I finally got to see this film again. The last time I saw Turtles Forever was way back in 2012 so it’s been quite a while. That was also before I had actually seen the show so this time I got to watch it with the proper context. It’s definitely a fun adventure and a good way to close out this chapter of the franchise. It could have stood to include a little more action if you ask me, but that’s really the 2003 version’s thing so since this is a crossover, I guess they wanted to limit that a bit.
The film starts off with the 80’s turtles infiltrating the 2003 world and getting kidnapped by the Purple Dragons. After the real turtles save them from imminent destruction, they learn that the old Shredder has built a machine that can travel through dimensions. This Shredder decides to revive the main Shredder who promptly betrays the old version. He decides to eradicate all of the dimensions to destroy all of the Turtles around the multiverse. The Turtles will have to band together if they want to stop him.
The 2003 characters definitely take the spotlight for most of the film, which makes sense since it’s their home turf. Not to mention that they are typically known as the strongest incarnation of the characters anyway. They handle the 80’s characters rather easily and do a good job of making short work out of the minions. Casey and April also get a quick cameo, but since Casey is basically retired from fighting now, the two of them can only watch and hope for the best. Hun and Shredder both have big roles. Hun’s glory days are long past, but he still has his main theme working and does manage to get in the way of the heroes quite a lot. For the Shredder, it’s a mixed bag with him. This was easily not his best portrayal as the film decided to add in extra humor for the 80s characters and the Shredder is defeated several times. Being knocked out by the sleeping gas was a little unfortunate and then we also panicked when the Turtles charged at him near the end. It further proves the fact that he’s an amazing villain when he has the armor on, but he loses a lot of cool points when he’s in his alien form. He was still the most appropriate choice for the main villain of the film, but I would have liked him to have done more.
One slight issue with the film is that there really aren’t any battles. There are some general action scenes as the heroes take on scores on minions who can’t fight back, but no real fights. The Shredder doesn’t get to fight. Hun doesn’t really get to fight. As a result, there is nobody for the Turtles to go up against. I think that a good sword fight with Leonardo would have been cool. Granted, it was already established that the 80s Turtles can’t really fight, but we could have had them fight the original ones.
The 80’s characters were fun to have for the most part. I like the main Turtles. They brought back the pizza gimmick and are so out of touch with reality that they just do whatever they feel like doing. They ignore the danger and it doesn’t even register for them since they don’t have experience with it. Their weapons are a lot smaller than the 2003 version and they all have Michelangelo’s personality. It’s certainly a contrast to the main group. Unfortunately, their villains are less interesting. The Shredder is about as comic relief as a villain can get and is mocked quite a lot by the main Shredder. Krang has an intriguing burping gimmick that gets old real fast.
Finally, the original Turtles are pretty great. They do come off as rather unreasonable and why would they pick a fight with the others instantly, but not try to stop the Shredder when he’s apparently been messing up their city all day? Ah well, it gave us an excuse for a quick fight scene. I also liked how they shoved Raphael away when he tried making fun of the 80s versions. Raphael was pretty out of line there. It’s always nice to see that the original version of a character is hardcore, that’s how it should be and the black and white Turtles got the job done.
Turtles Forever gives some closure to various 2003 characters. Karai finally makes the tough call and distances herself from the Shredder, Hun finally became a Turtle, and Splinter has finally realized that there were other Turtles in the multiverse. I do think that the characters were very slow to pick up on what was actually happening here, but not everyone is cut out for time travel right? It was so unnerving that the Turtles didn’t even take prisoners in this show. They blew up one of the humans who got infected by the ooze and was changed into a monster. I was not expecting that and you have to feel bad for the humans, the Turtles shot and ran over all of them. Even 80s April O Neal didn’t have a happy ending as the villains got to her in the end after the Turtles left. The film was certainly a little more intense than you’d expect in some cases while not as intense in other ways.
The film is decently long so there is time for a lot to happen throughout. We get a lot of reunions and the heroes try to make a bunch of plans. It’s where there are some missed opportunities though. The film is long enough where it could have included a lot of other fights or more plot, but it kind of got stuck for a little while as the plot stalled. I have to admit, the movie could have been ever so slightly better with time management. Still, it accomplished what it set out to do by having the Turtles meet, interact, and then team up to fight the big villain. It’s a formula that works.
The animation is solid as always. The 2003 style just works really well with everyone. Seeing the 80’s Turtles in this futuristic environment was certainly fun. It was also cool to see the Turtles warp to different areas and then the animation would adjust as needed. That’s always one of the best parts of a crossover, letting the heroes see the other worlds. Of course, the best part is seeing the characters fight each other and we did have a brief skirmish with the original Turtles. As always, the music for Turtles Forever is good. We get to hear all of the classic tunes from the 2003 shows like Hun’s theme and Shredder’s classic sound effect. The action themes also work well and it should feel nostalgic since it’s like watching the show again.
Overall, Turtles Forever is a fun action movie and a good crossover event. Naturally, your enjoyment of the film will range based on how big of a TMNT fan you are. I imagine that people who watched both shows will enjoy it even more than those who watched one. It has good animation and a nice soundtrack to go along with the plot. I would have liked there to have been some more action and maybe a little more danger as well, but Turtles Forever is pretty good at keeping the TMNT tone that you would expect. I’m not sure if I can give it the nod over the CGI TMNT film as the best one in the franchise, but it’s very close. I haven’t seen the other one in a long time so it’s hard to say for sure. Regardless, I look forward to the next big (Non Michael Bay) TMNT film and hopefully we get a big theatrical crossover event someday. Hey…you never know right?