Better than anything Michael Bay will do with them
October 14, 2013 2:16 PM   Subscribe

Turtles Forever (full length movie YouTube) was a feature length, 3 episode story from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 edition) released in 2009 as an end cap to that particular turtle continuity. Noteworthy for having the somewhat edgier, somewhat darker, definitely more angular circa 2003 turtles meet up with the recklessly wacky 1987 turtles via an interdimensional travel device. Inevitably they all end up traveling to Turtle Prime, the black and white world of the original comics and are scared out of their minds by the alpha turtles of that dimension.
posted by mediocre (45 comments total) 87 users marked this as a favorite
Better than anything Michael Bay will do with them

True in pretty much any context.
posted by kmz at 2:31 PM on October 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


Ahh ahh ahh ahh aHHHHHHHHHHHH

Rarely has a unit of television felt so completely like it was custom-made FOR ME SPECIFICALLY. I actually worked on this TMNT incarnation for a few months, and I had a friend at 4Kids who stayed on longer, so she told me to go check it out when it was streaming online right after it aired. I had no idea what it was about or what would happen, and when I realized where the story was going I yelled very loudly and waved my arms around in full-bore fangirl overload. I could not believe that a studio had actually spent the money and time to make something so laser-focused in its relevance to my Turtle Interests, which I had harbored deep in my heart since I was a tiny feral nerd finding my way in the world.

I started watching the TMNT cartoon right before the first movie was released, then discovered both the Archie AND the B&W Mirage Studios comics and collected them obsessively for years and years. (Why the convenience store down the street from my house had an extensive selection of indie comix in the early 90s remains a mystery to me, but I knew who the Savage Dragon was when I was ten and I mail-ordered a collection of Mirage Studio minicomics a couple of years later, almost none of which were remotely age appropriate.)

posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:34 PM on October 14, 2013 [14 favorites]

As someone who first discovered TMNT via the comic books mere months before the 80s "cowabunga dude" cartoonsplosion, and couldn't help but love both in different ways, I really enjoyed the way this movie tied everything together.
posted by jozxyqk at 2:37 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have watched this and was, like Greg Nog, stunned at how much I enjoyed it. They relentlessly tear into how stupid and unfunny and poorly animated the original show was. It's cathartic.

As a parent, I learned the hard way to be careful introducing my children to the cartoons of my youth. I'd find stuff I adored as a boy on Netflix and shout DUDE WE GOTTA WATCH THIS and would regret it every. Single. Time. Most of those '80s cartoons were horrible, and my kids love them every bit as much as I did back then.

I've even tried getting them onto the new turtles stuff or Transformers Prime, which are much better done, but no dice. They won't go for it. So I suffer as my parents once did, only it's worse because the kids know I know those shows, so I get to answer endless questions about them. And you can't shout THE NEUTRINOS DID THAT BECAUSE THEY'RE STUPID AND THIS WHOLE CARTOON MAKES NO SENSE AND GOOD LORD WOULD YOU WATCH SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T SUCK PLEASE at a six-year-old.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:40 PM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]

oh no now I'm watching it






posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:40 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

...sorry. I ah. I just have a lot of Turtle feelings.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:43 PM on October 14, 2013 [15 favorites]

Also, the "Turtle Prime" Shredder cameo sealed it for me :)
posted by jozxyqk at 2:48 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

...then discovered both the Archie AND the B&W Mirage Studios comics...

The only thing that could make Turtles Forever better would be bringing in the Mighty Mutanimals from the Archie comics.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:49 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

The only thing that could make Turtles Forever better would be bringing in the Mighty Mutanimals from the Archie comics.


