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|
|Editing by||Steve Mirkovich
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema
(USA & Canada)
20th Century Fox
|Running time||88 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, Michaelangelo, 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 March 22, 1991, and received mixed reviews from critics. It departed from much of the darker tone of the 1990 film, and was more light-hearted. The film was successful, and it became the 13th highest grossing film domestically in the year of its release.
Following the Shredder's defeat at the hands of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the four live with their news reporter friend April O'Neil while they look for a new home, afraid the Foot will attack them if they return to the sewer. On a night out they encounter a pizza delivery boy named Keno fighting a band of robbers and intervene on his behalf. Meanwhile, the Foot Clan have retreated to a large junkyard, where the Shredder's second-in-command Tatsu declares himself their leader. However, he relinquishes command when the Shredder returns, having survived his encounter with the Turtles and Splinter and now desiring revenge. April interviews Professor Jordan Perry, head scientist of an industrial organization called Techno Global Research Industries (TGRI), on their efforts to neutralize pollutants that have resulted from their experiments. A member of April's camera crew that is a spy for the Foot discovers that toxic waste produced by the company 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.
The Shredder dispatches the Foot to obtain some of the ooze that caused the mutation. The Turtles infiltrate the TGRI laboratory seeking answers, but discover the Foot have kidnapped Perry, and after a skirmish the Foot escapes with the last canister of the ooze. The Shredder forces Perry to expose an alligator snapping turtle and a wolf to the ooze, transforming them into Tokka and Rahzar. Though the Shredder is irritated when they act as infants and consider him their "mother," due to Perry secretly modifying the ooze, but the warlord is impressed with their immense strength and sends them to attack the city. Meanwhile Keno and Raphael infiltrate the Foot by having Keno pose as a new recruit, and the other three Turtles discover a new lair in an abandoned subway station. With Keno's assistance, Raph successfully infiltrates the Foot headquarters, but is captured by the Shredder. Keno escapes to inform the others, but the group is led into a trap and are pitted against Tokka and Rahzar. The Turtles are overwhelmed by their brute strength, but manage to escape into a manhole that the larger mutants cannot fit through, successfully rescuing Perry in the process. Talking with Perry, Donatello is depressed to learn that the ooze was created in a lab accident rather than anything else, but Splinter assures him that he cannot judge his worth based on his origins. Upon learning that the Shredder intends to release Tokka and Rahzar into populated areas unless the Turtles confront them, Perry develops an antidote to counteract the ooze's effects and transform them back into normal animals.
The Turtles meet with the Foot and successfully administer some portion of the anti-mutagen to Tokka and Rahzar by concealing it in donuts, but are discovered and another fight ensues. The fight spills into a nightclub, where the club's singer Vanilla Ice improvises a rap song to prevent a panic by creating the impression that the fight is part of his act. With advice from Perry the Turtles spray fire extinguishers into Tokka and Rahaar's mouths, the carbon dioxide speeding up the anti-mutagen and reverting the two monsters back to their natural forms. After the Turtles take care of the Foot and Tatsu, the Shredder arrives and takes a woman hostage, revealing he still possesses the ooze. Keno arrives and kicks the canister out of his hands, which is recovered by Perry, but the Shredder retains a small vial of the ooze. Using a sound amplifier to magnify a Keytar, the Shredder is blasted through a wall onto the docks outside. The Turtles follow and find that he has used the ooze on himself and mutated into a "Super-Shredder," having consumed the vial of ooze. The Shredder then begins to tear at the dock's support beams. Leonardo tries to reason with the Shredder saying if he collapses the supports, he will die too. The mutated villain does not care and continues to tear at the supports. The Shredder overpowers the Turtles, but his rampant destruction of the dock's supports causes it collapse on top of them, crushing him while the Turtles dive to safety in the water. The Turtles return to their lair triumphant, but are confronted by Splinter with a newspaper showing a picture of them fighting at the club on the front page. As punishment, the Turtles are forced to do flips, Splinter quoting Vanilla Ice's rap and laughing as they begin, proudly saying "I made another funny!".
- Mark Caso as Leonardo: Leonardo is generally considered the leader of the Turtles within the TMNT franchise. He wears a blue bandana and carries two katana on the back of his shell. He is voiced by Brian Tochi.
- Michelan Sisti as Michelangelo: Michaelangelo is one of the four Turtles, and is 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. He is voiced by Robbie Rist.
- Leif Tilden as Donatello: Donatello is one of the four turtles and is known for his technological expertise within the TMNT franchise. He wears a purple bandana and carries a bo on the back of his shell. He is voiced by Adam Carl.
- Kenn Troum as Raphael: Raphael is the more aggressive and rebellious of the four turtles. He wears a red bandana and carries two sai in his belt. He is voiced by Laurie Faso. Troum and Faso replace Josh Pais in this film.
- Kevin Clash as Splinter: Splinter is the master and father figure of the turtles, and is a mutant rat.
- Paige Turco as April O'Neil: O'Neil is 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: He is a pizza delivery boy who meets the turtles in the beginning of the film and befriends them.
- François Chau as the Shredder: The Shredder is the main villain in the TMNT franchise. He survived the battle with Splinter from the first film, and wishes to get revenge on Splinter and the Turtles. François Chau replaced James Saito in this film; He is voiced by David McCharen, who also voiced him in the first film.
- Kevin Nash as Super Shredder: As a result of using the ooze, the Shredder becomes a large behemoth. This is Nash's film debut; he is best known for his pro wrestling career.
- Toshishiro Obata as Tatsu: Tatsu is the Shredder's right-hand man and temporary leader of the Foot Clan in his absence. He is voiced by Michael McConnohie.
- Mark Ginther as Rahzar: Rahzar is a mutated wolf created by Shredder using a canister of ooze from the TGRI company. He is voiced by Frank Welker.
- Kurt Bryant as Tokka: Tokka is a mutated alligator snapping turtle also created by Shredder using the canister of ooze from TGRI. He is voiced by Frank Welker.
- Vanilla Ice as himself.
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.
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. 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 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 March 22, 1991, in the United States, and was subsequently released in numerous countries from June through to August.
Based on a sample of 27 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). 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
The film was 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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