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Plot Thickens for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

April 01, 1993|LYNN SMITH | Lynn Smith is a staff writer for The Times' View section.

In "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Turtles Are Back . . . in Time," the four wisecracking Turtles find a magic scepter that whisks them back in time to 17th Century feudal Japan. (Rated PG)


If you've seen one "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle" movie, haven't you seen them all? No way, said Tyler, 11, and his brother Travis, 8. In fact, they said, the sequels just keep getting better.

"This was the best," Travis said.

"It seemed more interesting," Tyler said. "It had more of a story line."

The original, he said, was "just your basic movie. All they did was introduce the turtles." The second movie, "The Secret of the Ooze," explained how they got turned into what they are. (Which is? "Just what it says: Teen-age. Mutant. Ninja. Turtles," he explained patiently. "They're around their teen-age years. They're a mutation. They have Ninja fighting skills. And they're turtles." Gotcha.)

But back to movie No. 3. This movie, he said, "was like a history lesson. It showed you what it was like back then. Kids didn't go inside and play Nintendo when they got bored. They had to go fly kites and stuff."

Tyler figured the reason it took so much longer between movies two and three than between the original and the first sequel is that No. 3 was more difficult to make. "In this one there was more scenery, more Japanese costumes, more special effects and stuff."

He thought the movie might even have been filmed in Japan, given that if the misty, forested hillsides were in California, "they would have been plowed down and have houses on them."

Some parts of the movie were subtle sendups of other actors or movies that Tyler said he didn't always recognize. But the boys chuckled heartily over the movie's hey-dude humor.

Tyler: "I liked it when he was riding through the forest . . ."

Travis: ". . . backwards!"

Tyler: "And when he fell into the swamp and said, 'I think I ate a frog. I hope it's not one of my ancestors.' "

Travis: "Or when that big bell fell on Lord Norinaga . . ."

Tyler: "And the guy says, 'That name rings a bell!' "

Their sister Alina, who is 3, sat with them through the movie and gave it a tiny thumb up. She's a fan of the Turtles from weekday morning TV, she said. "My mommy doesn't always like it. But I like it sometimes."

But all things considered, Alina said, she'd rather be playing Barbies.

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