Oooooooh she was my favorite. So many ninja fox ladies in my middle school sketchbooks. So many confused feelings.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 3:08 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Turtles Forever is fuckin' amazing. I never saw an episode of the 2003 series and I still love it to pieces. The big fun Crisis On Infinite Turtles of it all, the continuity touches all over the place, the blink-and-you'll-miss-it gags like the Mirage world being colored in dot-matrix...all genius. I just wish they sold the uncut version on DVD (seriously, what's up with that?)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:08 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

At about 4 1/2 my son started to get really bored - like really bored with his toys. To be fair, the majority were too young - we were holding on to things that his sister could handle (she's younger). Since he's particularly active, that generally meant he either destroyed them or he used them inappropriately. Either way, he was unhappy. So after we came to the realization that he had outgrown his toy, we decided to get him one - one action figure. He picked Michelangelo. Of all the options, that one was the least 'killing people' oriented and also featured some anthropomorphism, since hey - they're turtles not people. Promptly his grandparents added Leonardo, Raphael, and Donatello.

My Son is now a shell head. Next week's birthday? TNMT Themed. What he wants for his Birthday? TNMT toys. What he wants for Christmas? TNMT toys. His Bike helmet? Ninja Turtles. His costume for Halloween? Leonardo. His stuffed animal bed-friend? Leonardo. Any Stick he sees? Leonardo's swords (yeah yeah, Katanas, but he learned swords from other stuff - and no amount of discussion will change what it is). And of course, the pizza. He's seen a few of the '87 show, which while it doesn't age great, minimizes the amount of violence.

I'll have to watch this through all the way to make sure this isn't too far out of what he's seen for turtleness - but seriously - this is a post up our home's alley.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:26 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

@TMNT is having a contest right now where you can win one of the original action figures, or one of the current gen. The TMNT villains have always been the best part of the series; it's like they couldn't decide if they loved monsters or sci-fi more.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:49 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

If I ever saw the 1987 cartoon, I saw it years and years ago, and have since forgotten it, but this is great. "But first - we have to save April!"
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:00 PM on October 14, 2013

Oh my god, the fourth-wall reaction shots and the eventual payoff.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:17 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

My niece has started getting into it and, since she's only 6, she doesn't exactly care which version we watch. Sometimes we watch the modern one off of the DVR, sometimes the 1980's version or the 2000's one on Youtube. So I'm already getting the mix of styles.

The 2003 series actually has some interesting episodes, including one centered on the turtles in an MMO which has a great twist at the end and some great jokes which South Park must have ripped off for their WoW episode. It's very hard to watch the 80's episodes.

She is starting to discover the difference in art, at least the differences between 3d renderings and the two dimensional cel style, so we talk about that a bit. I'll screen this one first and then will probably show it to her. Will probably blow her mind to see multiple turtles interacting across universes. Thanks for the link.
posted by honestcoyote at 4:27 PM on October 14, 2013

I was the insufferable TMNT hipster in grade school who was all like "yeah you've seen the cartoon, you love the cartoon, but the comic is so much WEIRDER and COOLER. Do you know there's a character named Cudley the Cowlick, a giant, floating, transdimensional cow head who transports the turtles in his mouth and allows them to traverse galaxies? Who the hell came up with that? Someone unspeakably awesome, that's who."
posted by naju at 4:34 PM on October 14, 2013 [7 favorites]

It's so hard to not hear Dean Venture when 2003 Leo speaks.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:42 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

My entire TMNT comics collection is sitting in long boxes right next to my desk. This thread is providing a very serious threat to the week's productivity.

And incidentally, IDW has been printing up giant TMNT comic omnibuses for a while, now.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 4:48 PM on October 14, 2013

I was never really that into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If I recall, seven year old me is on record for calling it stupid and saying that they could only pretend to be half as cool as the Ghostbusters and also for declaring that both Bucky O'Hare and Captain N could totally beat them in a fight, but I digress....

This was very enjoyable. Weirdly, I thought 1987 Shredder and Krang stole the show. That "the technology of Dimension X is ridiculous" line along with the "he won't keep you up at night" joke and the chasing of the command chair had me cracking up. It's a pity they couldn't find a better substitute for Uncle Phil.

