Follow TV Tropes


Film / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

Go To
Jungle life, I'm far away from nowhere, on my own like Tarzan boy...
"Hey, you were expecting maybe, uhh, The Addams Family?"

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III is the 1993 sequel to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze and the third and last live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie from the 90s. It is written and directed by Stuart Gillard. It was released on March 19th, 1993.

When an antique scepter sends April O'Neil (Paige Turco) to 1603 Japan, it's up to Leonardo (Mark Caso and Jim Martin, with voice dubbing by Brian Tochi), Michelangelo (David Fraser and Gordon Robertson, with voice dubbing by Robbie Rist), Donatello (Jim Raposa and Rick Lyon, with voice dubbing by Corey Feldman) and Raphael (Matt Hill and Noel MacNeal, with voice dubbing by Tim Kelleher) to retrieve her and travel back to present day New York before the scepter's powers are gone for good. As they search for the scepter in that time period, they have to contend with an evil British weapons-trader named Walker (Stuart Wilson), because everybody knows all the best villains are British.

Oh, and since both scepters exchange the people holding them between the two time periods, Hilarity Ensues as the misplaced individuals attempt to cope with their strange new surroundings.

The film also stars Elias Koteas as Casey Jones, Vivian Wu as Mitsu and Sab Shimono as Lord Norinaga.

The film was followed by TMNT.

This film has the examples of:

