Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II:
The Secret of the Ooze
North American release poster
|Directed by||Michael Pressman|
|Produced by||Thomas K. Gray
|Written by||Todd W. Langen|
|Based on||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
by Kevin Eastman
|Starring||See Cast section|
|Music by||John Du Prez|
|Edited by||Steve Mirkovich
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema
(USA & Canada)
20th Century Fox
|Running time||90 Minutes|
|Box office||$78,656,813 (USA)|
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze is a 1991 American live-action film. It is the sequel to the 1990 film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Secret of the Ooze was then followed by a third film in 1993, and a fourth film (TMNT) in 2007. The film is commonly abbreviated as TMNT II. The movie is distributed by New Line Cinema. Outside the United States, it is internationally distributed by 20th Century Fox.
The film follows the adventures of the four Turtles: Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, and their Master Splinter. Roughly resuming from the events of the last film, the villain, Shredder, returns to take back command of the Foot Clan, and work towards getting revenge on the Turtles. When he learns the secret behind the Turtles' mutation, he becomes more dangerous than ever. The film sheds some light on the origins of Splinter and the Turtles, as well as introduces two new villains: Tokka and Rahzar.
Unlike the first film, this one rarely showed the use of the Turtles' weapons. They instead fight bare-fisted for much of the film as part of an attempt to tone down the violence of the previous movie. The film was released on June 21, 1991, and received mixed to negative reviews from critics who felt it departed from the much darker tone of the original 1990 film, and was more light-hearted. Despite this, the film was financially successful, and it became the 13th highest grossing film domestically in the year of its release.
Following Shredder's defeat, the Turtles live with their friend April O'Neil while they look for a new home. Keno, a pizza delivery driver, unintentionally encounters burglars while delivering a pizza. Because he is a witness to the crime, the burglars attack Keno, an excellent martial artist who is able to hold his own, but eventually finds himself overwhelmed. Fortunately, the Turtles arrive and help Keno subdue the criminals. After quickly forming a friendship, Keno becomes one of the few humans in The Turtles' inner circle.
Meanwhile, the Foot have relocated to a large junkyard, where Shredder's right-hand-man, Tatsu, has taken leadership. However, he steps down when Shredder returns, having survived being crushed, and burning with vengeance. April interviews Prof. Jordan Perry, head scientist of TGRI, on their efforts to neutralize pollutants resulting from their experiments. A Foot spy is a member of her crew; he discovers toxic waste produced by TGRI has caused a mutation in nearby dandelion plants, producing exponential growth. Splinter, seeing the report on television, shows the Turtles and April the canister of the "ooze" that caused their mutation, revealing it was manufactured by TGRI.
Shredder dispatches the Foot to obtain the ooze. The Turtles infiltrate TGRI seeking answers, but discover the Foot have kidnapped Perry and escaped with the last ooze canister. Shredder forces Perry to expose a baby snapping turtle and wolf to the ooze, transforming them into Tokka and Rahzar. However, Perry altered the ooze to arrest their development, giving them the mentality of toddlers. Shredder is irritated when they consider him their "mother," but is impressed with their immense strength. Meanwhile Keno and Raph infiltrate the Foot by having Keno pose as a recruit, and the other three Turtles discover a new lair in an abandoned subway station. With Keno's assistance, Raph successfully finds the Foot HQ, but is captured by Shredder. Keno escapes to inform the others, but the group is led into a trap and pitted against Tokka and Rahzar. The Turtles are overwhelmed, but manage to escape into a small manhole Tokka and Rahzar can't fit through, rescuing Perry in the process. Perry reveals the ooze was created by accident rather than on purpose, depressing Donatello. Splinter assures Don his worth can't be judged by his origins. April then receives word from the Foot that Tokka and Rahzar will attack populated areas unless the Turtles agree to fight them. Perry develops an anti-mutigen.
The Turtles meet the Foot, tricking Tokka and Rahzar into eating anti-mutigen donuts. The fighting spills into a nightclub, where singer Vanilla Ice improvises a song to trick the patrons into thinking the fight is part of his act. Advised by Perry, the Turtles spray fire extinguishers into Tokka and Rahzar's mouths; the carbon dioxide speeds up the anti-mutagenic process and reverts them to their normal forms. Before the Turtles can claim victory, however, Shredder arrives and takes a hostage, revealing he still has the ooze. Keno arrives and kicks the canister out of his hands, which is recovered by Perry, but Shredder retains a small vial of the ooze. Via an exploding sound amplifier, Shredder is blasted out the window onto the docks outside. The Turtles follow, only to find that he has consumed the ooze sample and mutated into a "Super-Shredder". A berserk Shredder begins tearing down the dock as Leonardo tries to reason against their mutual destruction, but Shredder ignores him and continues his rampage, ultimately collapsing the dock upon himself while the Turtles dive to safety in the water.
