To the countless Turtle fans, I bid you welcome. Turtles Forever is the final product of an amazing franchise that has crossed generations and brought people together all over the world. It’s hard to believe that it all began as a simple comic drawn in an apartment in my hometown..
There’s a lot of spoiler warnings, so be prepared…
It all begins with a simple heist perpetrated by the Purple Dragons. A quartet of turtle-shaped fighters drop in to crash the party.The sounds of battle in the opening credits is sure to get any turtle fan excited…
Footage from a security camera ends up on national TV, catching the turtles’ attention (not to mention Splinter’s ire). They investigate that a group of turtles similar to them have been dropped into their dimension. With some clever scanning, Donnie figures out the PD’s involvement, and go to investigate.
At the PD HQ, Hun is informed of a successful heist, not to mention the capture of… the turtles. But not THE turtles… these ones look different, sound different. and one even talks to… nobody (breaking the fourth wall, of course). I have to give major kudos the the animators for how well they matched the look of the old turtles, from the softer colors to the bulbous body shapes.
Hun is more than confused by their humor, no to mention the pink vials of ooze that were found in Don’s belt. when they explain that they are trying to prevent the Shredder (aka bucket breath, tin teeth, frying pan face, metal mouth, chrome dome) from getting it. Intrigued by the mutagen, he opens a capsule to look at it. Just then, a fly lands on the vial for only a moment. Hun swats it away, only for it to mutate into a giant nasty fly. A nod to Old Toon Baxter Stockman, perhaps?
Hun is interested in what he could use the ooze for, especially where the Shredder is back. He leaves the Old Toon Turtles for his crew to dispatch and heads out of the room, only to be thrown back in by the turtles from present time (NTTurtles, if you will). One vial of ooze goes flying, landing on one of the PDs and a bulldog. The NTTurtles fight the PDs as they manage to free the OTTurtles. NTLeo figures out a way for the PDs to shoot the wall up and causes it to collapse on the entire PDGang. OTDon retrieves the vials back from Hun, and the eight turtles flee to the rooftops.
The NTTurtles demand an explanation, which the OTTurtles are more then willing to give…. after pizza. The OTTurtles then proceed to walk through town, in broad daylight, to the nearest pizza shop. Saying the NTTurtles are surprised is the understatement of the year. the OTTurtles put the restaurant patrons into a panic, forcing the NTTurtles to go for reinforcements. Police arrive as the OTTurtles are enjoying their meal, forcing them to make a hasty retreat out the back door. Some quick thinking, and Splinter’s throwing arm, saves the boys from imminent disaster.
The OTTurtles explain how they ended up there after a major battle with Krang and the Shredder. One huge explosion later, and the OTBoys find themselves in this strange new world. And with the only option of tracking their nemeses down to get Back…
Deep beneath the streets, a stalled Technodrome sits in a massive cavern. We see OTShredder ranting over the troubles caused by the OTTurtles, even pouting in his commander chair. The computers then report a temporal anomaly, making Shredder realize that they have arrived in a new dimension. Then, the perimeter alarm goes off – outside the drome, stand eight turtles. Shredder sets his army of robotic foot soldiers loose on them, with the assistance of his two mutants, Bebop the mutant boar and Rocksteady the mutant rhino.
If there’s one thing Dong Woo is perfect with, it’s fight scenes. We then see two very different fighting styles, OTTurtle antics and NTTurtle ass-kickery. NTRaph barely avoids getting rolled over by a massive boulder from OTDonatello, letting off a string of off-screen indecipherable cussing that would make a sailor proud, I’m sure.
As the foot soldiers are getting their skidplates handed to them, Krang makes his entrance and yells/gworbles at Shredder for not succeeding in defeating the turtles. The scenes between Krang and Shredder in this movie are pure gold – like an old married couple griping at each other. Shredder tells him off just before realizing that there may be a chance for them. Different dimension could mean a different Shredder – a possible ally. He sets the foot soldiers to self-destruct, nearly collapsing the entire cavern as the drome escapes from the turtles.
Safe from the turtles, Shredder and Krang do a search for their doppelgangers. While no hits come up for Krang (oh the irony), they come upon the magnificence of NTShredder. Shredder is more than excited to meet his counterpart, and starts an extensive search. They end up finding him on the floating ice chunk that he was banished to after the Exodus arc. You can imagine OTShredder’s surprise when he meets Shredder… the pink slug. Krang is not as upset..
