VIDEO: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)

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Go ninja, go ninja, go! Cecil reviews the sequel to one of his all-time favorite films.

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  • How did you do your opening for this and your Mortal Kombat review?  Did you use special rendering software or is it a function of your editing software?  It looks very polished and professional!   

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      Thank you! I have a friend who does VFX for a living. He had some downtime between jobs right now so I asked him to do some intros for me. So he did Mortal Kombat, this one, and he has time for one more (next week) before his next gig.

  • MephLord

    Cecil another review I enjoyed immensely but I have to nitpick something.  A dandelion isn’t a flower it’s a weed.  But the flower jokes were funny so I’ll give it a pass.  It was a movie that I liked as well mostly for how good the fight choreography for the Turtles themselves was, although Vanilla Ice was such a random point of the movie that the whole theatre was laughing during that entire club scene (I saw it live and my Dad actually liked it too, because it was a live action cartoon).  I agree the Super Shredder scene was very disappointing, they could’ve added to the runtime for a better finale since the movie was never boring during any stretch.  I think of any property that defined the 90s in North America it was TMNT.  Spawn is probably #2 and Beverly Hills 90210 is #3.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      Thanks! Hmm, yeah I guess you are right. Oh well, even if I knew that I still would have put it in there I liked the joke too much. :)

      I’d also throw America’s Most Wanted and Baywatch in there too. On a side note, man aw man did I love Beverly Hills 90210.

  • The_Stig

    It was pretty much all downhill for Vanilla Ice after Ninja Rap. You just can’t live up to epic awesomeness like that.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      Poor Vanilla, it was right around this time when Suge was dangling him off the roof of a hotel shaking him down for money. (and as I type this a news article pops saying Vanilla claiming this never happened)

      • The_Stig

        I know, and considering Ice’s goofy hairstyle that must have been a sight to behold.

  • Sofie Liv

    yay secret of the Ooze, the movie where the turtle learned the great secret that.. the ooze was made in a lab.

    I actually saw this movie a couple of weeks ago, nice coincidence, and yeah.. even though I don’t remember having seen it before. (maybe I had, I remember vague images of a turtles vhs in my hands.. or some-thing.) yeah, yeah I enjoyed it.
    Also being a big puppeteer fan and a Jim Henson fan, it was an overjoy to watch all the puppet scenes, my favourite scenes definetely were every-thing with Splinter, I just fell in love with that puppet.

    As for Coyabasha.. well.. what they said at the London panel was that every turtle TV interpretation thus far had had their own catchphrase they used as a battle-cry. The eighties show had. “Cowabonga.” and “Turtle power.” the 2k3 show had. “It’s ninja time.” and. “Gungala.” … I don’t know what the deal with “Gungala.” is either .. and they just wanted to keep the tradition alive by being its own thing. Like adding new original mutant henchmen for Shredder instead of doing bebop and rocksteady again. And I really like the two new henchmen, they have real personality so that’s cool.
    I agree, it’s not. “Cowabonga.” but well, am growing accostumed to it, and I like the show enough that I can hand it to them.

    Oh and am I the only one really actually liking the inital idea that.. if bringing turtles back to the big screen. Why not making it a full animated movie? that idea was awesome!
    It’s just a very big shame that instead of starting over with a solid story they based it on the tely show which had been running for seven years and pulled on plot threats from the 2k3 show without ever explaining them to the audience. Yeah.. what person whom hasn’t seen the 2k3 show will have any idea who Karai is and why she’s interesting? Why not go back to basis again, that was not to smart. It felt like the pay-off to a set-up no-body had seen. Which is a damn shame. The initial idea. “Lets make it full out animation.” was an awesome idea in my mind. And if they are going to make another cinema movie.. honestly that’s how I would prefer to have it made.

    • Jay_Bay

      I would have to admit that TMNT was a damn good movie, but then again I knew about the 2 series.  At least it wasn’t based on the live action series with Venus de Milo amirite……anyone?  

      Though I do admit, seeing the Turtles team up with the Power Rangers was in a 90s word-wicked.

      • Sofie Liv

        I thought it looked damn great, and had some interesting ideas, I’ve also seen the 2k3 show so I got most of it.. but imagine some-one whom has never seen it just watching this movie, they would go. “???” and they did.
        It’s a shame they did not return to basics with a firm set-up, bringing shredder up again, but oh well, they ended up doing that in this new 2012 show any-way, and it’s damn awesome thus far.

        I’ve seen a couple of episodes of the Venus series now, it’s called. “The next mutagen” right… it isn’t that bad. And she isn’t so bad a character.
        What does suck though is that the moment she steps in, all the other four turtles does is turning into superfecial boys whom just wants to show off, go to bed with her and then is disgusting in comparison. That sucked, that was a bad change of dynamic.

        I know they are teen boys and that’s the only girl they would ever have a chance with and all, but come on guys, you have personalities beyond that! Thankfully it settled some more with a few episodes, but it still sucked how her presence turned the other turtles into such dicks, when we know.. that is not who they are. They treated April fine for all of the time we knew them, were even quite the gentlemen towards her.

