Next week sees the release of not one, but three new DVDs for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon shows for fans to enjoy. I got the chance to check out the new discs and see what they have to offer, in order to help you decide whether or not they’re worth picking up. Come inside for my full review!
Normally, I like to do separate reviews for individual DVD releases, however, since all three of these are about the Ninja Turtles (though span a couple different animated series) and hit on the exact same day (June 9th), I decided a group review would be best. Here’s what’s hitting shelves:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Pulverizer Power - Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo find themselves facing a new kind of obstacle--the ultimate fanboy--in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Pulverizer Power. The Pulverizer is a teenage boy who wants nothing more than to dress up and fight crime just like his favorite superheroes. In this volume, the Turtles reluctantly train this new crime fighter and ultimately learn how to work together.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Search For Splinter and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: NYC Showdown - The Turtles from the 2003 hit-animated series have re-emerged in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Search for Splinter and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: NYC Showdown, bringing some of the biggest adventures from season one of this classic series back to DVD in two exciting volumes, each offered at a great value price!
The first DVD I mentioned, is based on the currently ongoing animated TMNT series on Nickelodeon, while the last two are based on the 2003 version of the cartoon, each of them grouping together three episodes that revolve around the same thing, or series of events.
I’m a big fan of the Ninja Turtles and have been following their animated exploits since the late 80s. The revitalized series in 2003 holds a very special place in my heart, managing to give the Turtles a deeper storyline with more impressive action than ever before. That said, it lost a lot of the goofiness and charm that came from the original series, opting for a more serious route. This isn’t a bad thing, and I don’t bring it up to make it seem like that. Just know, if you never got a chance to watch it before when it was airing, this is how it is.
The new TMNT animated series is one of my favorites so far. It combines the goofiness of the original show, with the deeper story and action of the 2003 series perfectly. The result is entirely amazing, and something I love to sit down and watch with the kiddos. As a result, these three new releases were a pretty exciting find in our house and considering the kids weren’t alive back when the last Ninja Turtles series was on, it gave me a chance to share that with them as well. So let’s talk about those two releases first:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Search For Splinter Episodes:
Things Change–In the first episode of this series, the Turtles and Master Splinter are suddenly attacked by a horde of Mouser robots! These mechanical menaces chomp through stone, steel, and even Turtles, until the roof of the Turtle’s sewer-lair caves in, separating our heroes from their beloved Master. Now the Turtles must abandon their home of 15 years and find their missing master. On the way, they have to deal with collapsed sewer tunnels, the Purple Dragon street gang and a small army of mysterious, highly trained ninjas!
The Search for Splinter, Part 1–After the frustrated Turtles exhaust their search for Splinter, their suspicions turn to the Guardians and the trail soon leads them to a non-descript building. The initials of its company name spell out “TCRI”–the same letters stamped onto the canister of ooze responsible for their mutation. Now with two reasons to infiltrate that building, the Turtles recruit both April and Casey to help get them inside.
The Search for Splinter, Part 2–In this conclusion of the two-part season finale, the Turtles successfully infiltrate the mysterious TCRI building, where they manage to sneak into its inner sanctum and locate the unconscious Splinter inside a stasis tank. They also discover that there’s more to the technicians inside than meets the eye.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: NYC Showdown Episodes:
Return to New York, Part 1-The Turtles return to New York with one goal in mind--to destroy Shredder once and for all. With April providing remote computer assistance from the lair, the Turtles begin their assault on the Foot Headquarters skyscraper, fighting their way to the top, floor by floor. They must overcome an army of Foot Ninja Guards and the deadly cloaking Foot Tech Ninja, but no one is quite prepared for what they encounter inside a Foot Genetics lab.
Return to New York, Part 2-The Turtles and Splinter continue to fight their way up through the Foot Headquarters skyscraper, facing down three misshapen Mutant Shredder Clones, a hallway of traps and never-before-seen supernatural foes known as the Mystic Ninja. Finally, they reach their goal--the top floor and Shredder's throne room--but they must confront Shredder's deadly Foot Elite Ninja. Things really get out of hand when Stockman, in a souped-up exo-suit, crashes the party…literally.
Return to New York, Part 3-With Stockman showing up in the middle of the final battle between our heroes and Shredder, everything is thrown into chaos, temporarily forcing the Turtles to team up with Shredder and Hun to defeat Stockman before he annihilates them all. Once Stockman is eliminated, the final fight continues as the Turtles face the ultimate challenge high atop Shredder’s skyscraper.
Watching all six of these episodes together paints a pretty good picture, and completes a solid story arc for the series. The action is great and the story is engaging, giving you some impressive Turtles action. The problem, however, is that they are spread over a pair of DVDs. The story contained feels like something that would have worked even better had they combine them into one set rather than separated. Alas, this is how most animated TV series releases are handled anymore.
Considering how long it’s been since the previous animated series was released it’s really nice to see that they’re still giving us DVDs for them at all. A quick look on Amazon (or anywhere else) will show you how expensive the previous DVDs of the 2003 series are going for now. So the fact that we can get some new releases is a great thing, and something sure to please fans. Hopefully we’ll be able to get full seasons soon, rather than just a handful of episodes at a time. Still, these two DVDs offered up some of the best/most exciting episodes from the series that I found myself still enjoying right along with the kiddos. So let’s talk about the newer animated show’s DVD release:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Pulverizer Power includes the following episodes:
The Pulverizer— The Turtles meet their first fanboy when a teenage wannabe hero decides to fight crime and dress up as The Pulverizer.
The Pulverizer Returns— When Shredder schemes to create a fearsome army of mutants, the Turtles have no choice but to rely on the help of the newest recruit to the Foot Clan—The Pulverizer!
Mutagen Man Unleashed— Donatello obsessively experiments with mutagen in a bid to find a cure for April’s mutated father. Unfortunately, this puts April in danger from a new threat—Mutagen Man!
These three episodes have spanned throughout a couple seasons, but all connect together in a great way that works for an individual DVD release. I thoroughly enjoyed them when they aired on TV, but seeing them all lined up in order made me appreciate them more. The story is actually kind of tragic, considering the more light-hearted tone of the newer series.
The Ninja Turtles meet up with a klutzy character, Timothy, whose most desperate wish is to be a superhero like them. The only problem is that he’s an overweight nerd with no martial arts skills to speak of. That doesn’t stop his optimism, however, and he remains determined to help in any way he can. Sadly, this leads him down a path which transforms him into a mutated monster without a body. As Donnie does his best to search for a cure, Timothy’s plight only seems to get worse.
The story hasn’t fully wrapped up, and Timothy remains a mutant, frozen away until a cure can be found. So, yeah, this DVD set doesn’t exactly end on a happy note, but does leave room for hope. Despite that, it’s a great story arc that shows how impactful this animated series can be, while still retaining the fun action fans have come to expect from the heroes in a half-shell.