They do their best to bring the little pink blob out of his hypothermia, but the machine malfunctions. Krang screams at Shredder for frying the little evil alien, sending him into a rage. Shredder tackles Krang and furiously tries to strangle him. Hilarious, but… how can you choke something that doesn’t have a neck?? NTShredder emerges from his coma and glares down at the two blasphemers. How DARE they take his name! Ch’rell is back, kicking butt and taking names..
A short time later, we join OTShredder giving a tour of the technodrome, getting only the occasional growl from his ‘guest’. Acting quickly, OTShredder puts on a gasmask as Krang traps them into a compartment, filling it with gas. Seeing the trap, NTShredder attacks OTShredder – but the gas takes it toll. He froths at the mouth (like the rabid little slug he is), and collapses on OTShredder’s face. OTShredder throws him off and traps him in a vat, seeing that his counterpart is truly batcrap insane. There was no help coming from this demon gumball. Krang suggests that dissection is the best way to learn more. Fortunate for Ch’rell, Karai (adopted demon spawn of Ch’rell) breaks into the Technodrome, setting her ‘father’ free and takes over the facility in the name of the foot.
Back at the surface, the NT and OT crews are in the turtle van, discussing what they’re going to do, when they get crashed by Hun and the PDs. Hun unleashes his now mutated henchman – changed from his last contact with the gang’s bulldog. Hun wants more of the ooze – he has seen it’s power. The boys battle the Dog-man, Splinter getting thrown like a ragdoll in the process. The injured Sensei manages to save his eldest from being cut to ribbons with a few good cannons. Once things calm down, the NTboys run to help their father up. The OTboys are confused by the ‘father’ talk, but they all agree it’s time to disappear to the sewers. Not one to give up, Hun leaps into the manhole, crashing down on NTRaph and a couple other turtles. He grabs OTDon’s belt, gloating in his victory. But when the boys point out that the vials have broken in his hand, he falls back, hollering as the ooze does it’s work. The boys in green vanish down the tunnel as Hun transforms into what he’d last touched – pissed-off mutant turtle. Say hello to ‘Tokka’…
Hun emerges from the sewer and comes upon the Technodrome. NTShredder (now in his armored garb) and Karai emerge and invite him to join them, where they now have a common goal. Hun begrudgingly joins them, intent on revenge. Deep inside the drome, more changes take place – the technology of Dimension X is merged with Utrom technology. Foot Soldiers are upgraded. And the ooze has been replicated and used to create a new mutant army. We even see what looks like Razhar from the second turtle movie. Meanwhile, NTShredder disappears into the portal room to learn all he can about other dimensions. We later see him emerge from the portal room, holding his head in almost agony. He calls Hun and orders him to bring the turtles to him.
Meanwhile, back at the Lair, our two Donatellos are working together on a trans-dimensional portal stick – a gateway to other worlds that conveniently fits in the glove-box of a car. Needless to say, NTDon is very skeptical. Using a flashlight and a few threats of mechanical violence, they manage to build their makeshift portal. This is what they will use to go back to the OTTurtles’ world to get their Anti-Tehcnodrome gear.
Just as they try to finish their work on the stick, the Lair is overrun by Hun and the Foot. The sight of Turtlized Hun is more than shocking, and the invasion becomes a massive free-for-all. Hun proclaims that he’s there to take his revenge, and announce the return of the one True Shredder. Splinter gets separated from the boys just before they are transported out of danger – to Old Toon World. Complete with the same background designs we all grew up with so long ago. The OTTurtles are jubilant, but the NTboys are worried for the fate of their father. Even NTMike yells at them to be serious for once. OTLeo assures them they will get their gear and return as fast as possible. But first, duty called… they had to save April!
OTApril appears in her yellow-clad buxom glory, being chased down by a horde of evil mutant pizzas, bananas, bowling balls and leprechauns. April offers her thanks, only to pull out a camera and start filming the new toon boys. Soulless journalist that she is…
The boys leave her to be kidnapped by a pizza slice as they take a shortcut to the lair. Now the NTTurtles are in for a surprise as they meet the brown-furred counterpart to their Splinter. OTDonatello gets his gear together as Leo and Raph speak to OTSplinter about their experience in this strange dimension. Splinter offers them both a bowl of rice and assures that they are always welcome there.
