Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – The Hero’s journey breakdown

Ordinary world

Four Turtles and a rat have been transformed into mutants by radioactive goo and have hidden from the outside world developing their ninja skills.

Call to Adventure

Raphael loses his Sai in a fight and news reporter April O’Neil keeps it in her bag. Essentially the outside world and their world have collided and things cannot be the same again.

Refusal of the call

Raphael tells Splinter he lost his Sai but he knows where it is and he says he can get it back. Splinter tells him not to worry about it and not to retrieve it Raphael disobeys him and when April when she is attacked by the Foot Clan Raphael protects her and brings her back unconscious to their lair, unknowingly revealing their hideout to a member of the Foot. “Our domain is in the shadow, stray from it reluctantly. For when you do, you must strike hard and fade away.”

Supernatural Aid

Splinter is the Mentor of the Turtles and has already trained them in the art of Ninjitsu.

Crossing the First Threshold

They return to their lair and find that Master Splinter is missing and their home has been destroyed.

Death of the mentor

An early death of the mentor moment, Splinter is missing however he has been training them for most of their lives. Their test is to see if they can put all the training they have already learnt into practice.

Belly of the whale

Raphael is nearly killed by the Foot when they are attacked by them at April’s apartment

The Road of the trials

They regroup at April’s family farm and refocus on training and getting their skills up once Raphael comes out his coma.

Meeting with the Goddess

Double duty for Splinter performing the role of Goddess as well as mentor? Danny is the son of April’s boss and Splinter inspires him to do the right thing after he came off track and joined the Foot. Danny is good but he has been led astray and is on the verge of a life of crime. (This one could go either way really as to whether or not he is serving the role of Mentor or Goddess)

Woman as Temptress

Danny is the victim of temptation in this story.

Atonement with the Father

Danny receives counsel from Splinter while he is a prisoner of the Foot and decides to do the right thing, and  help Casey release Splinter when he finds out that Shredder intends on having Splinter killed.


Leonardo is able to contact Splinter through meditation and the rest of the Turtles share his vision. God like ability of knowledge.

Ultimate Boon

They unite in common purpose in order to rescue their Master.

The Magic flight

They return to New York and engage in a fight with the Foot. Now they are united they destroy the Foot and end up on roof top to face the Shredder.

Rescue from without

The Turtles are no match for Shredder, who is about to kill Leonardo when Splinter appears and lures Shredder to the edge of building by revealing he was the rat who left him scarred. He then throws Shredder over the edge into a garbage truck

The crossing of the return Threshold

Danny unites with his father and has left the life of crime and the Foot for good.

Master of two worlds

The Turtles have proved themselves as ninja fighters and they have also reconciled  into the real world with their friendships with Casey and April.

Freedom to live

Splinter suggests the “Cowabunga” as their phrase and the Turtle celebrate the defeat of their enemy. All is well for the Turtles.


This film took it’s story line from the original comics and added the pizza comedy elements that were added by the TV cartoon series. It went onto to gross around two hundred million at the box office making it one of the highest grossing independent films of all time. It flips a number of the stages of the hero’s journey onto Danny and his experience of falling into the Foot clan and then climbing his way back out through the help of the imprisoned Splinter. Out of all the films, this one was most respectful of the comic books and is the most entertaining. This clip, from the animated feature captured the visual aspect of the comic on film. I read a portion of the Michael Bay film and fell into depression because it was disappointingly dreadful. The Turtles is such a brilliant franchise it deserves better. Kudos to this version though, it’s awesome.


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