The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie to be done in complete CGI.
After training in Central America at the request of Splinter, Leo returns home to New York and reunites with his brothers.
Meanwhile, super wealthy mogul Max Winters has gained possession of four stone statues, one of which was retrieved for him by April. We learn that Winters is a warlord made immortal thousands of years ago upon contact with a rift in dimensions and that those statues are his generals, who were transformed into living stone. Winters also has hired guns in a reformed Foot Clan led by the mysterious Karai. As all of this is happening, monsters are starting to appear all over the city.
The turtles must overcome their personal differences and become a whole once again to get to the bottom of things and quite possibly save the world.
TMNT provides examples of:
- Action Girl: April O'Neill.
- All-CGI Cartoon
- All There in the Manual: The little-known prequel comics (issue #1) are this in terms of the Nightwatcher character. You'd never know that Raphael got the suit from an old vigilante that he failed to save. By extension you also wouldn't know that as Nightwatcher, Raphael is a Legacy Character. It's like a side of depression fries to that milkshake of family strife the movie exhibits, isn't it?
- Aguila is the only one of the Stone Generals whose name is ever said on-screen in the film. The names of the other three generals only appear in the end credits and supplemental material.
- Alternate Continuity: While technically a sequel to the live-action trilogy with Broad Strokes applied, the multiverse scene in Turtles Forever would later outright confirm this film to be a completely separate continuity.
- Anachronism Stew: The four ancient Aztec generals from 1000 BC had SPANISH names. The Spanish language did not even exist back then. And the Spanish language did not arrive to Mexico until after 1492 AD. Also possible example of Spexico.
- Badass Family: Winters/Yaotl and The Stone Generals.
- And, as always, the Turtles, Splinter, Casey, and April.
- Badass Normal: Casey Jones, April O'Neil and Karai.
- Battle Trophy: Splinter has a trophy shelf displaying various keepsakes from previous films.
- Battle Couple: April and Casey.
- Battle in the Rain: Leo and Raph's climatic battle, after all the tension between them in the movie and the revelation that Raph is the Nightwatcher, takes place on a dirty rooftop at night, in the rain, echoing the sadness of the scene; that in the end, all the issues between the two brothers has led to this.
- Berserk Button: Leo picks the wrong taunt when arguing with his brother Raphael, causing them to fight each other.Leonardo: You aren't ready! You're impatient, and hot-tempered, and more importantly... I'm better than you.
Raphael: (laughs) Oh, you know something, big brother? [pulls out his sais] I'd have to disagree with you on that one.
Leonardo: Don't do this, Raph.
Raphael: I'm done taking orders. [Leonardo pulls out his swords and begins fighting with him]
- Big "NO!": Raph gets one when he returns too late to stop the Stone Generals from taking Leo.
- Bond Breaker: Leo's extended training trip drove the brothers apart. Even when he returns, time has taken its toll on all of them and they aren't able to function as a team anymore, the biggest conflict being between Raph and Leo. The tension between them finally blows out into a no-holds-barred fight after it's revealed to Leo that Raph is the Nightwatcher. A fight which, to be quite honest, was a long time coming between the two. The brothers finally reconcile during the final battle, after saving Leo.
- Bookends: The film begins and ends with the turtles running across the rooftops at night, both being narrated by different characters.
- Broad Strokes: The events of the first three movies, as applied here. It was basically confirmed by Word of God that, they did happen, just not in exactly the same way.
- Call-Back: Casey shouts "Two minutes for high sticking!" after hitting a Foot ninja in the face, which was one of the "penalties" he used on some thugs in the first film.
- Chekhov's Gun: At one point, Casey accidentally breaks a vase in Max Winters' home, causing an alarm to go off and several metal security doors to close and keep people from leaving. Later, seeing the Foot Clan coming to fight the turtles in Max's home again when they are hopelessly outnumbered, Casey breaks another vase deliberately, causing the doors to shut once more and keep the Foot Clan out temporarily.
