Kids who go wayward may get the impression that their families don’t really care. Dad is too busy. There is no time for Mom and Dad to hang out with me, some teenagers may think.

Some teenagers may bond with surrogate families. They bond with a group of friends that may or may not be good for them.

Some may go the way of the hood for their family. The hood seems to care, they take an interest.

The surrogate family is a theme in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), but it doesn’t end with a surrogate family. Turns out that the kid’s families of origin truly care after all, but how did the kids see that?

In Ninja Turtles, New York City is going through a crime wave. The city is infested by a criminal ‘import’, the Shredder, who’s taking in young men as allies, who think their families don’t care for them.

The father that’s absent, but who really loves and cares for his kids, is a plot-line here. The kids go off with their surrogate family in the hood, while their families wonder what’s gone wrong.

It’s when the good guys, the ninja turtles and their pals, figure out a way to convince the young men that they are being used, is when the boys start to see their involvement with a criminal mastermind in a negative light. Families may not always have the time for their teenagers, but underneath, they are the ones who really care.

The movie

The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film flexes the good nature, humor and verbal exchanges of the four ninja turtle crime fighters—Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael.  The 1990 film also features a time capsule piece on the state of law and order—a bit dated perhaps—yet these themes may still resonate today.

A highlight is the character Splinter, a mutated talking rat, who’s the ninja’s mentor. That if you think about is a bit gross, but he somehow manages to make us see the good side.

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