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TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES – John Du Prez

April 9, 2020 3 comments

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

For a short while, in the 1990s, the biggest piece of kids pop culture in the world was a story about four wise-cracking reptiles with Japanese fighting skills. Originally appearing in a cult comic book series created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles broke through as an animated television series in 1987. The four titular anthropomorphic turtles – who are named after the Italian Renaissance artists Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo – were originally unwanted pets flushed into the New York sewers. After coming into contact with some radioactive ooze, the turtles slowly mutate and eventually become human/turtle hybrids who learn to speak like contemporary teenagers, and love pizza. Eventually they meet Splinter, the former pet rat of a disgraced ninja master, who also lives in the same sewers and was similarly transformed. Splinter trains the turtles in the ancient art of ninjutsu, and together they battle criminals, aliens, monsters, and various other threats, all while attempting to remain hidden from society. The TV show was massively popular (although, in the UK, they were the Teenage Mutant *Hero* Turtles because ninjas were illegal at the time), and so of course a movie was inevitable. It eventually arrived in theaters in the spring of 1990 with a quartet of stunt men in animatronic rubber turtle suits acting opposite the very human Elias Koteas and Judith Hoag. The film was directed by Steve Barron, and featured special puppet effects provided by Jim Henson in what turned out to be his final project before he died. Read more…

A FISH CALLED WANDA – John Du Prez

August 2, 2018 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A Fish Called Wanda is one of the best comedies of the 1980s – one part romance, one part crime caper, one part English farce – which teams several members of the classic Monty Python comedy troupe with several popular American stars. Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline play Wanda and Otto, American jewel thieves in London who, along with stuttering getaway driver Ken (Michael Palin) and East End gangster George (Tom Georgeson), plan an elaborate diamond heist. However, in-fighting and double-crossing within the gang leads to George being arrested, which proves to be a problem for everyone else as he is the only one who knows where the loot has been stashed. In order to get information about the location of the diamonds, Wanda decides to seduce George’s barrister, Archie Leach (the irrepressible John Cleese), a repressed middle-class Englishman stuck in a loveless marriage. Archie, flattered by the attention, immediately falls for Wanda, but shockingly Wanda also finds herself genuinely attracted in return – which causes more friction within the gang, not least because Otto and Wanda are also secretly lovers themselves. Read more…