on August 21, 2009
Ever since I started watching blu-ray last year, I had always wondered when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies would come out on blu-ray. They've been overdue for a remastering, and plus, their anniversary is this year, so what better timing? I saw this set pop up right here on Amazon and I saw that my wish had finally been fulfilled. The question is, though, did they get the remastering they deserved?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The classic that everyone knows and loves. It's darker in tone than the other three, thus capturing the original comic book feel that Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman gunned for back when they did the original comics. Of course, parents didn't like it, so the tone didn't stay in future sequels. However, the literal darkness of the film happens to be the achilles' heel of this release. There's grain all over the place. It looks as if they transferred some of it, but didn't bother to do it on some scenes. One scene where Raph wanders out in broad daylight wearing a trench coat is where the grain is at it's worst, believe it or not. The dark scenes ALL have grain all over them. Some scenes are entirely devoid of any grain, though. So, what gives Warner Bros.? Couldn't touch all of it up? Now, believe me when I say this: This is the best the movie has ever looked. However, it lacks the detail of better blu-ray releases (though some of the detail is noticeable in the costumes of the Turtles), and the grain was to be expected, considering how dark the movie originally was, and as well as it being rather low-budget when it was first shot. The animatronics still stand the test of time, and this is the best they've ever looked, but I still wish more effort was put into reducing the grain and enhancing the details in a lot of scenes. Overall, if you don't mind grain in your films, you'll be fine with it, but this could be better.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze - My personal favorite of the collection. I've watched this countless times growing up on VHS. It looked rough then, but blu-ray has done it some justice. The grain isn't nearly as bad as the first movie, which is a plus, and it's not even noticeable much at all in brighter scenes. Plus, the detail has been enhanced to a fault. It's still not quite perfect in any regards, but I was satisfied overall withe visual quality. Tokka looks great with ever little greasy detail on his scaly body, and in the opening scene in the robbery, you can actually make out the faces of the robbers through their panty hose masks. This is also the best animatronics of the three live-action movies, and is timeless in it's execution. This is the best the movie has ever looked, though there are still some steps that could be made to better the picture just a little more. I was happy with it, though.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III - I'm not typing "Turtles in Time" next to it because some idiot at Warner Bros. put that on the box. That is not the official subtitle to the movie, it's the name of the Arcade/SNES video game, and it's a very good one, at that. Anyways, this is the most hated of the series, and within good reason The plot features absolutely no key villains from the Turtles universe, the animatronics are terrible (their lips flap around like Big Mouth Billy Bass) as they weren't Jim Henson's work like the previous movies, and the plot overall is so-so. However, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I don't really remember watching it as a child, just the first two movies, so I'm really taking this viewing as a first, to my recollection. As for the transfer, it's the best of the three live-action movies by far. Besides a tiny bit of grain in the opening scene with the samurais riding in the sunrise, there's no more to be found. The Turtles looked highly detailed, right down to the pores on the costumes. The lush Japanese setting looks gorgeous in this transfer, and it really makes the movie that much more bearable to watch. While it lacks a sound plot and has laughably bad animatronics, it looks very well done. If only this much effort were put into the previous two, this would be the best package possible.
TMNT - I actually saw this in theatres the day after it came out, I owned it on DVD first day, and I got it on blu-ray last Christmas, so this is actually a triple-dip retail buy, for me. The plot is solid, though it it is reminiscent of the goofy single episode plots they used to have in the 80's cartoons, mixed in with some internal struggle amongst the Turtles, especially Raph and Leo, of course. Some say Mike and Don play nothing but mere cameos, but they make a significant enough appearance to make an impact. There's enough laughs to know that at least Mikey is around in good quantity. As for the picture quality, it looks exactly as it did before on blu-ray, and that means there's nothing wrong with it. It is blu-ray perfection. Screenshots do not do it justice. Every turtle is brilliantly detailed, you can see every hair on Splinter, every detail in every wall, and don't even get me started on one key fight over halfway through the movie that I will not reveal due to possibly spoiling the movie. This fight, which takes place in the rain, is one of the single most gorgeous pieces of CG work I have ever seen. It's brilliantly animated, just as the rest of the movie is, and the amount of detail is mind-blowing. This movie is one of the greatest showpieces for the blu-rat format you will ever find, only to be rivaled by Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, which still stands as the most gorgeous movie of all time, in my eyes. A perfect picture for a great CG movie, overall.
As for extras, you get everything previous releases got. That's it. The only difference is that there's a trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up, coming to the Wii and PS2 next month, on the first movie's disc, but it's the very first trailer released, so its nothing new. It's just mastered in hi-def, though the actual game will look nothing like it, so what's the use? Overall, Warner did a terrible job for adding any special interviews, featurettes, or commentaries to commemorate the 25th Anniversary. I could personally care less about extra features, but those that are steamed about it are within good reason.