Also, what's up with 2003 Raphael's voice? Is that how he always talks?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:49 PM on October 14, 2013

I caught that randomly on TV when it came out. I happened upon it just as they were bringing in the comics versions of the turtles (which I actually liked -- I was way too old for the cartoon turtles when they came out). I was so very happy.
posted by edheil at 4:52 PM on October 14, 2013

It's so hard to not hear Dean Venture when 2003 Leo speaks.

"Holy shit, you're Dean fucking Venture!"
posted by The Tensor at 4:56 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

My favorite piece of Turtle Lore is the full on crossover they did for... THE FLAMING CARROT!! Meaning the Mirage Turtles are at least mixed-continuity with The Mysterymen.
posted by JHarris at 5:35 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

(And yes, Turtles Forever is awesome, I first found out about it a year ago, couldn't convince any local friends to watch it though. These are just the crosses we have to bear in Brunswick, Georgia.)
posted by JHarris at 5:37 PM on October 14, 2013

Huh. That was surprisingly fun.
posted by egypturnash at 7:04 PM on October 14, 2013

I collected the comics, and I was a huge fan of the 'realistic' stories. Not so much the time travel, but the stories that tried to be as real-world as they could be. A couple of them always stuck out. There was The River, where the other turtles, fed up with Raphael's inability to focus on new training, tried to teach him a lesson. In the course of the bullying, they found out that he was afraid of leeches, and stuck one on him. It ends up leeching the mutagen out of him, and he slowly, sadly reverts back to the turtle while the leech grows more and more powerful. It's pretty astounding, and would be awesome as a feature length animated film (like DC has been doing).

There was a stunning story, post leech storyline, about a raft trip the group takes where they encounter a group of mermen and a dying merwoman, who turns out to be the last female of her kind. Haunting and powerful.

Other than that, there was a terrific 'elseworlds'-esque story written and drawn by Michael Zulli (who did the art for the final arc of Sandman, called the Wake). In that world, the Shredder is almost paladin-like, and views the turtles as an abomination. Radically different design, and I don't belive the turtles names are even used.

That said, there's a massive typhoon tomorrow, and school is cancelled. It's nice to have something to watch while the rain and wind slam into the house.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:07 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

Turtles Forever--and the whole 2003 series, really--is great. I watched it with a bunch of friends during grad school. We were going to have a pizza party, but since it showed in the morning, we went for bagels, instead.

Love those turtles. The current series is the only one I really haven't watched. I even recapped The Next Mutation back in middle school for awhile.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:27 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

The TMNT villains have always been the best part of the series; it's like they couldn't decide if they loved monsters or sci-fi more.

God, yes. I was fairly obsessed with Baxter Stockman and Rat King as a kid, and Krang's robot body (ahem) is just one of my favorite designs ever because it's just the goofiest thing. In the Archie comics, my favorites were Vid Vicious and Bellybomb. Man, just reading the synopses on Wikipedia makes me want to read them all again.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:39 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

The current CGI series is also surprisingly good,...I don't think it's out on DVD yet, but it can be found in certain parts of the internet.-- Greg Nog

Some episodes are on DVD.
posted by eye of newt at 8:41 PM on October 14, 2013

I don't think I've watched anything Turtle-related since Secret of the Ooze came out, but I used to love the After The Bomb RPG. And I am excited to watch this.
posted by Mezentian at 9:36 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

I had every intention of going to bed early tonight, but instead I definitely just watched that whole thing. I thought I did see a couple of Archie Mutanimals shout-outs in the mass-mutant attack (Wingnut? Jagwar?), plus of course Tokka and Razar.
As a kid, I watched the cartoon religiously, even ate the cereal, and I was obsessed and often quite perturbed by the Archie comics. The more mature B&W series like Tales of the TMNT were off-lmits, but I did manage to score (as a highly impressionable 8 year old) some great, tastefully colorized First graphic novel collections of the first few issues, including some feelings-fraught stories where Leonardo is wounded at Christmas and the turtles and April and Casey basically spend the rest of the arc holed up in Vermont journaling and fixing stuff and being extremely the boring kind of mature. The payoff for me was always how the turtles were always drinking beer and swearing, but when I tried to show that stuff off to my idiot friends, they would just get confused about which one was Raphael, as all the masks were colored in red.
TL;DR Cowabunga and etc.
posted by Rustmouth Snakedrill at 9:42 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

I was the insufferable TMNT hipster in grade school who was all like "yeah you've seen the cartoon, you love the cartoon, but the comic is so much WEIRDER and COOLER.

