If you were a young boy during the time this movie came out, as I was, there's a good chance that you were a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They were everywhere by the early 90's. Comics, television, movies, games, toys and more. So the first and most obvious thing to note is the nostalgic value this movie has when I watch this movie.
This is the only TMNT product that I still re-visit with some form of regularity. I don't play with or collect action figures anymore, it's a little more difficult to watch the sequels, especially the third movie, and I haven't watched much of the television show since I was a kid as these things are all geared mostly towards adolescents. I still can't bring myself yet to watch the more recent Michael Bay movies as I'm not a fan of heavy CGI use in movies. However, this original movie has enough violence and a broodingly dark tone to it that it suits audiences of all ages. As ridiculous as it sounds to watch a movie where guys are dressed up in these big rubber costumes, the end product really isn't as cheesy as it probably should be.
For the most part, the pace of the movie is pretty good with plenty of action and while the movie doesn't sport the most impressive martial arts moves ever seen on camera, the fight scenes are remarkably good when you consider the big, clunky costumes that are being worn. The end battle against the Shredder is awesome, and although I'm sure the frame rate had been sped up a little in some spots, it's not really that noticeable.
Elias Koteas is a really cool cat with his portrayal of the hockey-masked vigilante, Casey Jones. Judith Hoag does okay in her role but doesn't really strike any physical resemblance to how April O'Neil should be, and I hear that she complained quite a bit during the filming. While we're talking about things that happened during filming, I have also read that the director, Steve Barron, had been fired from the movie in post-production before the final cut was put together because he wanted the movie to go even darker, which some people higher up had a problem with.
There are a myriad of minor goofs spread continually throughout the movie. There are scenes where the actors real faces can be seen through the mouths of the costumes, at times the wrong voices are applied to the certain characters, there's even one scene in the movie where a crew member is right in the middle of the screen, trying to hide next to a table. I guess it worked to some extent because I never noticed it until it was pointed out to me as my focus was always on the turtles during the scene but now that I've seen it, it is so mind-boggling as to how it was left in. For some people, these goofs can tarnish the movie greatly but for some reason they just don't bother me in the slightest.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a huge dose of nostalgic fun and is dark enough for plenty of adults to enjoy as long as they are able to look past a bunch of insignificant production errors.