Splinter watches April give a news report, reciting a vague thank-you letter left by Perry. When the Turtles return home, Splinter shows them a newspaper with a photo of them dancing at the club. As punishment, the Turtles are forced to do flips, with Splinter quoting Vanilla Ice's rap and laughing as they begin, proudly exclaiming, "I made another funny!".
- Paige Turco as April O'Neil, a news reporter, and the human companion of the Turtles and Splinter. Paige Turco replaced Judith Hoag for this film and the following film.
- David Warner as Professor Jordan Perry, the professor works for the TGRI company as head scientist. He works with the Turtles to create an antidote for the mutated Tokka and Rahzar.
- Ernie Reyes, Jr. as Keno, a pizza delivery boy who meets the turtles in the beginning of the film and befriends them.
- François Chau as the Shredder, the main villain in the TMNT franchise. He survived the climatic battle against the Turtles and Splinter from the first film, and is now out to get revenge.
- Kevin Nash as Super Shredder, the mutated form of Shredder. As a result of using the ooze, the Shredder becomes a large behemoth.
- Toshishiro Obata as Tatsu, the Shredder's right-hand man and temporary leader of the Foot Clan in the aftermath of his presume death.
- Vanilla Ice as a club performer who's inspired to perform "Go Ninja Go!" after witnessing the TMNT fight.
- Adam Carl as Donatello, one of the four turtles and is known for his technological expertise within the TMNT franchise. He wears a purple bandana and carries a bō staff on the back of his shell.
- Kevin Clash as Splinter, the master and father figure of the turtles, and is a mutant rat.
- Laurie Faso as Raphael, the more aggressive and rebellious of the four turtles. He wears a red bandana and carries two sai in his belt.
- David McCharen as Shredder
- Michael McConnohie as Tatsu
- Robbie Rist as Michelangelo, the most light-hearted of the four in both the film and the TMNT universe. He wears an orange bandana and carries dual nunchaku on each side within his belt.
- Brian Tochi as Leonardo, the leader of the Turtles within the TMNT franchise. He wears a blue bandana and carries two katana on the back of his shell.
- Frank Welker as Tokka and Rahzar, a mutated alligator snapping turtle and wolf duo that were mutated by the Shredder using the ooze canister from TGRI.
- Rickey Boyd as Splinter (facial assistant)
- Kurt Bryant as Tokka (in-suit performer)
- Mark Caso as Leonardo (in-suit performer)
- Kevin Clash as Splinter (puppeteer)
- Sue Dacre as Splinter (assistant puppeteer)
- Mark Ginther as Rahzar (in-suit performer)
- David Greenaway as Raphael (facial assistant)
- Rick Lyon as Tokka (facial assistant)
- Rob Mills as Donatello (facial assistant)
- Gord Robertson as Rahzar (facial assistant)
- Michelan Sisti as Michelangelo (in-suit performer)
- Leif Tilden as Donatello (in-suit performer)
- Kenn Troum as Raphael (in-suit performer)
- Robert Tygner as Leonardo (facial assistant)
- Mak Wilson as Michelangelo (facial assistant)
Due to the large success of the first film, it was generally expected that a sequel would follow. The film was produced on a budget of $25 million (USD), higher than the budget of the 1990 film, which was $13.5 million. Like the first film, New Line Cinema distributed The Secret of the Ooze. Both the voice actors of Michaelangelo and Leonardo reprised their roles in the second film, whereas Corey Feldman did not voice Donatello in the second movie. Also, a different actress had been hand-picked for the role of April O'Neil, with Paige Turco replacing Judith Hoag from the first film. The character of Casey Jones, who was a prominent character in the first movie, did not appear here. Ernie Reyes Jr., who was Donatello's fight double in the first film, was cast as a new character, Keno, as the producers admired Reyes and his performance in the first movie so much they asked him to join in this sequel. Todd W. Langen returned from the first film to write the screenplay.
Originally, the studio wanted Bebop and Rocksteady, from the cartoon, to appear. However, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were not in favor of it due to having to go though legal clearances for the characters, so Rahzar and Tokka were created.
