Thursday, July 7, 2011

Give Us Your Worst, Part 5: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze

Turtles 2 was not, by any metric we're familiar with, a good film. It was badly acted, badly written, badly directed, badly edited, badly costumed, and... Vanilla Ice is in it. It is clearly a bad movie.

On top of that, it Turtles 2 came on the heels of what was actually a pretty good first movie, which took its source material seriously and did the best it could with a limited budget. In part 1, the characters had defined arcs, the dialogue was solid, and the pacing worked. All of that was abandoned in part 2 to make room for cheap camp and awful schtick.

Even if we hadn't remembered this going in, we perceived this fact early on: there was no mistaking this for anything other than a bad sequel trying to cash in on the franchise without a second thought about the dignity of the franchise.

This is why we tried so hard not to enjoy Secret of the Ooze. We're still trying to understand what went wrong.

Because we kind of liked it.

Perhaps it's that we saw this when it was first released in theaters and found ourselves caught up in the nostalgia of viewing it again. It may be a simple case of warped perspectives: we've seen some awfully bad movies in the past week, and it could be beginning to have an effect. Or maybe Secret of the Ooze really is one of those movies that's so bad it's good.

Whatever the cause, we enjoyed watching this a lot more than it deserves. We found ourselves laughing quite a lot; with or at the movie, it makes little difference. Even the dreaded appearance by Vanilla Ice was strangely entertaining in its dated stupidity.

It didn't hurt that, for all its faults, the movie retained Kevin Clash as the puppeteer of Splinter. Hand chosen and trained by Henson, Clash is a master puppeteer in his own right. He also seemed to be the one actor who refused to phone in his performance for this movie, opting instead to actually try. The puppet may have been replaced by a less interesting make, but Clash is topnotch.

We're hesitant to recommend this to others, but we will say we enjoyed revisiting this more than any of the other movies we've seen so far as part of this series. Not that that's a particularly high bar.

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