVD. My goodness. How much fun would it be to sit and watch that movie late at night?
The movie was actually progressing along quite nicely until the four turtle heroes stumble into a packed out, underground style rap/dance hall. The outfits the people were wearing were epic in their beauty and grandeur. MC Hammer would have been proud as he surveyed the room and saw loads of over sized fabric pants and zig-zaggedey hair cuts. But nothing could top the Ol Ice man in all his glory singing a jazzy little number I assume was called "Ninja Rap" with the repeating words of the chorus:
"Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go!" Over and over and over again.
And over again.
There was plenty of fist pumping and shouting and pointing with the microphone. It was pretty awesome. I think at some point during the rap sequence the Turtles might have been fighting, but I didn't see it. I couldn't take my eyes off of Vanilla doing his 'thang'. He's an inspiration to... people everywhere.
Well that's enough from me for now. I have to run and try to find a copy of "Cold as Ice"
Stay icy my friends.