Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles uses Central Park as an establishing shot for an apartment at 11th and Bleecker. I’ll let you Google Map that one.
The film’s worth talking about for four reasons—the amazing animatronics, the editing, the anti-Japanese sentiment and Judith Hoag. It’s also amusing to watch for Sam Rockwell sightings, but that one isn’t so much a discussion point.
For people who care about puppetry and animatronics, the work the Jim Henson workshop does in Turtles is phenomenal. They create five entirely believable creatures. It’s so effective, in fact, I’m glad Josh Pais both did the voice and the costume work for his character… so I can identify him as the film’s worst performance.
There are some terrible performances from the regular actors here, but Pais is atrocious. His characterization seems like a mix between James Cagney and George Jefferson. If Turtles weren’t a stupid movie with a bad script, he’d be the one ruining it.
Switching up the list a bit—Judith Hoag. While Elias Koteas (as her romantic interest) is okay, she’s great opposite all the costumes and animatronic nonsense. She makes the fantastical nature work… at least until her character disappears to give more attention to the lame fight scenes.
The great editing—in the fight scenes and not—makes Turtles mildly tolerable. The anti-Japanese sentiment is bewildering but captivating.
Awful performances from James Saito and Obata Toshirô—the only Japanese actors—don’t help.
Turtles is terrible. Hoag aside, there’s nothing “good.”