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|
|Written by||Todd W. Langen|
|Based on||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|
by Kevin Eastman
|Music by||John Du Prez|
|Box office||$78.6 million (US)|
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze is a 1991 American martial arts superhero comedy film directed by Michael Pressman, based on the fictional superhero team the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It is the sequel to the 1990 film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Secret of the Ooze was followed by a third film in 1993, and an unrelated fourth (TMNT) in 2007. The film is distributed in the United States by New Line Cinema, and internationally distributed by 20th Century Fox.
The film follows the adventures of the four Turtles: Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, and their Master Splinter. 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 entry 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 installment. The film was released on March 22, 1991, and received mixed reviews from critics who felt it departed from the much darker tone of the original 1990 film, and was more light-hearted. The film was financially successful, and became the 13th highest-grossing film domestically in the year of its release. The film is a tribute to Muppets creator Jim Henson, who died less than a year before this film's release. Henson's Creature Shop created the animatronic creature costumes for the film, like the first film.
One year after the events of the first film, a young pizza delivery boy named Keno inadvertently encounters burglars on his route and tries to stop them. Seeing him as a witness, the burglars attack Keno, who proves to be an expert martial artist, but he is soon overwhelmed before the arrival of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They vanish after rescuing Keno, tying the burglars up, and taking the pizza he was delivering, leaving behind the money to pay for it.
Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael, along with their master Splinter, are living with April O'Neil while they look for a new place to live following the events of their last adventure. Splinter wants to remain in the shadows, while Raphael thinks they should live out in the open. At a junkyard where the remnants of The Foot and Shredder's second-in-command Tatsu are hiding out, they are met by their master, who has been disfigured by his previous defeat but did not die as they thought.
April interviews Professor Jordan Perry of Techno Global Research Industries (TGRI) about a possible toxic waste leak. He assures her that everything is fine, but at the same time their scientists discover dandelions which have been mutated by the leak. Freddy, a spy for the Foot posing as April's cameraman, discovers this and reports it to his master, who decides to have Perry interrogated. Back at April's apartment, Splinter reveals to her and the turtles that the canister of mutagen (dubbed "Ooze" by the Turtles) which mutated them into their current state 15 years prior was created by TGRI, and they too decide to talk to him. The Foot gets to Perry first and kidnaps him, salvaging the last vial canister of ooze in the process. The turtles attempt to get the canister back, but ultimately fail. Afterward, Keno gets into April's apartment under the guise of delivering pizza and discovers Splinter and the turtles.
At the Shredder's hideout, Perry is forced into using the remaining ooze on a wolf and a snapping turtle, which mutate into Tokka and Rahzar. With the imminent threat to April's safety by the Foot, the turtles start to actively look for a new home. After an argument with Leonardo, Raphael breaks off from the group, while Michelangelo discovers an abandoned subway station and deems it a perfect hideout. Raphael and Keno defy Splinter's orders and implant Keno into the Foot Clan to find their hideout. However, they are caught and Raphael is captured, while Keno escapes to warn the others. When they come, they are ambushed by Shredder and the Foot; Splinter saves the group, but leaves as they face Tokka and Rahzar, who prove too strong to defeat. Donatello finds Perry and the five of them make a tactical retreat. Once back in their hideout, Perry explains that the creation of the ooze was an accident, disheartening Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael, who saw a higher purpose for their existence.
Shredder unleashes Tokka and Rahzar into a nearby neighborhood to cause damages. The next day, Freddy sends a message to April that Tokka and Rahzar will be released into Central Park if the Turtles don't meet the Foot Clan at the construction site. Perry develops an antidote to the mutations and when they confront the two, Leonardo and Michelangelo trick Tokka and Rahzar into eating it. They discover the trick and brutally attack, throwing Raphael into a public dance club where Vanilla Ice is performing. A big fight ensues among hundreds of witnesses and eventually the turtles turn Tokka and Rahzar into their natural state. The turtles fight with Shredder on the pier. Having consumed the ooze he has become a Super Shredder making him bigger and more powerful than before. During the fight the pier which Shredder destroys collapses on him presumably killing him.
In a press release, April reads a note from Perry, thanking the turtles for saving him, and when they return home, they deny being seen by the humans, but Splinter holds up the evening's newspaper on which they are plastered across the cover. He then orders the four of them to do flips as punishment, chanting the theme song they were dancing to at the club "Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go!" exclaiming he "made another funny" as the scene freezes.
