View Full Version : Masterpiece's Analysis of the Original TMNT Movie

04-03-2016, 05:00 AM
Hello, fellow fans!

I've always wanted to post my observations about movies online.

Now I have the chance!

I want to analyse my number 1 film, TMNT 1990!

Seriously, I rank it as the Best Film Ever, in my opinion.

So how this thread works is that I will post an analysis of a certain topic regarding the 1990 movie.

One topic, one analysis, one comment. That's how I'll lay out my work.

People are free to reply and discuss stuff with each other and me.

So let's begin!

04-03-2016, 05:37 AM
Seriously, those damn costumes are damn amazing!
The detail and effort put into making them are phenomenal!
Props to the Henson team and the design artists!
It really paved the way for the animatronics of today!

Most innovative about the costumes, however, is that they not only combined aspects of the Mirage and the 1987 looks, but also was the first time each turtle had their own individual look that visually showed their personalities.

Leonardo is the tallest and most lanky. Gives him a big-brother, leader look, befitting how his character was written.

Raphael is the second-tallest and most bulky. The bulk shows his tough side, but being second-tallest puts him in Leo's shadow.

Donatello. Second-shortest and chubby. Why chubby? Because he prefers to be doing chill stuff rather than training and sparring. One of his personality traits is that he's a pacifist, visually supported by the fact that his weapon's merely a staff.

Michelangelo. Shortest which means he's the youngest. But his body proportions make him look like Raph, only smaller. That hints at his special closeness with Raph. And it also shows that while he may not display a grim demeanour, he can kick butt if you push him too far.

But then I got really more into detail and observed some features that would blow a TMNT fan away.
You may or may not claim that I look into this stuff too much, but I'm just stating what I observed.

Whether intentional or unintentional, the costumes of each turtle seem like they're on a visual scale of Mirage Looks vs 1987 Looks. Allow me to explain.

Leo is the turtle that looks like he was mostly based off the 1987 version.
Raph is the one that looks like he was based off the Mirage version mostly.

For Raph, it would make sense that the costume in question bears the most resemblance to the Mirage version. For Raph's the turtle that keeps the most of his Mirage personality.

Donnie, surprisingly, is the turtle who takes 2nd place regarding visual faithfulness to the Mirage version. Seeing that when he's ticked off he can get quite aggressive and even violent, the resemblance to the Mirage version is a nice nod to that.

Mikey, while obviously taking a lot of visual cues from his 1987 counterpart, still looks surprisingly more Mirage than Leo. That would fit this version of Mikey, who tends to float like a butterfly but sting like a bee.

Last, but definitely not least, is Leo.
He bears the the most resemblance to 1987 over Mirage, but that fits with how complex his character is. He starts off a simple child who just wants to goof off with his younger brothers, rarely displaying outright leadership, but at movie's end he's grown into a mature young leader.
The costume mask is also the most expressive as well, greatly displaying many emotional ranges - from depression to cheerfulness, carefree to grim, determined to terrified, you name it. Leo in the 1990 Movie is the most complex version of the character in my opinion, and is also my favorite version of Leo as well.

Here are some comparison images:



That concludes my main analysis on costumes.
I can clarify more things (and add more images) if you wish to ask me.

Next up for analysis: Personalities!

04-07-2016, 01:26 AM
Picking up from last post's implications, we are going to be focusing on personalities this time around.

Let's start with Raph. Yes he's rough, brutish and overtly serious. BUT he is the way he is because he does not want to fail his family.
And it can be argued that Raph is the worst ninja out of the family. Aside from 1 ambush, he LOSES every fight he gets into. He isn't adequate enough at stealth (remember that he was tracked by the Foot a couple of times). He can turn into an emotional wreck with little provocation.
Raph is not just second fiddle to Leo, but also to Mikey and Donnie as well.

So Raph would of course be a very broody fellow to be around, taking this into mind. As much as his frustrations are externally directed, a lot of them also are targeted internally at himself.
And it's also interesting to note that Raph does have an idealistic look to him. He stops Casey from killing some punks (who are more or less around his age) early on in the movie.
Unlike the Mirage version, Movie Raph isn't motivated to stop the beatdown because he sees himself in Casey. Rather, it seems that Raph, despite being a hardcase, is sensitive to too much violence.

See, that comes with one of the perks of not sticking verbatim to the source material. The Movie Turtles don't slaughter all their opponents in their first ever fight, unlike the Mirage Turtles.
That helps us understand them (the Movie Turtles) more when they show hesitance to use excessive force in battle.

