Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3D Blu-ray Review
I recently revisited the original TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES film from 1990 and although the film has some cheesy production qualities, I was impressed by how much heart the film had. It managed to develop surprisingly complex characters that were both fun for kids and interesting for adults. But I knew as soon as I saw “produced by Michael Bay” that the new Ninja Turtles film would inevitably take away everything I liked about the Ninja Turtles and replace it with glossy, high concept action sequences. Once again, Michael Bay came through. I’ll let you decide if that’s a good thing or not.
The plots for this and the 1990 version are pretty close; the evil Shredder is looking to take over the city, this time by releasing a toxic gas in NYC that only he has the anecdote for, thus making him and his counterpart, Sacks (Fichtner), very rich. But junior reporter April O’Neil (Fox) is on to him and with the help of the Ninja Turtles, she attempts to thwart his evil plan.
Instead of taking time to reveal each of the Turtles’ personalities by interaction or dialogue, they’re each costumed as caricatures of their personalities. For example, Donatello is the smart, brainy one of the bunch and here he speaks in a high pitched voice like Urkel from ‘Family Matters’ and wears thick glasses. I’m sure the Michael Bay haters will have a field day with the look of these new Ninja Turtles, but their appearance in the film didn’t bother me as much as the lack of focus on the turtles themselves. April O’Neil, Shredder and the other human characters are meant to be supporting players to the Turtles, but here, the Turtles almost take a backseat to the human actors. Middle-aged men might show up to see Megan Fox run around town, but kids don’t care how hot she is, they just want to see the Ninja Turtles fight, make jokes and eat pizza.
As for the action, this is CGI overload to the max. Since the Turtles themselves are all CGI, the “ninja fighting” in the film is a bit awkward. There are some moments of excitement, but the lack of consistency with the Turtles’ abilities made some of the action scenes confusing. For example, Shredder cracks Rafael’s shell at one point, but apparently it only limited him in one specific scene since moments later he was normal again. And these Turtles seem to have near-super strength as they can lift and throw shipping containers and can jump unusually high. It’s not that I don’t like the decision to make them “super”, it’s just that I wanted it to be defined and consistent.
I have to remind myself that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles weren’t created for 35 year-olds. I was 11 when I first saw the Ninja Turtles on TV and I instantly became transfixed by them. So I don’t know if today’s 11 year-olds feel the same way about these new Ninja Turtles, but for me, something was missing. Or maybe I’m turning into my father because 25 years ago, I remember him being confused by my fascination of the Ninja Turtles as well.
3D BLU-RAY REVIEW
I was hoping that at the very least, we’d get some good 3D visuals in the Ninja Turtles reboot. Unfortunately, the 3D was a bit of a letdown, never really taking advantage of the medium. There were plenty of opportunities, but for the most part, I felt like I was watching the 2D version.
Video: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES looks fantastic on Blu-ray.
Audio: The audio is equally impressive.
Digital Reality (17:55): This featurette goes into detail on the effects used in the film, as well as the creation of the Turtles and how they used motion capture. Overall, this is a good, if brief, featurette on the film.
Extended Ending (:47): Not much of a difference, but this adds a little more to the ending.
Four Featurettes (31:46): I lumped these four featurettes together because none of them stand alone very well. These cover some of the 3D effects in the film, as well as interviews from the cast and crew where they talk about their love for all things Ninja Turtles.
Music Video and Making of Video: We get a look at the “Shell Shocked” video from Wiz Khalifa as well as the making of said video.