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Awesome Moments From TMNT: Out Of The Shadows

No one went into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows expecting a masterpiece, especially after the 2014 TMNT film. At its worst, this new one would re-barf all over the warm feelings of nostalgia we share for the 1990s cartoon and films. At best, we'd get a few great moments, if producer Michael Bay could keep his baser instincts under control. All said and done, director Dave Green, best known for Earth to Echo, made a film far truer to its roots than its 2014 predecessor. Here are a few ways that Out of the Shadows was actually impressive.

Homage to the '90s

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from 2014 did everything it could to distance itself from most of the Turtles' history, making them a gritty, obnoxious band of ninja bros, dressed in pooka shells and Venetian-blind armor. On the other hand, Out of the Shadows understands that the Turtles are a goofy concept. The movie embraces the '90s completely, and the characters feel truer to themselves than ever. Instead of shouting the obligatory "cowabunga!" or two, the turtles this time around provide enough nostalgia to carry the whole film, even though the rougher parts.

Heroes in a Halfshell

It's honestly just embarrassing when Vernon Fenwick calls the Turtles "heroes in a halfshell" during the first film. The heavy-handed, factually incorrect nickname for the Turtles just doesn't work outside of the cartoon... mostly because the dudes have complete shells, not just half shells, and they're also not oysters. Out of the Shadows doesn't shy away from the reference from the cartoon's theme song, except it slips it in melodically as the Turtles' ringtone... which is now something fans must kinda really want to set up on their smartphones now.

Bumblebee

The film's Halloween parade scene didn't seem like it was truly used to its fullest potential, especially since it was Mikey's time to shine in the surface world. What was awesome about the scene, however, was the Michael Bay Easter egg. A man in a costume of Transformers' Bumblebee rolls up to Mikey and changes from car to robot. Moviegoers with a knowledge of what Michael Bay has done to our '90s nostalgia know that Bay directed all of the modern cinematic Transformers franchise, which also once starred Megan Fox. The worlds of turtles and bots crossed over a bit in IDW's comic series, but Bumblebee's appearance as a fictional character seem to rule out any real movie crossovers any time soon. Maybe.

The Turtlemobile

Shown in early previews, the new high-tech garbage truck that the Turtles roll in is pretty dang amazing. If you played with Ninja Turtles action figures as a kid, you're pretty familiar with all of the pizza-hucking, ooze-spewing toys of the era, and this new truck feels like every action figure vehicle mashed into one amazing childhood fantasy. Crazy nunchuck arms, a gross trash theme, manhole cover projectiles... all of our dreams have finally come true.

Krang and His Robot Body

Shredder from the 2014 film is a perfect example of how not to revamp a classic villain. The guy basically looked like a disorganized cutlery drawer that learned to walk. On the contrary, evil overlord Krang's overhaul was a pretty okay way to bring the brainy villain onto the big screen. The enormous robot body was close enough to the original without being quite as ridiculous as the fleshy, oafish, pinheaded bodybuilder from the beloved cartoon. Krang was just as inept as his classic counterpart, rather than being presented as an evil genius... and that's a great thing. Somewhere out there, there's a voice track of Fred Armisen doing Krang's voice instead of Brad Garrett, and we hope it's on the special edition Blu-ray.

Cartoon Accuracy

It can't be overstated enough that the film's treatment of Bebop and Rocksteady was outstanding. While both characters were exceptionally obnoxious and stupid, the fact that they're so similar in appearance and behavior to their absurd '90s cartoon counterparts is a bold move that actually works. Film and TV once almost universally pushed comic and cartoon characters into forms that "fit" better into the real world, but lately, comic accuracy has been king again. Gone are the days of terribly uniform X-Men costumes. We now have comic-accurate Wonder Woman and Spider-Man. And you can't really press that idea further than giant talking manimals like Bebop and Rocksteady. We have arrived at the singularity... of mainstreaming nerd junk.

Ice, Ice Baby

As though the film's appreciation of history wasn't enough, the entire soundtrack is rife with songs that were actually on the radio while the Turtles were originally hot. Most notable is the background Easter egg of Vanilla Ice playing in the bar, since Mr. Vanilla himself is these days best known for appearing in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II and contributing the awkward, ever-so-geeky Ninja Rap.

In a great callback to the 2014 film, Mikey laments something else extremely 1990s: the fact that they still haven't recorded their hip hop Christmas album. The whole thing feels like riding your bike to the store for a 5-cent creamsicle and playing Super Punch-Out!! in the basement all summer.

Technodrome Eyeball

There were three essential toy playsets in back in the day: He-Man's Castle Greyskull, The Ghostbusters' Firehouse, and The Technodrome. With a million little action features across Krang's battlestation, it's hard to choose a favorite part... though the creepy eyeball on top is a very strong contender. With the press of a button, a ramp would swing out from the playset, and the eye would launch itself towards any unsuspecting Turtle. And it was awesome. So, when the eyeball began to form at the top of the cinematic Technodrome, our lives were complete. The franchise would be remiss to omit the glaring boulder, but it's been remiss on far worse. Like the Turtles would ever just eat a cheese pizza without toppings. Get it together, guys.

Great CGI

It's inevitable to compare the all-CGI, motion capture Turtles between films, but they've only gotten better. It might be silly to say that these giant humanoid turtles are believable, but there really aren't many moments in the film where you feel like you're looking at a computer simulation of what life would be like if mutagenic ooze were real. There's a far greater humanity with these turtles than with Tyler Perry's bumbling, useless Baxter Stockman, and that's saying a lot. Mostly about Tyler Perry's inability to act when he's not wearing a fatsuit, but even more about how great this film's difficult visuals have been handled.