  • Action Dress Rip: After switching places during time travel, April O' Neil wears Kenshin's samurai outfit in feudal Japan. Later, after escaping from the dungeon with the Turtles, we see her ripping part of the samurai clothing off by the lake while Leo and Donatello are looking.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Lord Norinaga and Captain Walker. The former agrees to an alliance with the latter so he can use their firearms on his enemies, though Walker is the more malevolent of the pair.
  • Book Ends: The movie begins and ends with the Turtles dancing.
  • The Bus Came Back: After being missing from the second movie, Casey returns after the turtles call him over for a visit. He is ready to "knock some heads," until he is told they need him to watch over the people from ancient Japan they are going to be switching with.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Kenshin towards his father.
    Lord Norinaga: Kenshin, I have forbid you for leaving the palace. You have disgraced me.
    Kenshin: It is you who have disgraced me, father. You and your unjust war.
    [Everyone is quiet. Norinaga is about to come down hard on him until Walker arrives.]
  • Can't Take Anything with You: The sceptre doesn't let its users carry their clothes through time, making them switch their outfits of the users at the other end. Though, it's a little inconsistent, because April's Walkman and the Turtles, Kenshin and the Honor Guards' weapons were transported with them. Plus, one of the Honor Guards returns to his time still wearing the shorts.
  • Canon Foreigner: Everyone except the Turtles, Splinter, April and Casey.
  • Captain Ersatz: Lord Norinaga is depicted as a brutal warlord interested in the conquest of feudal Japan and is making a deal with a foreigner to supply his troops with guns. Can't imagine what sort of real-life person may have inspired such a character. (Though at least this one doesn't have demonic powers.)
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: "This is the worst rescue I've ever had."
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: After Michelangelo rescues Yoshi from the burning house, Leonardo attempts CPR on Yoshi. During this, Mitsu claims he's 'casting an evil spell', but April corrects her that 'he's helping'. It's actually justified, since Yoshi wasn't breathing due to smoke inhalation.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: The true reason Norinaga is at war with Mitsu is because he doesn't approve of his son's relationship with her.
  • Desperate Object Catch: Mikey, with the scepter, before Walker can throw it off of a roof.
  • Disney Villain Death: Walker's plunge to his watery doom.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Done with a justification. The established rules of time-travel in the movie state that in order to go into the past, the turtles would have to swap places and uniforms with whoever is holding the scepter in Feudal Japan. It just so happened that the ones in the past were the Daimyo's honor guard. Luckily, the ceremonial samurai masks allow the Turtles to disguise their faces as well. Originally they thought they were gonna be switched with four priests at the palace.
  • Equivalent Exchange: The magic time traveling scepter supposedly requires an equal number of people, of roughly the same weight, to travel in each direction. In practice the muscle-bound, shell-heavy Turtles and the four lean Samurai are certainly not close in weight, and April can't possibly come close to Kenshin.
  • Eternal English: The Turtles find that everyone they talk to knows English, which had been introduced to Feudal Japan only a few years earlier. And not only that, but we're talking residents of a remote Japanese village. On the flip-side, those four Samurai transported to the future, don't know a word of English.
  • Faint in Shock: Kenshin faints when he meets splinter. A callback to Keno fainting in the second film. Lampshaded:
    Donatello: You sure have a strange effect on people, don't you, Master?
    Splinter: Hmmmm... out cold.
  • Foreshadowing: The film seems to be trying to set up a sequel where the Turtles travel back even further to the Battle of a Thousand Swords and defeat the Daimyo's ancestor.
  • Fully-Clothed Nudity: Prior to the Turtles' trip through time, Michelangelo puts on Hawaiian shorts, advising the others to do the same, so that their counterparts, in switching place with them, don't arrive "bare-butt naked" as he puts it. However, there is no time for the others to follow suit. Nevertheless, when Norinaga's guards switch places with the Turtles in the present day, save the one wearing Michelangelo's Hawaiian shorts, the others arrive wearing white leotards, with no bare butts being shown.
  • Heroic Fire Rescue: Michelangelo saves Yoshi from a burning building just before the Turtles are reunited. It convinces Mitsu and the other villagers to trust the Turtles.
  • Horsing Around: Turtles try their hand at horseback riding. They are each in turn thrown off... except for Leonardo, who goes riding off standing on the horse.
  • I Choose to Stay: Michelangelo and Raphael want to stay (the former's feelings for Mitsu, the latter feeling more appreciated and have no reason to hide). Leonardo is considering staying, until he realizes they belong in their own time and that they'll meddle too much in the villagers' lives.
  • I Don't Pay You to Think: Whit says "I think she's telling the truth" about April's information of Kenshin's whereabouts, to which Walker replies "Really? Well, I don't pay you to think, do I? I pay you to lie, cheat, and steal."
  • Identical Grandson: The Turtles meet an ancestor of Casey Jones (and played by the same actor), a British ne'er-do-well stuck in Ancient Japan.
  • In Name Only: While not officially confirmed, a review at TMNT Entity suggests it's no coincidence that the movie has so many similarities to the "Masks" two-parter from Volume 1 of the Mirage comics.
    "The time scepter is there! But no Renet because trying to explain her history might cost too much. Feudal Japan is there! But no giant lizard men because that sort of costume would be too expensive. There's an evil shogun! Except he's not a demonic creature because we gotta think about the bottom line, people."
  • Instant Expert: While the other turtles are terrible at Horse riding, Leo eventually becomes better in his second attempt. Donnie groans "You know, sometimes I hate that guy".
  • Interspecies Romance: Develops between Michelangelo and Mitsu. Downplayed, however, as Mitsu is in love with Kenshin.
    Michelangelo: But, I want to stay here... with you.
    Mitsu: You will always be here with me, Michelangelo.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Raphael, in his "Turtle Tantrum" complains that no one seems to no about or appreciate the Turtles. Just as his fit reaches high volume, April O'Neil shows up to give them some gifts.
  • Layman's Terms: When Donatello dispenses some technobabble in regards to the limited time they have to find April and return to the present, Casey immediately asks for some clarification.
    Casey: Whoa,, what does all that mean in, American?
    Donatello: If we're not back in two and a half days, we're turtle soup.
  • Kneel Before Frodo: The villagers bow to the Turtles for saving Yoshi twice.
  • Match Cut: From the rat in the dungeon April's imprisonment to Splinter in the present.
  • The Mole: The rebels have one (a priest) in Norinaga's palace. He saw Norinaga agreeing to Walker's deal of using guns. Later, he snuck out to the village to inform Mitsu.
  • Not So Above It All: Straight-laced Master Splinter, once again, shows that he's not above making the occasional joke like the Turtles while wearing lampshade.
    Splinter: Yo, dude! Like Elvis in Blue Hawaii!
  • Numbered Sequels: With no subtitle this time around.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Raph in one of his usual moods at the beginning.
    Raph: What are we doing this for? Day after day? Practicing? Killing ourselves? And for what?!
    Splinter: (sighs) Raphael...

