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TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES II: THE SECRET OF THE OOZE Turns 25 Today

It’s funny how sometimes the things you deride for being lame in your youth turn out to be amazing in so many ways years later. Like, when I was a young ‘un, Rick Astley being #1 for seven straight weeks on the UK charts with “Never Gonna Give You Up” felt like an atrocity and a commercial fraud—nowadays it’s impossible to watch the video and not smile. And while The Secret of the Ooze, which turns 25 today, may not have been most people’s favorite Ninja Turtle movie at the time, watching parts of it now feels like the moment when you first watched the Adam West Batman as a young adult and went, “Ah! Now I get it! It’s supposed to be silly!”

Which is not to say that Turtles II is as brilliant as Batman. It isn’t. But in an age of all-CG creatures, and Vanilla Ice remaking the theme like this…

…all of a sudden there’s a whole lot of old-school charm to giant Creature Shop puppets, and this guy trying to act like he just got spontaneously inspired:

Later that year, of course, he would flex those thespian muscles further in Cool as Ice, which is long overdue for reassessment, too—but I digress. Here’s the normally dapper David Warner, managing to make a tuxedo look supremely dorky:

The club promoter is pissed, not because giant radioactive predators are endangering his customers, but because he thinks he’ll have to pay for extras (note: non-union extras make around minimum wage).

“A fire extinguisher! How come we never thought of that before?”

“Dude, man, don’t bogart the bong!”

“Chill, Donny, I got more.”

“Awesome!”

In which “It’s on like Donkey Kong” becomes literalized, as the day is saved with…rolling barrels.

And then Shredder comes to ruin the repetitive chanting.

Fun fact: do you know who played Shredder in this movie? Yes, we all know Kevin Nash played Super Shredder for the final sequence, but we’re guessing you know regular Shredder too…

This guy:

No, not Hurley. Dr. Chang. Real name: Francois Chau. Let the crossover fan theories commence.

So yeah, action-wise, TMNT II isn’t exactly up to modern standards. Though considering the Turtles are guys in rubber suits, the fact that they can pull off an enziguri at all is impressive. But here’s the thing—nobody who was making it looks like they’re winking at the material. It’s cheesy, but sincerely so. They thought this would please kids, and box office returns indicate that in fact it did.

And now that the movie’s old enough to get a car insurance discount, we’re guessing more than a few of you out there have some little ones in the backseat waiting to discover…The Secret.

What are your favorite memories of Ninja Rap?

Featured image: New Line Cinema

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