The abandoned subway station, which serves as the new lair for the Turtles, is based on real-world decommissioned New York subway City Hall Station, of the former Interborough Rapid Transit company. However, the station is not completely abandoned as it appears in the movie. Trains currently pass through the station daily as they turn around to head uptown, passengers are allowed to ride through the station, but the train does not stop and so they cannot disembark. During filming of the scene where the Turtles are trapped in the net and fall to the ground, one of the stuntmen broke an ankle. Some filming took place in North Carolina, much like the first, where the New York City skyline was created at the North Carolina Film Studios. The building used for the entrance to April's apartment is the office of the New York location of Jim Henson's Creature Shop, which did the animatronics work for the film as well as its predecessor. The film is dedicated to the memory of Jim Henson. This makes it the first movie dedicated to Henson, the second being The Muppet Christmas Carol. This is also the first TMNT film to include a dedication, the second would be TMNT which was dedicated to the late Mako, the voice actor for Splinter in the film.
The film was released less than a year after the first, using the taglines "Back by bodacious demand" and "Cowabunga, it's the new turtle movie". Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze was released in theatres on June 21, 1991, in the United States, and was subsequently released in numerous countries from June through to August.
Based on a sample of 28 reviews, the film holds a 36% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus "Not only is the movie's juvenile dialogue unbearable for adults, but the turtles' dopey and casual attitude towards physical violence makes them poor kids' role models." The film opened at number one in North America on its first weekend of release, taking in over $20 million (USD), eventually making $78,656,813 in total. The film was a success at the box office, but made less than the first film. Some fans noted that there was also a reduction in the use of weapons by the turtles in the film, perhaps due to violence in the first film. (Leonardo and Raphael only use their weapons once each in the movie, for example.)
Like with its predecessor, the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles installment was censored in the UK due to usage of forbidden weapons (the nunchaku), most notably during the opening credits sequence where Michelangelo imitates their use by swinging a pair of sausages. The edits were waived for the DVD release in 2002. The German version was not censored visually; however, funny cartoon sound effects to soften the violence were added to the fight scenes (as already with the first film).
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise was arguably at the height of its popularity around the time that The Secret of the Ooze was released in theatres. A number of tie-ins were brought out alongside the release of the film. A new line of toys were introduced for the release of the film, including "Movie Star" toys of all four turtles, with the box art depicting stills from the film, as well as a cartoon rendition of the turtles gathered around a canister of ooze in the top right corner of the package. In contrast to the usual Turtles' figures, the film series figures were softer and more rubbery, to better reflect the look of the animatronic costumes used in the films. They also featured ball joints at the neck, shoulders, and hips, and each figure came with a small, plastic canister with a sticker of "Ooze" wrapped around them. An official film adaptation was also released by Eastman and Laird.
Figurines of Super Shredder, Tokka and Rahzar were also available, though they were not as closely aligned to the film as the four turtles were. The Playmates company produced the figurines. The Turtles franchise had by now also immersed itself into the food industry, with characters from the franchise appearing on numerous food products. Royal Gelatin Desserts adapted the "Ooze" name into their product, and featured the Turtles on the packages. The boxes included various recipes involving ooze in some form.
An original motion picture soundtrack was released alongside the film in 1991 by SBK Records.
The soundtrack featured 10 tracks from the film. The soundtrack featured music from artists such as Ya Kid K, Cathy Dennis and David Morales, Tribal House and Dan Hartman. However, the most famous song featured on the soundtrack was Ninja Rap by rapper Vanilla Ice.
The song featured strongly within the feature film, as Ice makes an appearance as himself, and begins to freestyle a ninja rap song when the turtles end up fighting Tokka and Rahzar within the club where he was performing. In the terms of the plot, this song was to trick the audience into believing the fight was a harmless 'show' and thus not to panic.
A music video was also produced for Ninja Rap at the time of the film's release. The soundtrack also features two original pieces from the Orchestra On The Half Shell. The original music was done by John Du Prez, who won a BMI Film Music Award for his work.
Home Video releases
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze was first released on VHS in North America on July 31, 1991.
The film was later released to DVD in Region 1 on 3 September 2002; it contained only minor special features and interactive menus.
On 4 August 2009, the film was included in a special 25th-anniversary boxset, released to both DVD and Blu-Ray formats. It contains Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, and 2007's animated release, TMNT.
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