Back in the late 1980s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles kinda ruled the world. Or at least it seemed that way, considering the colorful cartoon adventures of the four "Heroes in a Half-Shell" were on the boob tube every weekday afternoon, cutesy toy versions of the pizza-eating and ass-kicking reptiles were selling like mad, and the live-action movie raked in millions at the box office.
Turtle Power is still a part of the pop culture world these days, thanks to the hit computer-animated kids show that airs on Nickelodeon and is watched by countless kids across the country. And these next generation fans of TMNT are likely to in attendance alongside old school fans of the franchise at either of the unique "Ninja Turtles on the Green Carpet" events taking place this week at Valley movie theaters.
According to event producer Devin Berko, TMNT fans of all ages are encouraged to attend the parties, which will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday at two different Harkins Theatres locations and celebrate all things Ninja Turtles.
"People of all ages are invited to the event whether they're a fan of the cartoon, the original comic book, or the new Nickelodeon series," Berko says. "We've kinda set it up so anyone can enjoy it."
The centerpiece of each of the parties are multiple showings of the 1991 live-action film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. In addition, TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman and renowned martial artist Ernie Reyes Jr. (who stars in the flick) are scheduled to appear and stage Q&A sessions after each of the screenings.
Various TMNT memorabilia and props from the film will also be displayed, students from Lee's ATA Martial Arts schools will conduct demonstrations of their kick-ass moves, and costume contests for prizes are planned for each of the events, which are scheduled take place on Tuesday in and around the Harkins Tempe Marketplace 16 and on Wednesday at the Gateway Pavilions 18 theaters.
Oh, and there will also be pizza parties (natch) occurring afterwards at eateries near either of the theaters. (The Dave and Busters at Tempe Marketplace will be the site of Tuesday's festivities while the Peter Piper Pizza location at the Gateway Pavilions hosts the one on Wednesday.)
Berko says that both days will also feature, as the name of the event implies, a large green carpet for attendees to traverse on their way into the theater. Costumes depicting the various Ninja Turtles and their dreaded enemy Shredder, are highly encouraged.
"The significance behind why we're calling it 'Ninja Turtles on the Green Carpet' is because the event is geared towards kids and their families and its about giving kids the same sorts of experience they'd get on the red carpet," Berko says. "Except instead of dressing up in tuxedos, they're dressing up in their favorite costumes."
He stresses, however, that the parties are geared towards Ninja Turtles fans of all ages.
"We intend to give kids and fans alike a fun experience," he says.
Some of the older TMNT fans in attendance can also maybe get a laugh or two at some of the campier moments in Secret of the Ooze, especially during the film's infamous cameo by rapper Vanilla Ice, which came during the heyday of his "Ice, Ice Baby" period.
Its one of the reasons that fans will enjoy seeing the movie on the big screen.
"Although you don't have the backstory that's in the original Ninja Turtles movie, it's still fun, it's still exciting, it's still really campy," Berko says.
Plus, there's a chance that fans might get a tidbit or two about the new live-action TMNT movie that's currently in the works as Napoleon Smith III, the film's executive producer, will also appear at the post-screening Q&A.
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"He probably can only say a few things about it just because there's a lot of secrecy behind the new series," Berko says. "But what from he's able to tell me and what he's able to tell the audience, I think they'll be really happy about some of the new things that are coming out of the new movie."
And if you're thinking about bringing up the fact that producer Michael Bay dropped the whole "Teenage Mutant" thing from the title, that issue has already been dealt with.
The Ninja Turtles on the Green Carpet events take place on Tuesday, June 25, at Harkins Tempe Marketplace 16, and on Wednesday, June 26, at the Harkins Gateway Pavilions 18. Times and ticket prices vary. See the event website for full details.