        Venus herself though, again, decent character, not at all as flat or generic as I could have feared, but have a genuine thing that is her own and more of a dimension to her, also liked her slender design, I kind of want an action figure of her.

      • Cecil_Trachenburg

        TMNT had some great animation and it just hit the right notes with me. I think it was very solid and I’m glad its out there.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      I understand them trying to update things like the dialog but there are certain things that I didn’t think they needed to change. Oh well, thats me just being a crumudgeon.

      I think at this point they shouldn’t do a reboot if they do a live action movie. With the show doing well, having another origin story would be annoying like it was in the new Spider-man. If anything, just do a quick flashback to their origin. I’d be all for having Henson’s creature shop design the new costumes and heads. If they looked this good back then, imagine what they would look like now!

  • robert roy

    hey mr ceril you see the nostalgia critic review tmnt movies

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      Oh yeah, I remember he did the crossover with the AVGN.

  • Muthsarah

    NO!  NO NO NO NO NO!

    I’m sorry to rant so, Cecil, but…I hate this film!  Oh God how I hate this film.  I don’t get it.  I do…not…get it.  It’s one of the big cinematic mysteries to me.  I loved the first one, I liked the old series, I grew up playing the video games, I even had a couple of the toys.  And it seems that everyone else who loved the old Turtles also loves this movie.  And I just don’t see it.  It’s every bit as poorly-written as the third, it just has better special effects.  The Turtles spend 90 minutes goofing off, pretend to fight, you get bad acting from everyone (David Warner looks so bored), and yeah, it really does resemble Coming out of Their Shells more than it does the first movie.

    The Foot were genuinely menacing in the first movie: corrupting kids by seducing them into a life of crime, causing mayhem throughout the city, destroying April’s apartment (with axes!) and even beat Raph nearly to death.  Here they get beaten up by a pizza boy and let Tokka and Rahzar take over, and Raph gets beaten up off-screen (I think…), without a scratch on him.  The first movie had meaningful supporting characters, a subplot for one audience surrogate (Danny) and was partly shown through the eyes of another (April).  What does April even do in this one?  Hell, what does Shredder do, aside from kill himself?  The first movie had a very interesting final fight scene (“Fools, the three of you could have overcome me with the loss of but one…”), and in this one there’s…no final fight scene.  A comedic nightclub brawl with the mooks and defeating Tokka and Rahzar with drugs and a fire extinguisher is the best we get.

    You compared this movie with Jaws 2 as an inferior but still good sequel.  But in Jaws 2, people still died, bloodily.  The shark didn’t attack the teenagers with pool toys, capture them alive, and take them to his lair to get rescued later.  It was at least going for the same tone and the same audience, it just lacked the subtlety and originality of the first one.  This movie, however, only tried to appeal to the younger Turtles fans.  Absent any nostalgia goggles (since I hated this movie even as a kid), I don’t see how it could have aged well with anybody.  Except, again, ironically.  There’s nothing else to the movie.

    Basically, I felt like the first movie not only captured the appeal of the Turtles (absurd, but dark and gritty), but also had a fairly wide appeal (parents could follow what was going on, enjoy the more conventional dramatic moments, and identify with the human characters), and was in all respects a very competently-made movie.  This movie is NOTHING like that.  It’s just bad slapstick fight scenes, no characterizations anywhere, and…no, that’s it.  The movie being deliberately toned down, de…violenced (?), and marketed more for little kids was a terrible idea.  The first movie was a huge hit, they know they had a successful product, why would the creators only then be worried about parents’ reaction?  They could have done anything they wanted, and so they chose to bowdlerize an already kid-friendly product.  It’s the anti-Batman Returns, really.  And while I know not everyone likes that movie, I can far more appreciate a sequel that tries to age with its audience rather than go younger, and dig deeper into the universe rather than rehash and/or go for more superficial elements (like slapstick).

    Anway, I liked your production notes (as usual), and I am very impressed with how the costumers and technicians got the Turtles to be so expressive.  But…I just don’t see the argument in favor of the movie, y’know, being good or something.  It seems like you’re giving it a pass because it’s Turtles.  Aside from the costumes, just what makes it good?  Anything that the creators intended?

    • Thomas Stockel

      Thank you, M, for saying everything I felt.

      Cecil, as always I find your videos to be entertaining even when I do not agree with you.  I am always amazed at your ability to find the best in the worst.  But in this case I did not see anything redeeming about this film.  It was a soulless cash grab, pure and simple.

      • Cecil_Trachenburg

        Thanks. ^^

        To me that is a big complement when the episode is still enjoyable even though you disagree. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me all the time or even some of the time for that matter! I just want to give a alternate viewpoint for movies that are often disregarded.

        Cash grab…yeah, with them rushing this to the market I can’t say it wasn’t. Still, its just so much fun for me. Again, it wasn’t as bad as the 3rd.

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      Understandable. I know a lot of folks that feel this way.

      Would I have rather they kept going down the path the started with the first? Yes! However, they didn’t but for me they still managed to make a good movie.