Sadly, this is the last that we see our favorite old Sensei. I have to wonder what it would have been like if OTSplinter (aka Hamato Yoshi) and NTSplinter could have met. I think it would have been great for the Splinters to team up and show the boys a thing or two. At the very least pull out the old ‘childhood’ stories to embarass the boys with. Wouldn’t THAT be a hoot!
Back in the Techodrome, NTShredder finds out the status of the turtles from Hun. He uses NTSplinter as bait to lure the turtles back to their trap. NTShredder makes the call – the Drome is coming to the surface. At the surface, we see April and Casey trying to have a pleasant evening walk. The lack of answers from the turtles has April worried, but Casey assures that everything’s ‘peachy’. Then the ground opens up and out comes the Drome in it’s upgraded glory.
The NTTurtles get a glimpse of the ‘gear’ Don’s prepared – Exploding throwing stars, anti-drome roller-skates, SPF1000 sunblock and another stack of pizzas. Things are not going well for the NTTurtles. AS they open the portal, they see the mayhem taking over manhattan. Mike then suggests that they bring out the big artillery. The Turtle Wagon and the Turtle Blimp – complete with logos.
NTShredder gloats as he watches the military get taken out by the drome’s super-laser. Further back, OTShredder and Krang are sitting on an old sofa, eating popcorn and enjoying the ‘show’. Karai’s expression is increasingly unsure of her father’s motives.
Casey and April prepare to attack the drome, when the air opens up next to them. The Turtles arrive on the scene by land and air. OTMike flies the blimp in, much to NTMike’s impatience. After blowing up foot and crashing the blimp into countless vehicles, the turtles prepare to go into the Drome. The NTTurtles have to explain to the OTBoys that it was not a situation to take lightly – NTShredder is vicious… lethal…. Competent. There was a good chance they would not come out of alive. The OTBoys straighten themselves out a bit and they advance together, lured by NTShredder into a major trap.
Splinter is trapped in cuffs as the boys get pulled into a centrifugal DNA extractor. NTShredder announces his plan, explaining that with every dimension, there is a version of Ninja Turtles. SCORES of Ninja Turtles. Here’s where the fans will be replaying and nostalgia-ing for ages to come: Turtles from every universe – Archies, Mirage, Movies, CGI, Zulli, Dooney, Lawson, Laird, Eastman, Berger, Anime, SAINW, and too many to keep track of… A beautiful Collage of 25 years of Turtle-dom.
Yet they all branch out from a single entity, a root universe or “Turtle Prime”. Therefore, if Shredder destroys ‘Turtle Prime’, he destroys turtles forever. So, he breaks down the boys’ DNA to locate the original dimension, catching Karai’s attention from the control room. Seeing what he’s doing, she tricks her father, transporting them out of the Drome, just as it disappears to the Prime Dimension.
April and Casey come to the massive crater left behind, thinking the turtles are gone forever. Right on cue, they appear in mid-air and rain down on April and Casey. They give a quick explanation about what’s happening as they jump into the Party Wagon. Unsure of how they survive, they plan to ambush Shredder – once they figure out how to get to ‘Turtle Prime’. OTDon suggests tweaking the Portal Stick to keep track of the Drome’s inter-dimensional travels.
The conversation gets cut short as Raph hits the brakes. Before them, the world as they know it is vanishing – screen death, as I call it. The color’s vanish, leaving just black line-art, which bleeds to blue sketch-lines, and then nothing but a few pencil eraser bits. Shredder’s gotten to Turtle Prime…
The only option the boys have left is to go to the first place where it all started. The Purple Dragon Headquarters, and the high-tech electronics from the heist. As they load up on gear, Hun and his henchmen appear for another battle. Now here was another place where I really noticed the quality in Dong Woo’s animation. Look at the smooth facial expressions of Hun’s closeups here.
We also get to see the boys working together, OT tactics and NT skills meshed into one great choreographed dance. Another fun moment of ‘breaking the fourth wall’ becomes all the more great when Hun flips out and throttles OTRaph, asking who he’s talking to and why. I love Hun as a psycho turtle..!
The boys try unsuccessfully to explain to Hun what’s going on, until Hun sees it with his own eyes. He has a change of heart as he succumbs to the screen death, throwing the bag of electronics and begging them to stop the Shredder before it’s too late.
The turtles, April and Casey flee from the screen-death, only to lose their human allies in the process. The turtles huddle in the bottom of the crater, scrambling to upgrade the portal stick. Mere inches from death, the stick goes on the fritz. With a desperate strike of the wrench, NTDon manages to get em out of harm’s way….