So it is kinda neat that Raph shows some youthful idealism in himself.
I'll talk about the 2007 TMNT movie for a moment here. Remember how the 2007 movie showed Raph becoming the Nightwatcher because he got too cynical with criminals and thugs? That could've been a major plot point full of potential - Raph in the original movie starting out as a hotheaded yet idealistic kid, but by the 2007 movie has grown weary of all the wrongdoings going around.
That could've been a cool sub-story to explore - and it would've linked the 2007 movie more closer to the 1990 movie (which is what director Kevin Munroe wanted) - but alas this potential plot point went to waste.

As I was typing this, I realised that exploring the personalities of the main characters would end up with a really really long post.
So I've decided to split this sub-topic up.
While this topic is still known as Analysis #2, there will be mini-analyses to follow this up.

So this post is now known as Analysis #2.1.

04-08-2016, 12:10 AM
Remember, fellow TMNT fans, if you want more individual clarification, you can post a reply asking me to elaborate more on the topics that you wish were more pronounced.

04-08-2016, 12:23 AM
Maybe you'd be better off starting a blog.

04-08-2016, 12:44 AM
Then we come to my favorite version of Leo ever.
This Leo is the most complex that I've ever seen.

But basics first.
He's a superb leader, and the best fighter. He makes good tactical calls throughout the movie, and lasted the longest against Shredder. Heck, Leo could've won if he hadn't lost his cool.

Talking about losing one's cool, this Leo is the most expressive and emotional of all Leos - and as a result is the most intriguing Leo to watch.
At the beginning, he is laid-back and enjoys playing and joking around with Don and Mike. He even gives Raph his own personal space.

Leo: Hey Raph, where ya going?
Raph: Out to a movie. That okay with you?
Leo: Yeah.

Skip forward to Splinter's kidnapping, and you have to applaud Leo for holding it together. Raph screams in anguish. Don physically collapses. Mikey is just a few seconds away from crying (those costumes are damn expressive!) - though Mikey must be commended for taking 2nd place in the stoic department, right behind Leo.

Then at April's apartment, just before the ambush, Leo makes a sound call in choosing to wait for more info from April's reports before charging off to find his father's kidnappers. That is tactical, excellent leadership.

But then Leo makes a near-fatal mistake, though that only serves to humanize him even more. Having had enough of Raph's gratuitous impulsiveness, Leo scolds him justifiably.
However, sending Raph out was a bad move - especially since they have to remain hidden now more than ever.

As a result, Raph gets beaten nearly to death, and Leo spends most of the time at the farmhouse mentally chastising himself and watching over his brother.

That is a change from the source material that I openly welcome.
Mirage Leo gave himself a lot of crap for something that was out of his control - getting ambushed while out on an exercise run.
Movie Leo gave himself a lot of crap because he fully well knows that he was the one who sent Raph out there in a moment of unfettered anger. To top that off, Leo even frustratedly shouted beforehand at Raph that the latter wasn't needed at all in the family.
"Go ahead! We don't need ya!"
Wow. Flawed leader much?
Yes. Flawed. But oh-so-very human.

It's neat to note that these experiences have shaped Leo's dynamic with Raph for the better.
Just after they return to New York, Raph questions why they don't just get down to business right away.
Leo just calmly states that they would be in no condition to face the Foot if they weren't well-rested.
Raph's response? He immediately and humbly acknowledges Leo's superior logic.

There's just one more important scene that gives so much depth to Leo's character.
The climax. The turtles have been beaten. Shredder gives his final, cruel taunt - that he has killed Splinter (or so he thought).
Leo just LOSES it.
That's one of the best scenes ever because Leo is at his most human and at his most complex in that situation.
Shredder has completely shattered Leo's discipline and the teenaged turtle charges at him out of pure, unadulterated hatred and rage.
Raph for once IS NOT charging in headfirst.
It's Leo.
The very implication of Splinter being murdered has driven Leo of all turtles over the edge.

Over the course of the film, Leo has grown from a fun-loving child into a mature leader.
But I love that the film still ends with the fact that while Leo has excellently developed his leadership skills, he still has much to learn.
In fact, all the turtles still have much to learn at the end of the film, despite having made significant leaps in their ninjutsu training.

PS: There is one more scene that I do adore with Leo. That scene after the climax, where the turtles hug Splinter after being reunited.
Despite the fact that he's just 15 and only the eldest of his brothers by a few minutes, Leo is hanging back, letting all his brothers crowd around Splinter and hug him first.
THAT is the kind of big-brother behaviour that defines Leo to me.

Oh, and his squeaky voice is totally ADORABLE!!!

04-08-2016, 12:46 AM
Maybe you'd be better off starting a blog.

I apologize sincerely, but I must ask first.

Are the forums not meant for these kind of discussions?

Or was that just a friendly suggestion?