      What makes it good, for me at least, is it just feels right. The humor, the fights, and the look of the Turtles. It still had that flair but just toned down violence. (which I almost never defend but I don’t know) Sometimes its hard to explain when even though you know something is flawed, you just can’t help but enjoy.

      • Muthsarah

        You know better people than I did.  Everyone I grew up with who ever liked the Turtles also liked this movie (though everyone hated the third), and I don’t think they’ve ever been able to explain it to me.

        TMNT the movie was my introduction to the Turtles, and I’ve based everything I’ve ever known of them on that, so they were rather dark and serious (for kids’ stuff) first and anything else second.  I guess it goes without saying that I didn’t WANT them to go goofy and “kiddie”, I liked how it felt like it was aimed at kids older than I was at the time.  It is a lot like the old cartoon, though.  It just felt like it should have been a lot more given how the first movie turned out.

        • Greatbudda

          It’s like you said this one is a lot more like the old cartoon, surely not as dark as the first and with a lot of comedy added instead. Despite the fight scenes not having weapons they weren’t horrible I mean not all fight scenes need weapons though a few times sure would’ve helped I mean they are Ninja’s. Though you’d think parents would be more mad about them “teaching there children” how to fight bare handed.

          I guess a good thing about them being two different moods is it lets you choose. If your in the mood for the more edgy darker Turtles you have the first. But if you want that sorta campy cartoon feel with Vanilla Ice himself you have the second one.

          Interestingly enough I found out that during 91′ there was a lot of criticism from christian parents and even kids about the Turtles. With there even being two books against the Turtles and there “eastern teachings”, this being a height of popularity for there merchandise that probably influenced the movies decision a bit.

          • Cecil_Trachenburg

            Well, most parent groups are all about going in half cocked. Many times they aren’t even sure what they are offended by, just that someone told them they should be upset.

            As far as Christian parents go, things were out of hand back then. There was always a pamphlet or book or sermon talking about the evils of whatever the big thing was that week. (heavy metal, TMNT, MTV) I remember a massive backlash about E.T. because he “died and rose from the dead”. There were people protesting that only Jesus could do this and how horrible were the folks in this movie, they should all burn in hell. Amazing, the lunacy makes my head hurt.

  • Jeff Bradford

    Mike was always my favorite Ninja Turtle! And was Michael Bay pulled off of the project of the new Ninja Turtle movie?

    • Cecil_Trachenburg

      I used to go back and forth between Leo and Mike. I liked playing Don in the beat em ups because his bo staff kicked ass.

      From what I gather he dropped the project. Good.

      • Jeff Bradford

        Probably got a huge amount of Death Threats.

        • Sofie Liv

           The project got shit-canned after the initial script recieved a huge amount of negative feed-back.
          It doesn’t look like any-one is intending to bring it back at this point.

          How-ever, a Nickelodien show was created for the specific purpose to promote this movie.. that got shit-canned, after the show had all-ready started production and Nick had spend tons of money aquiring the rights from 4kids.
          Ironically the show that the movie spawned is really great!

  • Y’know, looking back, when I enjoyed this movie around the time it came out (on VHS), I thought of it more as slapstick comedy than thrilling action. Unlike the 1st one, I don’t remember anything in it close to character development, or character conflict/challenge beyond simple good vs. evil. To me as a child, it was an entertaining fast-paced movie, nothing more. The last time I saw it (10 years ago I think?), I was thrown off guard by an odd quip about Nader, but otherwise the humor is all physical. Heck, I’m not sure I even noticed their lack of weapon usage; given my lighthearted view of the movie at the time, that complaint would’ve made as much sense to me as complaining that the Globetrotters don’t play real basketball.

    Basically, even as a child I knew this movie wasn’t well-rounded. But my friends and I still watched it multiple times and quoted the Shredder line “BABIES!!!! THEY’RE BABIES!!!!”

  • katmore9

    Great review as always, Cecil.

    I’m a bit confused though: do you think this is a worthy sequel to the first turtles movie? After the review, you make a case for both arguments.

    I also wanted to quickly comment on Mortal Kombat….

    First, I really liked the intro you did just for this review. Nice touch.

    The background info, as always, was amazing. For instance, the Johnny Cage-Scorpion fight taking 10 days and choreographed by Robin Shou was good to know. That scene is easily my favorite fight in the whole movie, so the effort was definitely worth it.

    It was also interesting to see that Cameron Diaz was offered the role of Sonya Blade. Though I’ve never really liked her, Cameron would have been a good fit here (or possibly Uma Thurman). That list of actors up for the role of Liu Kang was impressive and top-notch.

    I also found it surprising that the producers of the movie actually consulted kids/fans for critiques. I can’t imagine that kind of respect for fans taking place today.

    2 things:
    1) I think out of all video game-based movies, Talisa Soto is the hottest actress to play a major role. (I honestly don’t know if that can be disputed.)

    2) Have you watched the Mortal Kombat web series on youtube? If so, your thoughts on the first season?

  • Jeff Bradford

    I asked Rob Paulsen if they told him why they replaced Cowabunga with Booyakasha and he wasn’t sure. He speculated that maybe it was time for a new battlecry.