…to Turtle Prime.
Here’s where the scope of the entire franchise becomes apparent. The turtles have gone back to more than just their roots – it’s the birthplace of all Turtle existence as we know it. The Mirage Purist will LOVE this part of the movie. The animators have pain-stakingly worked on reproducing the world of the first ever comic. Grim, gritty, shades of black and white. While terrifying to most, NTRaph seems ready to settle into the nearest sewer pipe for a vacation. I can think of a few fans who would gladly do the same…
The visit takes a (thrilling) turn, when lo…. the ‘Prime’ turtles (whom I’ll call MTurtles) appear. Shades of gray, with voices I can only describe as.. man, I don’t think there’s even a WORD for it yet. And they are not happy about their impersonators.
MLeo’s seemingly schizophrenic Illeism (talking about one’s self in third person), is actually true to the first issue. MRaph quickly take out ‘the pudgy ones’, while MMike squashes most of the NTBoys while Raph’s having a fanboy moment. NTLeo barely manages to yell out their mission to stop the shredder before MLeo nearly cuts him in two.
After the explanation, the Mirage turtles take a few digs at the turtles old and new. Leave it to Mirage to knock down NTRaph a peg or two. The Mboys go to face NTShredder, complete with call-out lines from the first issue. Unfortunately, it also catches the attention of none other than Mirage Shredder, who sounds NOTHING like he’s Japanese (unless he’s just lost the accent over the years). He gets tossed aside with the rest of the garbage (literally),
NTShredder steps out and introduces himself to the MTurtles, gladly boasting his achievements. The other turtles leap onto the scene and surround him. It is then that Shredder realizes that Karai had saved them from his scanner. She proudly admits what she’s done, not to mention releasing OTKrang, OTShredder and Splinter. She begs him to understand the scope of what he’s doing. As he destroys the worlds, he will ultimately destroy himself.
MRaph shoves the blathering Shredder off the building, only for the megalomaniac to use the technology from Krang’s molecular amplifier to make his body HUGE. Krang attempts to start a Godzilla-esque battle of the titans, but Shredder easily knocks him to the ground before trying to stomp on everyone.
He’s too powerful, even for the OT’s trashcan throwing skills. NTRaph saves the sobbing turtles from a quick demise, reluctantly I’m sure. The guys notice that the MCrew has vanished, only for them to re-appear on the eyes of Shredder’s helmet. Only as what I could call THE best darn window clings ever devised.
Inside, Ch’rell panics and staggers back into the massive laser that’s been destroying the city, putting a building-sized hole in his torso. They realize his weakness and start forcing him back to the laser. Unfortunately, within the drome, Bebop and Rocksteady go to ‘help’ their master, unplugging the laser by accident. Relishing his luck, Shredder grabs the MTurtles, crushing them in his grasp as the world and everyone in it starts to succumb to screen death.
In the nick of time, OTDon throws some of his special exploding ninja stars at Shredder, causing him to drop the MTurtles – as a result, the screen death backs off, returning the turtles and everyone to their normal color. At the same time, Bebop and Rocksteady plug the laser back in, releasing the energy full-bore onto Shredder’s massive robotic body, sending him to oblivion.
Turtle Prime returns to it’s Gray-scale greatness, meaning the screen-death was only temporary. So all the worlds and everyone in them have been returned to normal. MLeo suggests they lay off the dimensional travel before te quartet vanishes into the night.
Before the OTcrew leaves, Krang and Shredder offer one last corny threat before disappearing into the Technodrome. The boys share one last cheer before disappearing. We finally watch the Mirage Turtles muse about their dopplegangers before leaving the scene in true Mirage form.
And then everything changes.
The animated picture turns to a sketch. We have seemingly turned back in time to 1982(3?) to Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. They are discussing their zany comic idea, with great hopes of success. The picture fades away on the cover of the first issue. If they’d only known what they’d created then…
In all, this was a fantastic closure to 25 years of Eastman/Laird Ninja Turtles. Bittersweet, but a little easier to take in, with Nickelodeon taking over the franchise.
I just want to thank everyone for what they’ve done for the franchise, and the relations they’ve had with us wild and crazy fans. I cannot think of another fandom that’s had such an opportunity to connect so much with the creators of what they love. An opportunity we might not have again…
So to Peter, Kevin, Lloyd, Jim, Eric, Michael, Dan, Chris Allan, Tristan, and so many others I can’t think of at the moment…