Me, too, except in junior high. I think this was my first experience with a watered-down version of something. I found about the Turtles via Palladium's Teenage Mutant Ninja and Other Strangeness, then read the bitchin' original comics via whatever collections were available at the library.

When I found out about the TV show, I was like, ha, what a joke! Pizza? No blood? Are they ever going to hit anyone with a weapon? But there's only so many things on afternoon TV, so I did watch it every day and came to appreciate non-threatening Cobra-Commander-like Shredder and Michaelangelo's party dude 'tude. And you know, there were still swords and nunchaku, even if they were used directly on anyone. I didn't expect much

Meanwhile, I'd try to get all the TMNT Mirage Comics I could, opening each book with great faith. I usually closed them while making excuses for them. Slowly, I had to admit that the greatness of that first 16-issue run by Eastman and Laird was not repeatable, even by Eastman and Laird themselves with that City at War thing.

Right now, I'm not even sure the good original comics would hold up to an adult reading.
posted by ignignokt at 9:51 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

This could have been improved if they met the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles as well.
posted by Mezentian at 10:17 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

some feelings-fraught stories where Leonardo is wounded at Christmas

Nothing made insufferable-tiny-nerd-me happier than pulling out my copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Book IV and explaining to people that the reason the first TMNT movie was so much better than the TV show was because it adapted a storyline from the original comic.

I would then sit there and wait for the adult I was lecturing to read through the sequence I had helpfully bookmarked for comparison.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:25 PM on October 14, 2013 [7 favorites]

where Leonardo is wounded at Christmas

I've always loved that issue, and the aftermath, where Leonardo is forced to question himself. He'd always been the one who could be relied on, and instead, his skills and dedication aren't enough, and he's nearly killed. It's a pretty awesome issue.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:43 AM on October 15, 2013

I kinda wish they had called this movie "Turtles All The Way Down".
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:35 AM on October 15, 2013 [12 favorites]

That time at the farmhouse after the Christmas attack really could have been a good highbrow film about Coming to Terms with Things. I completely forgot about it. Stuff like that really gave it some heart.

The peaking of the Raphael-Leonardo personality clash in Return to New York was also some surprisingly human stuff.
posted by ignignokt at 4:25 AM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

I was really too old to take the Turtles seriously; the original comic book came out when I was in college, and I appreciated it for what it originally was: a piss-take on Frank Miller's comics (specifically, Daredevil and his own Ronin) with a head nod toward the X-Men spin-off series The New Mutants. I was slightly amused when it became an ongoing series, and baffled when it became increasingly popular, and resentful when parodies/knockoffs like Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters started taking over the black and white comics market, and wondering if the world had gone mad when they exploded into the mainstream with the cartoon series. And, of course, the old and jaded comics fan in me has to point out that the whole different-versions-of-the-characters-meet-each-other has long been a staple of superhero comics, and in Batman's case, there have been at least two comics that have featured nearly all of the many versions of the character: one in the regular continuity, and one that's a crossover with Warren Ellis and John Cassaday's Planetary series.

