"TMNT: 25th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTOR’S EDITION"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)


Available on DVD August 11
www.WBshop.com
Studio: Warner Bros.

It’s hard to believe that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been kicking their way through our pop culture for the past 25 years. It is an awesome DVD set like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: 25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition” that helps remind us of this.

All four “Turtles” movies are packaged together in this limited edition collector’s set. Rather than coming in your basic cases, all four films are contained in a special DVD sleeve case in the shape of a sewer. What you give up in terms of individual storage, you gain with some wicked-cool additions to the set.

First, there are several sheets of temporary tattoos that can be enjoyed by the kids in your family. Plus, the box set comes with four ninja masks in the Turtles’ colors. I wouldn’t advise doing any ninja moves with them – or even watching the movies with them. They are, after all, a bit hard to see out of. However, for the clever value to the box set, these were real winners.

The DVDs come with the special features from their original releases. This includes only the trailers and trivia games for the first three films from the 1990s. However, the fourth and most recent film, the CGI “TMNT” includes a slate of DVD features that include a commentary tack, alternate scenes and deleted scenes, storyboard comparisons and interviews with the voice talent.

In short, this is a great collectable compilation for any “Turtles” fan to enjoy.



    



"TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)     STARRING
    Judith Hoag as APRIL O’NEIL
    Elias Koteas as CASEY JONES
    Josh Pais as RAPHAEL
    Robbie Rist as MICHAELANGELO
    Corey Feldman as DONATELLO
    Brian Tochi as LEONARDO
    Kevin Clash as SPLINTER
    James Saito as THE SHREDDER

    Rated PG
    Directed by: Steve Barron

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This film was the first time the Turtles leapt from comic books and television to the silver screen. It pre-dated full-blown digital effects, instead utilizing the animatronic suits made by the Jim Henson company. I was just a bit too old to really get into the Turtles. The previous year’s “Batman” adaptation was more my speed. However, I can appreciate the Turtles coming to life on the big screen.

Of the three live-action films, this one is the best. The characters are fresh, and the adventure has a great start to the franchise. The story follows three turtles and their ninja master, a rat named Splinter, all of whom have been mutated by a mysterious green ooze. They now have grown to human size and possess the skills of a ninja. When Splinter is kidnapped by the villain Shredder, the four turtle brothers use their powers together to save him.

I have shown all the films to my kids, and they absolutely love the franchise. What do you expect from kids ages 6 and 8. However, there’s still something to enjoy in these movies as adults. Sure, the dialogue is corny for grown-up viewing, but it still is a higher quality than a cartoon. This film, and the three that follow it, is a bit darker than the original television series, and that gives it some grown-up appeal.

However, the sprit of the cartoon is kept in this movie, and the fight sequences are pretty impressive for guys in turtle suits. The other great thing about this movie is that it highlights the classic villain of the Shredder rather than dipping into more obscure characters.



"TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES II:
THE SECRET OF THE OOZE"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)     STARRING
    Paige Turco as APRIL O’NEIL
    David Warner as PROFESSOR JORDAN PERRY
    Laurie Faso as RAPHAEL
    Robbie Rist as MICHAELANGELO
    Adam Carl as DONATELLO
    Brian Tochi as LEONARDO
    Kevin Clash as SPLINTER
    David McCharen as THE SHREDDER

    Rated PG
    Directed by: Michael Pressman

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In this sequel, which was rushed into theaters the year after the first film, the Turtles get in touch with a scientist named Jordan Perry (David Warner), who has access to the mysterious ooze that originally transformed them. Unfortunately, the Shredder has returned, and he wants the ooze to transform himself into an unbeatable opponent. The Turtles work to keep the Shredder from using the ooze.

This is one of those rare sequels that actually lives up quite nicely to the original. While it’s not as good as the first, it really had a shot to be almost its equal. In fact, I enjoyed this movie better than the first, until it swerved into this goofy night club dance sequence with Vanilla Ice.

Still, the spirit of the comics and the cartoon is alive and well in “The Secret of the Ooze.” It’s also a good TMNT movie because it deals with the Turtles’ origins, which always makes for some great storytelling.

Plus, the prettier Paige Turco takes over the role of April O’Neil, and we get some decent interaction with her and the Turtles as she tries to wean them out of the sewers.



"TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III:
TURTLES IN TIME"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)     STARRING
    Paige Turco as APRIL O’NEIL
    Elias Koteas as CASEY JONES
    Vivian Wu as MISTU
    Sab Shimono as LORD NORINAGA
    Stuart Wilson as WALKER
    Tim Kelleher as RAPHAEL
    Robbie Rist as MICHAELANGELO
    Corey Feldman as DONATELLO
    Brian Tochi as LEONARDO
    James Murray as SPLINTER

    Rated PG
    Directed by: Stuart Gillard

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Sadly, this is the installment that killed the franchise for more than ten years. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III” see the four turtle brothers thrust back in time to help April O’Neil (Paige Turco) after she is sent back to 17th century Japan. There, the Turtles learn the way of the samurai while they try to bring their friend – and themselves – back to the modern age.

This third film is easily the weakest of the bunch, but I can’t say it’s terrible. I know it gets maligned by die-hard TMNT fans, but since I never was in that group, I can be more forgiving. For kids like mine, who have only recently discovered the Turtles and are still under the age of ten, this movie works fine.

Some downfalls to the picture includes a weird storyline that doesn’t seem to draw very much from the original source material. The Shredder is gone as the main villain, and the time travel aspect seems very forced. It’s as if the studio executives mandated a story, and the filmmakers just ginned and bore it.

Still, you get some decent fighting action, even though the animatronics have taken a step down in quality.



"TMNT"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)     STARRING
    Chris Evans as CASEY JONES
    Sarah Michelle Gellar as APRIL O’NEIL
    Make as SPLINTER
    Kevin Smith as DINER
    Patrick Stewart as MAX WINTERS
    Laurence Fishburne as NARRATOR
    Ziyi Zhang as KARAI
    Mitchell Whitfield as DONATELLO
    James Arnold Taylor as LEONARDO
    Mikey Kelley as MICHAELANGELO
    Nolan North as RAPHAEL

    Rated PG
    Directed by: Kevin Munroe

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After more than a decade in the can (or rather, in the sewer), the Turtles returned to the big screen in 2007 in full CGI glory for “TMNT.” The story found the turtles estranged from each other with a threat in New York of an immortal soldier trying to resurrect his army. In the process, he releases a group of wild creatures into the world. The Turtles come together to capture the creatures and thwart the immortal’s plan.

What was great about this film is that the technology had reached a level that allowed a fully-realized TMNT motion picture. The characters were no longer constrained by rubber suits or the laws of physics. They could literally do whatever the animators imagined. And with the CGI technology having become so sophisticated, this was actually a better animated flick than any of the original cartoons.

Not having been a fan of the Turtles growing up, I was hooked with this film. There was the lightness of the original comic books and television series still in the characters. However, there was a slight darkness and a serious tone that made the movie more than just a kids’ flick.

I enjoyed the action, as well as the relatively simplistic storyline. And, as they did with the previous films, my kids absolutely loved this movie... so much so, my 8-year-old son is now bugging me to find out when this next rumored TMNT movie will be hitting the big screen.

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