- Mark Caso as Leonardo, the leader of the Turtles. He wears a blue bandana and carries two ninjaken on the back of his shell. He is voiced by Brian Tochi.
- Michelan Sisti as Michelangelo, one of the four Turtles, and is the most light-hearted of the four. 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, one of the four turtles and is known for his technological expertise 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, 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.
- Paige Turco as April O'Neil, a news reporter, and the human companion of the Turtles and Splinter. Turco replaced Judith Hoag for this film and the following film.
- David Warner as Professor Jordan Perry, a scientist who works for the TGRI company as head scientist. He works with the Turtles to create an antidote for the mutated Tokka and Rahzar.
- Kevin Clash as Splinter, the master and father figure of the turtles, and is a mutant rat.
- 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 Shredder, the Turtles and Splinter arch-nemesis who 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, reprising his role from the first film.
- Kevin Nash as Super Shredder, a superior version of Shredder.
- Toshishiro Obata as Tatsu: Shredder's right-hand man and temporary leader of the Foot Clan in Shredder's absence. He is voiced by Michael McConnohie.
- Mark Ginther as Rahzar, 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, a mutated alligator snapping turtle also created by Shredder using the canister of ooze from TGRI. He is voiced by Frank Welker.
Due to the massive 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, while Corey Feldman did not voice Donatello in the second movie. Also, a different actress was cast for the role of April O'Neil, with Paige Turco replacing Judith Hoag from the first film. The character of Casey Jones, who was prominent in the first movie, did not appear here (though he did return in the following movie). 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 the sequel. Todd W. Langen returned from the first film to write the screenplay.
The characters of Bebop and Rocksteady could not be used due to Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird objecting, so Rahzar and Tokka were created. The abandoned subway station, which serves as the new lair for the Turtles, is based on the real-life decommissioned City Hall station of the New York City Subway, built by the former Interborough Rapid Transit Company. The station is not completely abandoned, as it appears in the movie. Trains 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, who had died the previous May. This made it the first movie dedicated to Henson, the second being The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992). 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 that film.
The Secret of the Ooze was released in theatres on March 22, 1991 in the United States, and subsequently in other countries from June through to August. The film was number one in North America on its first weekend of release, taking in over $20,000,000 (USD), and 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 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; as with the first film, funny cartoon sound effects were added to the fight scenes to soften the violence.
The second film received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a rating of 32% based on reviews from 41 critics, 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." On Metacritic the film has a score of 45 out of 100 based on reviews from 20 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Dave Kehr of The Chicago Sun Times calls the film "a fast, funny, engagingly unpretentious 88 minutes that, moving between martial-arts dustups and random satirical jibes, achieves a more successful mix of action and humor than the first. There is plenty for adults here as well as children."
Janet Maslin of The New York Times notes that "that the Turtles fight less, clown more and stray too far from their beloved sewers" and calls it an improvement, and is relieved that they have at least made a mainstream movie.
Gene Siskel at The Chicago Tribune was just as unimpressed by this film as the first, calling it "a martial-arts movie in rubber uniforms." Siskel considers that he is an adult "forgetting the sort of mindless entertainment that he himself enjoyed as a child" but rejects the idea and calls the fight scenes "more depressing than joyful". Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun Times complains that the Turtles look essentially the same, and suggests they are an "emblem of our drab and dreary times" and that they are "an example of the hazards of individuality". He says kids are getting a bad deal and compared to the comic book heroes he grew up with they are being robbed of "a sense of wonder".
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.[dead link] 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, and music from artists such as Ya Kid K, Cathy Dennis and David Morales, Tribal House and Dan Hartman. The most famous song featured on the soundtrack was "Ninja Rap" performed by rapper Vanilla Ice.
The song featured prominently 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 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 composed by John Du Prez, who won a BMI Film Music Award for his work.[unreliable source?]
Home video releases
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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It is true that I didn't want them in any of the movies, which is why instead of Bebop and Rocksteady in the second movie (The Secret of the Ooze") there were Tokka and Rhazar. If memory serves, Kevin was equally opposed to the inclusion of Bebop and Rocksteady in the movies.
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