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Film / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

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Jungle life, I'm far away from nowhere, on my own like Tarzan boy...

"Hey, you were expecting maybe, uhh, The Addams Family?"

The third and last live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie from the 90s.

When an antique scepter sends April to 1603 Japan, it's up to the turtles 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, 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 was followed up by the 2007 movie.


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.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Raph develops this to Yoshi.
  • Book-Ends: The movie begins and ends with the Turtles dancing.
  • 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 was about to come down hard on him until Walker arrives.]
  • Can't Take Anything with You: The sceptre doesn't let its users to carry their clothes through time, making them switch their outfits of with 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 return to his time still wearing the shorts.
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  • 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 requirs an equal number of people (of roughly the same weight, which didn’t come up) to travel in each direction.
    • And it's a good thing it didn't come up, because the muscle-bound, shell-heavy Turtles and the four lean Samurai must logically have at least 200lbs (probably more) of difference in weight, and April can't possibly come close to Kenshin.
  • Eternal English: 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 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. Lampshaded:
    Donatello: You sure have a strange effect on people, don't you, Master?
    Splinter: Hmmmm... out cold.
  • Fully-Clothed Nudity: Prior to the Turtles' trip through time, Michelangelo puts on a Hawaiian skirt, 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, their 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 skirt, 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 wanted to stay (the former's feelings for Mitsu, the latter feeling more appreciated and have no reason to hide). Leonardo was considering staying, until he realized 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: 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."
  • Interspecies Romance: Develops between Michelangelo and Mitsu.
    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.
  • Kill 'Em All: Walker decides to kill the rebels since Norinaga is complaining about his dungeon being crowded. He even says this. Splinter even senses it.
  • 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?
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Mitsu was about to shoot an arrow at either Whit or April. Raph stops her, which surprised her since apparently Norinaga's Honor Guards would never bother to save or help anyone from their side. Also, he spoke 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, Turtles are ninjas.
  • 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!"
  • 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 were angry at Mitsu for supposedly hiding the scepter, for without it they "have no choice but to stay and fight". Then her grandfather confessed 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.


Video Example(s):


Walker's Watery Doom

Walker's plunge to his watery doom.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / DisneyVillainDeath

Media sources:

Main / DisneyVillainDeath