26 October 2013

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Film Collection Blu-Ray Review

Release Date:
28th October 2013 (UK)
Mediumrare Entertainment
Steve Barron, Michael Pressman,Stuart Gillard
Josh Pais, Michelan Sisti, Leif Tilden, David Forman, Judith Hogg

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has skateboarded onto blu-ray courtesy of Mediumrare. The 3 original live-action films have been digitally remastered and collected together for the first time in the UK. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles come from an original comic book by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. The comic books were much darker in tone and were actually a response to Frank Miller’s Ronin.

The first film in the set is by far the best and closest to the original comic book. It’s considerably darker than the sequels even though it’s kid friendly enough it’s not gonna scare the kids. The Foot Clan (led by Shredder) is behind a crime wave across New York City and the police can’t stop it. The Ninja Turtles come out the sewer after saving report April O’Neil and they john forces with vigilante Casey Jones to combat the Foot Clan.

The first film is probably the film I’ve seen the most with the possibly exceptions of Donnie Darko and Brazil. Strange mixture but the first Ninja Turtles was a film I would watch over and over when I was like 5 or 6 like kids do. I have such a fondness for this film and supposedly still holds up pretty well while the sequels don’t. It’s also worth to note it has an early role from Sam Rockwell as the classy credit Head Thug.

It’s one of the first comic book adaptations; it’s post-Superman and pre-Blade. This period was during the time when comic book adaptations were a totally liability (except Batman) and many of the ones in the 8 years between Ninja Turtles and Blade were direct to video or tv movies. It’s surprising that were due to the massive success of Ninja Turtles (it was at one point the highest grossing independent film ever made) that not more were made but maybe if Terry Gilliam’s Watchmen happened the comic book film craze would have happened a lot earlier.

The sequels are a real mixed bag; the first sequel Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret of the Ooze is quite clearly the better of the 2. I’ve watched it a ridiculous amount of times when I was a kid from a taped broadcast of it. It’s dated pretty poorly which partly due to Vanilla Ice’s cameo and his “Ninja Rap”. It’s more colourful than the original’s relatively dark aesthetic and was clearly aimed to sell more action figures and was more inspired by the animated show that was on at the same. It’s also noticeably less violent than the 1st film, which was relatively violent for a PG film.

The final film has the Turtles travel back in time to feudal era Japan and they become samurai warriors. It’s all a bit naff and it’s a long way from the urban dwellings of the first film and I liked it as a kid but 16 years later it’s a pretty disappointing effort. It’s sadly going be remade by Michael Bay who is going have the turtles as aliens or something dumb like that.


Ian Schultz

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