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Awesome / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

  • The special effects of the first movie (done by Jim Henson, the man behind Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, of all people) arguably make the entire thing one long Moment of Awesome, but what stands out the most are the fights between the Turtles and the Foot, which are energetic and imaginative. The fact that they pulled this off with four of the principal performers in 100lb costumes and nearly blind makes it all the more impressive.
    • It's not just the fights. The Turtles are all able to fully emote and even believably cry at several points. The suits immediately draw you into the illusion that these magnificent creatures are one hundred percent real.
    • Most fans assumed that the film would be animated and were gobsmacked that it was live-action.
    • One of the most striking fight moments which really shows off the suits' design and the stunt performers' skill in moving in them is Donatello facing Shredder and dropping smoothly into a leg sweep and back up. This is not a short, stilted movement with a quick cut-away: this is a full body move involving contortion and weight-shifting, shot very clearly from the side from start to finish, and it looks completely smooth and natural. It helps that the fighting/stunt suit actor for Donnie was the legendary Ernie Reyes Jr. in one of his first roles.
  • When Raphael stops Casey beating up two purse-snatchers, Casey says they need to be taught a lesson. Raph says, "Not like that, they don't. Not from you." That line shows that despite his anger issues, Raphael has a strong moral core and sense of justice. As far as he's concerned, it was enough to return the purse to its owner and give the thieves a scare; he doesn't believe in Disproportionate Retribution or extrajudicial punishment.
  • Casey Jones telling off the junior members of the Foot after claiming that they're a "family." (Crosses over into Heartwarming when you realize he's second-hand seen what a real family looks like through the Turtles' interactions with each other.)
    Casey: Family? Is... is that what you said? Family? You call this here... [indicates the members of the Foot] ...and that down there... [indicates the fallen Tatsu] family?!
    • Before that, he takes a beating from Tatsu, which Casey then turns into a Curb-Stomp Battle once he gets his hands on a golf club.
      Casey: FORE! [Tatsu is sent flying with one hit]
  • The fact that Splinter, who was an unmutated rat at the time, still tried to avenge his master by jumping on Oroku Saki's face and clawing and biting him badly enough to leave permanent scars.
    • And then a mutation and fifteen years later, Splinter not only succeeds at avenging his master, but ends up having the Shredder at his complete mercy with a simple flick of the wrist.
    • And Casey finishing him off in the garbage truck complete with a deadpan "Oops!" when he turns on the crusher.
  • Michelangelo's nunchuku duel with the Foot Clan member.
  • Leonardo actually scoring a hit on the Shredder.
    • In the Novelization of the film, it's stated that the Turtles drew blood from Shredder (likely due to Leo's above-mentioned hit), eliciting a silent Oh, Crap! from him.
  • The rooftop fight, for its energy and Awesome Music.
  • The Turtles' first real fight with the Foot Clan doesn't go their way. Raphael is injured and out of the fight, they're taken by surprise, and they are slowly being overwhelmed. It's only through the arrival of Casey Jones and a quick retreat that the Turtles survive. The rematch, however, is far different. The Turtles manage to not only hold them off but force the entire Foot Clan to retreat. And keep in mind that their first bout at April's was only against a small contingent while the rematch was against the entire clan!
    • And then Shredder himself decides to join in and utterly thrashes the Turtles throughout the fight with only Leo managing to get in a rather minor hit. It takes Master Splinter himself to finally bring the man down through misdirection and trickery. Say what you will about his cartoon incarnation at the time, THIS Shredder was nothing short of a badass of the highest caliber.
    • The best part of the battle in April's apartment is when Casey shows up to cover the Turtles' escape and wipes the floor with the entire squad.
  • Shredder's entrance is everything the fans could have hoped for in seeing this iconic childhood villain make the leap to live action, with an intimidating bassline underscoring his lengthy shadow preceding him into the room, and finally Tatsu removes his cloak to reveal his armor, all played deadly serious just as the moment deserves.
    • A deleted scene (depicted in the novelization and altered slightly in a comic based off the movie) had Tatsu place a red headband on Shredder's armor, and he then takes a seat on the rolled out carpet. The four thugs that tried to jump April at the movie's start are given weapons, and it's implied that whoever manages to obtain the headband will avoid punishment. The thugs don't stand a chance, as Shredder effortlessly deflects their blows whilst scratching them in turn, implicitly making them pay for their bail money with blood. In fact, a remnant of this scene can be viewed when the new Foot soldier is being masked by Shredder: one such thug is in the background of the shot, nursing his new wound.
  • After the Shredder is defeated, the Ninja Turtles begin celebrating, while trying to figure out which Totally Radical word best sums up their victory. Then, Master Splinter steps up with his own suggestion;
    Splinter: I have always liked..."Cowabunga."
    (After a moments thought, the Turtles share a group hi-five)
    Turtles: COWABUNGA!!
    Splinter: I made a funny! Hahahaha!
    (Partners In Kryme's "Turtle Rap" starts to play)