    April: Where's Raph?
    Don: He's on another funk.
    April: Again?
  • One-Steve Limit: Zig-zagged. By itself, no two characters share the same name in the film. However, this film is still in continuity with the previous two, meaning we have two different characters named "Yoshi" (the kid that Raphael befriends and Splinter's deceased master; and no, there's no indication that the former is the ancestor of the latter).
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Mitsu is about to shoot an arrow at either Whit or April. Raph stops her, which surprises her since apparently Norinaga's Honor Guards would never bother to save or help anyone from their side. Also, he speaks English, which none of the Honor Guards can before.
  • Rebel Prince: Kenshin.
    Walker: Children can be such a pest. Especially when they're friends with the enemy.
  • Reverse Grip: Mitsu holds her dagger this way.
  • San Dimas Time: The Time Traveling scepter (in the present) only has enough power to work 5 times in 60 hours, after which it is destroyed, rendering even the fully intact scepter in 1603 Japan useless as well.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: The film ups the ante by taking place in ancient Japan. Of course, the Turtles are ninjas.
  • Ship Tease: The ending shows Casey and April next to each other laughing at the turtles antics and exchanging a brief look.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Addams Family line quoted above. It was probably supposed to be a Take That! at Addams Family Values, a sequel to the first Addams Family movie that was coming out the same year as Ninja Turtles III, but even with that kind of context it makes no sense, especially since Donny is asking this to a group of guards in 1603 Japan.
      • The Addams Family TV series itself made a shout out, also doubling as Hilarious in Hindsight. Mainly in "Dead and Breakfast" when Grandmama answered her hotline, apparently talking to Donatello who seeked her help, asking why his pizza was taking too long to arrive from the restaurant.
    • "Help, I'm a turtle and I can't get up!"
    • "Ok, go ahead punk, make my day!"
    • "Whoa, leg-o-rama! Schwing!"
    • Before escaping from the dungeon, Raph deepens his voice and says, "I'll be back."
  • Skyward Scream: Raph, when he found the scepter (actually Yoshi gave it to him).
    Raph: LEO!!!! I FOUND IT!!
  • Special Effects Evolution: Inverted; following up on the already cartoonish redesigns for the previous movie, this one goes whole hog with how the turtles look like living cartoon characters. However, this makes the effects themselves even faker and obvious that the Turtles are People in Rubber Suits with animatronic heads that move too robotically to be convincing.
  • Team Title
  • Title Drop: This is how the Turtles refer to themselves.
    Walker: What kind of demons are you?
    Leonardo: We're Turtles, friend.
    Donatello: ...of the Teenage Mutant Ninja variety, sleazeball.
  • Underside Ride: The Turtles do this using a wagon to sneak into the daimyo's palace. Of course, they were already Dressing as the Enemy, but wanted to stay out of contact with the daimyo to avoid a case of Spot the Imposter.
    Donatello: I told you these suits would get us in trouble!
  • Wasn't That Fun?: For the first few minutes in Feudal Japan, the Turtles find themselves riding horseback during a massive battle, end up separated from Mikey, and then unceremoniously dumped into a marsh. Raphael remarks, in his classic sarcasm, "That was fun."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Turtles call out Mitsu for supposedly hiding the scepter, for without it they "have no choice but to stay and fight" (even Mikey believed it). Then her grandfather confesses he was the one who hid the scepter from them (he told Yoshi to hide it, but his grandson didn't want his new friends to die), because he fears Mitsu would be killed and pleads that they help her win the war. Mitsu was likely against her grandfather's decision, because if the Turtles and April stayed she might never see Kenshin again, and the daimyo will continue to wage war.


Walker's Watery Doom

Walker's plunge to his watery doom.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / DisneyVillainDeath

Media sources: