I’m a pretty big turtles fan, having grown up with the classic 1987 cartoon series and toys back then, and I was more than happy when I learned Fox would be releasing a more serious take on the show back in 2003. So here we are nearly a decade later with Nickelodeon’s revamp of the franchise in six episodes from the seires in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise of the Turtles DVD. Combining the comedic tone of the classic 80’s series with some of the darker fare from the 2003 show, this new incarnation is sure to win fans over while showing newcomers what turtle power is all about.
While I was scared it would be a bust at first, I’m more than happy to report this may be the most fun and action-packed take on the bodacious brothers I’ve ever seen. Cowabunga!
Fifteen years after being exposed to radioactive ooze and being trained in ninjutsu by Master Splinter in the sewers of New York, Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael are ready to finally see what the surface is like. After making it topside, they witness a teenage girl named April and her dad being kidnapped by alien brains in human-like robot suits called the Kraang. Of course our teen heroes jump in and kick some butt to save them, but April’s dad is still taken away. This sets the stage for the rest of the series where they have to learn to work together and become stronger to not only take down the Kraang, but other enemies lurking the in the shadows, such as the infamous Shredder and more.
I really enjoyed this new take on the turtles, as I thought it was pretty cool how they captured the whole “fish out of water” thing, as they have no teamwork skills at first, which leads to the Kraang getting away. They also come across their favorite food, pizza, later in the show after being raised on worms and algae all their lives. Watching them evolve and becoming a tight knit group of brothers is already awesome in itself, but throw in some funny comedy along with some ninja action, and you got a cool show worth watching. And while I would’ve preferred to see this on Blu-ray, this DVD looks and sounds pretty good for what it is. The episodes are shown in a fullscreen format, which I don’t understand as they’re widescreen when shown on TV, but the colors and detail come in nicely. The audio is also pretty good, as the Dolby stereo makes sure every funny line and ninja action sound is heard clearly.
As far as special features go, there’s a few to help keep the party rolling once the episodes are over. One is called “The Mutation of a Scene” where a moment from each of the episodes here is broken down, from storyboarding to the finished episode. There’s also a karaoke music video of the new theme song that’s sure to keep the kids entertained after the DVD is over.
Nickelodeon has done a great job bringing back the turtles and in releasing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise of the Turtles DVD. Those longtime fans who feared that the switch to Nick might result in a sillier, less serious version of the famous brothers needn’t worry; this is a surprisingly mature, action-packed adventure that does creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s franchise justice. While the set is light on special features the six episodes here serve as a great starting off point for those unfamiliar with Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo, Splinter and the rest of the gang. Featuring plenty of well-placed comedic parts along with loads of kick-butt ninja action, everyone is sure to find something to like about the show. So grab a copy, put on your ninja mask and get ready to kick some shell with the turtles.
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