But I can completely dig the appreciation by TMNT fans, because it sounds a lot like how I reacted at the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations", in which the DS9 crew travel back in time to the time of the original series and interact with the Enterprise crew, partly by painstaking recreation of the original sets, costumes and makeup, and partly by digitally inserting the newer actors into the original footage. It helped that the DS9 writers made Jadzia Dax and, to a lesser extent, Benjamin Sisko fan stand-ins; Dax, who's part 300-year-old symbiont, can remember having lived in that era, and waxes nostalgic every chance she can get. Good times, baby.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:05 AM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Some time in the late 80s I was staying at my aunt's house downstate bored out of my mind so I started rifling through my away-at-college cool older cousin's room looking for some sort of contraband, and when I found the box of indie comix stashed under his bed, it was revelatory. Especially the og Ninja Turtles comics. I mean sure it was all objectively stupid, probably, even more stupid than ypur average superhero comic, but as a seven year old, I was powerless agaimst a book featuring muscled Triceratons firing laser cannons at androids powered by anthropomorphic brains.

I blame that cousin and the Turtles (and Todd MacFarlane and Spawn) for tantalizing me with weird Cerebus crossovers that have lead me down an expensive road that I know is about to derail poorly (fucking crazy misogynist genius pompousass Dave Sim!)

I'd like to give Eastman & Laird credit for being ahead having a super dark (or at least moody, violent, and self serious) iteration of their characters existing alongside a very camp, kid-friendly cartoon version* but it's probably a little more cynical and marketing driven, seeing as how it was really hard for me to find those old comics once the cartoon and movies took off. And there were a lot of craaaappy TMNT toys** and my parents had no idea how to differentiate between the good and the lame.

*I mean sure, Batman did it first with the Adam West show but now alllllll of DC, most of Marvel, and some of Dark Horse is doing.

**But hey, the video games were way better than any other 80s/90s tv show tie ins *cough* The Simpsons *cough*
posted by elr at 10:34 AM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I wish there was more of this.
posted by kjh at 2:30 PM on October 15, 2013

I only very casually watched the 1980s TV show back in the day... I thought it was kind of lame, and clearly for boys only (April was such a joke of a character), but I watched anything animated, so there you go.

But I watched Turtles Forever about ten years ago, when it was on the air, I was pretty much immediately entranced by the meta-ness. Multiverse postmodern world-jumping!? I AM SO THERE!

I rewatched it. It's worth watching even if you-- like myself-- only have a casual knowledge of TMNT. Seriously, it's that good.

And I love the crack about April's costume. "What's up with the yellow jumpsuit? Do you work at a car wash?" LOL!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 9:29 PM on October 15, 2013

Oh my god Wikipedia just reminded me of the "Coming Out of Their Shells" musical tour and that was totally a thing and the entire VHS release is on YouTube. It is the most 90's thing ever. EVER.
  • Splinter has a power ballad.
  • The worst Shredder ever hates music and tries to destroy it and a stadium full of 10 year olds boos him like a wrestling heel and he does bad raps about hating music with dancing foot soldiers.
  • All the parents in the audience are stuck in perma-cringe.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:21 PM on October 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

This was at the grocery store (Safeway) in a discount bin yesterday. My son just turned 6 and likes TMNT in only the vaguest way, which is gonna change NOW

I saw that "coming out of their shells" tour and also saw the Power Team, which was a bunch of ridiculously beefy roid-lookin' Bible-dudes and has nothing to do with TMNT but somehow they seem similar.

I just remember the cheesy ass "coming out of their shells" chorus, gah. Specifically the "coming out of their shells" part
posted by lordaych at 4:01 AM on October 16, 2013

Yay! That's my evening plans sorted then. Thanks mediocre!
posted by Ziggy500 at 6:23 AM on October 16, 2013

I am disappointed that they didn't recreate the thing where the 80s turtles would pull out their weapons and then in the next cut they would magically have weapons on their belts in addition to the weapons in their hands. Because, you know, the character models all have weapons on their belts and we are STAYING ON MODEL, DAMNIT.
posted by ckape at 5:10 PM on October 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

I may or may not know all of the lyrics to all of the songs from the coming out of their shells tour.

Except for the Shredder rap. That song sucked.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:04 PM on October 20, 2013

« Older The Disappearance of N   |   "Editing a series like this, do you detach... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments