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Aug 13, 2014
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The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie is now playing in cinemas, to which the kid in you might react "Cowabunga!" while the Michael Bay-hater in you asks, "Michael Bay, why are you ruining our childhood!?"

The Bay-produced outfit, the fifth film in the long-running reptilian series, hasn't exactly been a critical darling, garnering a 20 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus is that the Turtles, who once brimmed with '90s-style attitude, have become nothing more than superhero placeholders. They could have been replaced with sharks, mice, pitbulls, or honey badgers in this full-on CGI outing, and it wouldn't have mattered. The personalities that once drove kids to make shrines for these shelled superheroes are gone, and that's just sad.  

Also, the Turtles have mutated into nightmarish versions of themselves, the kind who have spent too much time in the gym:


"Put the bandana back on, dude, before you make everyone in here sick!"

Gone are the cute, charming Leo, Mikey, Donnie, and Raph of old, replaced by Hulk clones with shells on their back.

With the spotlight on their Ultimate Warrior-like looks, we ask: How much have the Turtles changed through the years? Join us as we judge their appearances from the day they were born!


1)   The original comics version that started it all (1984)

Identifying marks: Always angry-looking, black-and-white, and oddly cute and bad-ass at the same time

Pros: Legitimately ninja-like in demeanor

Cons: The lack of color bums us out. Apart from the weapons, how can we tell who from who without their color-coordinated bandanas? What if they're eating pizza and their weapons are at bay?

OVERALL: B+


2)   The animated series that really, really started it all (1987)

Identifying marks: Color-coordinated ninja bands around the knees, wrist, elbows and eyes. The ones that pop up in the heads of '90s kids when you mention "Ninja Turtles"

Pros: They legitimately look like fit teenagers.

Cons: They eat like teenagers too, consuming large servings of pizza often.

Overall: A+


3)   The original TMNT trilogy that got kids into Ninja Rap (1990-1993)

Identifying marks: Looks like they'd fit right in in a musical with Kermit The Frog, which makes sense because they were made by Jim Henson, who also made The Muppets

Pros: Anyone who wore those heavy-looking turtle suits most definitely emerged out with more muscles

Cons: You once truly believed that these glorified mascots could kick the asses of an army of foot soldiers. 

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Overall: A-


NEXT: Anime Ninja Turtles!


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