- The Climax: While technically, the climax is when the turtles battle the stone generals and attempt to close the portal threatening to release an army of monsters onto the world, it really feels more of Dénouement. The real climax is is Leo and Raph's fight, as the conflict between them is more at the forefront than the plot of the villains. Ultimately, after the blowout between them and Leo's subsequent capture, the two brothers finally find it in themselves to reconcile during the Final Battle.
- Continuity Nod:
- Splinter's trophy room contains a whole collection of references to the previous films. Shredder's helmet and staff, a Foot Ninja mask (based on those worn in the previous films, as opposed to the more modern members led by Karai) the T.G.R.I. canister, the Time Scepter, Walker's hat, Lord Norinaga's helmet and the armour of the Honour Guards whom the Turtles took the places of in the third film.
- It also contains some things from other continuities, such as the helmet of an exterminator-themed mutant from the comics and a destroyed Mouser robot.
- Dedication: To Mako, who voiced Master Splinter.
- Demoted to Extra: While not exactly "extras," you can argue that Mikey and Don are supporting characters while Leo and Raph are the main characters of the movie.
- Designated Girl Fight: The Oner shows Karai taking on April amidst the chaos.
- Disappears into Light: Max Winters.
- Distant Prologue: The film begins in 1000 BC with Yaotl gaining immortality and the Generals being turned to stone, along with the 13 monsters being unleashed. The scene then cuts to 3000 years in the present.
- Evil Sounds Deep: General Aguila.
- Expy: The creators have admitted Max Winters borrows a lot from DC comics' Vandal Savage.
- Flat Characters: The Stone Generals and the 13 monsters have little to no personalities other than being threats that need to be stopped.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- One of Donatello's first scenes is of him handling tech support calls over the phone. But one call: "No, sir, it's not that kind of phone line!" I'm not playing hard to get. I'm telling you,
- Casey and April "shacking up" may qualify. It's rare to see unmarried couples living together in family films, at least in that sort of relationship. Somewhat mitigated by conversation suggesting that April wants to get married but Casey isn't ready.
- Black Betty plays in the background during Raphael's fight with the Jersey Devil in the diner, complete with the line "She Really Gets Me High" intact. Listen for yourself (around the 1:54 mark).
- The Gloves Come Off: After Leo learns that Raph is the Nightwatcher, the two brothers get into a gigantic argument that eventually devolves into a duel. Raph, having already lost the vision-restricting helmet, draws his sais, the weapons he's been trained with since birth, and Leo, realizing that Raph is serious, draws his swords, indicating the two brothers are ready to fight for real.
- Gotta Catch 'Em All: The Foot Clan capturing the 13 Monsters.
- Hybrid Monster: Most of the 13 Monsters.
- The first monster looks like Bigfoot or a Yeti, but with reptillian spines on its back.
- The warehouse monster looks like a cross between a cyclops, a centaur, and a minotaur.
- Raph, as the Nightwatcher, fights one that shares features of the Jersey Devil and a gremlin.
- We briefly see a monster on the train that looks like the cryptid Lizard Man, but has sloth-like claws and knuckle-walks like a gorilla.
- The final monster looks like a cross between a Chinese dragon and Quetzalcoatl, but is stated in the commentary to be the Loch Ness Monster.
- Initialism Title: So far the only film just called "TMNT".
- Julius Beethoven da Vinci: Max Winters.
- Kick the Dog: The Vampire Bat, one of the 13 monsters, eats a pigeon offscreen, then smiles menacingly.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: When Leo confronts Raph as the Nightwatcher, Raph sticks to the weapons that go with the costume. Raph loses that fight. Then Raph ditches the helmet and switches to his sai once Leo presses his Berserk Button. That fight ends in Raph's favor.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: On the villains' side, there are 13 monsters terrorizing the city, several Stone generals and the Foot Clan. Unfortunately, this works against the film, as there is no time to properly develop any of these new characters, and, as a few reviewers have pointed out, the Foot Clan's presence was merely fanservice, as they don't do anything truly crucial to the film's plot.
- Monster of the Aesop: Raph is having issues with Leo's leadership. General Aguila and Yaotl are also brothers with similar issues. While Leo and Raph reconcile at the end, Aguila ends betraying Yaotl.
- Mood Whiplash: The funny scene with the Raphael and a tiny monster is followed by a scene where Raphael and Leonardo have a falling out and fight, all culminating in Leonardo getting captured by the villains.
- And in the final battle, we cut from an epic battle to Casey and April arguing about reckless driving, Karai snarking that they seem like they should be more concerned with the giant monster chasing them, the Foot Ninja nods in agreement, back to epic battle.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Raph's reaction after defeating Leo in their rooftop battle. He let his emotions get the best of him, and nearly killed his brother. Leo's capture soon after and his inability to stop it only intensified those feelings.
- Mythology Gag
- The Oner: We get a minute-long shot that follows Casey, April, Mikey, Raph, Donnie, and Splinter fighting Karai and the Foot in that order.
- Poor Communication Kills: Though not outright stated in the film, it becomes clear that this one of the main issues in the conflict between Leo and Raph. Leo's departure and time away from home was obviously hardest on Raph, but they aren't able to fully communicate with each other about it, which led to the gigantic blowout between them when Raph was revealed to be the Nightwatcher and the fight that subsequently followed, all culminating in Leo's capture by the villains prior to the climax of the film.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: Lampshaded in one scene where the heroes (except Raph) are at April and Casey's apartment coming up with a plan to take on Max Winters. Suddenly, Leo shouts in frustration over Raph going out on his own and for not listening to his orders. Don comments that no one has even mentioned Raph.
- Reality Ensues: Casey easily figures out that his best friend Raph is the Nightwatcher, since a black suit doesn't cover up him having same shape and build. As Casey puts it, "You look like a big, metal turtle."
- Really 700 Years Old: Max Winters is, in fact, Yaotl, cursed with immortality 3,000 years ago.
- Role Reprisal: The two Latin American Spanish dubs have different actors reprising their roles: Luis Daniel Ramírez, Gabriel Ortiz and Karina Altamirano reprising their roles as Leonardo, Michelangelo and Karai from the 2003 TV series in the Videomax dub. Warner's dub has Jesús Barrero reprise his roles as Leonardo from the TV dub of the 1990 film.
- Rooftop Confrontation: Leo vs Raph after Leo learns that Raph is the Nightwatcher.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Splinter forbids the Turtles from fighting in the surface until they can act as a team. He becomes frustrated with Leo and Raph's constant argument. But when Leo gets captured, he decided they've been hiding for too long and it's time to take action.
- Sequel Hook: Karai mentions that soon enough, the Turtles would have further business involving her and "familiar faces from your past," to which Raphael responds, "She doesn't mean..." While we may never see a sequel, it seems like they planned to make a movie where the Shredder returns.
- Shout-Out: The red-light devices used to animate the stone generals look a godawful lot like the red core energy from Imagi's Astro Boy.
- Still Got It: Master Splinter says this when he kicks a couple of monsters back into the portal. Though, to be quite honest, he never lost it.
- Stopped Numbering Sequels: Technically counts, being a Broad Strokes continuation of the previous films.
- Storm the Castle: When Leo is captured by the Generals, Raph leads his remaining brothers, Splinter, Casey, and April to plow through the Foot Clan and then take on Winters.
- Taken for Granite: When Yaotl became immortal, his generals were turned to stone.
- Tantrum Throwing: After Raphael fails to rescue Leo, he ends up knocking down spears and weights after entering Splinter's room.
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: When an angry Leo goes off to find Raph who ditched the team after their last argument, Splinter tells him he "know[s] what he [has] to do".
- Took a Level in Badass: April is now a full-fledged Action Girl capable of taking on Foot Ninjas alongside the others, and matching Karai in an equal one-on-one fight, having been trained by Splinter during the time skip.
- The Unfavorite: Raph feels very inadequate when compared to Leo. Splinter eases his worries and tells him that while he might not be Splinter's favorite student, he loves him just as much as Leo and the others.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Max Winters, after three thousand years of regret and loneliness, cannot find it in himself to bear the curse of immortality any longer. Unfortunately, his brotherhood do not share this sentiment, but then again, they spent three thousand years as stone statues instead of living like Winters did, so they really aren't in a position to sympathize with him.