The extras we DO get, however, is part of the packaging. As you can see in the pictures one member nicely posted, it comes in a pizza box-esque design. I love it. It's actually much sturdier than you'd think, and the discs hold into their trays rather tightly. You also get 8 collectible cards, a reproduction sketch signed by Peter Laird (though it's printed, not actually signed), a reproduction of the original comic by Eastman and Laird that is based off of the original movie, an a beanie hat, which looks like it'd fit a younger head rather than an adult head, though I haven't unpackaged it for collectible reasons. It's a nice package overall, though many have complained about it not being in normal elite cases. You can always do custom cases, but this works perfectly fine and suits the collection well.
You may be wondering "Why the 4 stars?" after the first two movies weren't done as well as they could have been, but it's simple: This is the best they've looked. If you want a better picture for all of them, this is the only way to go, and they all look better, especially the last two. I did knock off a star because they didn't go the extra mile for the release by adding extra bonus features nor remastering the first two movies as thoroughly as they should have. However, hardcore Turtle fans like me will love it, I can say that much. It's worth the $60, in my eyes, but if you're only particular of getting the first movie (which I have found many are), wait up on this release. One can hope that it will get a re-release down the line from Warner like 300 and The Matrix have gotten, and hopefully, with better quality, as it's the one that got the short end of the stick, and the one most people will likely not be that satisfied with. However, if you want Turtles II and onward, they all look good to fantastic, so it's worth the purchase.
on October 15, 2010
If you're a fan of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" films, this Blu-ray set is extremely, highly recommended. Me, I would have been fine having the first film separately, but the two live-action sequels ARE relics of my past, and ones I like to dabble in every few years or so, so the fact that all the movies are bundled together isn't a huge problem for me. Plus, I kinda like that pizza box cardboard case and the goodies inside, which include:
*a mini reprinting of the full Mirage Studios 62-page black and white comic adaptation of the first film made by TMNT co-creators Peter Laird (script) and Kevin Eastman (layouts) who also ink--along with the very talented Eric Talbot--the exceptional pencils by Jim Lawson
*a black beanie with the old school cartoon and movie Ninja Turtles logo printed on the front
*an envelope with a cool drawing of the Turtles on front, the contents inside being some pretty neat character cards, but the coolest item being a small reproduction of a drawing penciled and signed by Peter Laird
But the biggest aspects of this Blu-ray set to get excited about are the quality transfers of the films, the main reason for buying a Blu-ray Disc. All four films are recreated accurately in the digital medium with a great level of grain and detail on the first three films, and an understandably sharp, grain-free image for the CGI film.
From now on I'll only focus on the first film, released in 1990, as that is by far my favorite of the four.
Taking into account the low-budget nature of this film and its use of soft light, the Blu-ray accurately brings the look of this film into the living room, as if a film reel were being projected onto your HDTV. A nice layer of natural grain, exceptional detail, accurate color reproduction, and so on--this movie looks beautiful, and alone is worth the purchase of this box set if you're a hardcore fan of the film. The review by Kenneth Brown strikes me as odd, as I do not notice grain zapping/reduction and heavy use of edge enhancing to compensate. I've seen plenty of such HD transfers, and this looks NOTHING like what the reviewer describes. The grain is very natural. And the "inconsistent contrast" and "poorly resolved blacks" are due more to the nature of the lower quality film stock as well as the soft lighting. Do these "professional" Blu-ray reviewers not know anything about film???
Being now a fan of the original Mirage Studios comics by Eastman and Laird, I appreciate this film even more now than I did as a kid considering how faithful it is to the source material. The tone is decidedly more adult, though not something that kids aren't welcomed into enjoying (most of the comics were the same way, barring some exceptions like Eastman and Simon Bisley's "Bodycount" miniseries); the story follows closely a select few issues, with any additions and changes gelling with the source material exceptionally well and being necessary for the plot to carry on without hampering (e.g., April O'Neil being a news reporter a la the cartoon series, rather than a computer programmer working for Baxter Stockman--that whole plot would not have worked here in 90 minutes for what they aimed for, and is ultimately unnecessary in this telling); Raphael is the main protagonist, with his journey to quell his anger and understand himself, standing out amongst his brothers, and his hard-shelled loyalty to his brothers and master as well as his meeting and friendship with Casey Jones driving the plot forward (after all, in the comics, Raphael in the "Return to New York" series is the one who drove the other Turtles to go after Shredder after their defeat at April's store/apartment); implementing the Turtles' and Splinter's origin story in the comics real closely with, again, some necessary changes to keep the plot and film pacing flowing; and, man, I could go on and on!
What I'm trying to say is, it's faithful to the source material, it doesn't pander to the kiddies (though again is a great movie for kids) unlike the two live-action sequels did, and in addition to that, it's written, directed, acted, photographed, scored, and edited exceptionally well. There's also those cuh-ray-zee special effects by Jim Henson and company, which are a marvel to behold.
1990's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" is an incredibly well-made low-budget film which became a smashing success, understandably so due to the popularity of the Turtles at the time, but I believe also because of how competently made it is. Call me crazy, but I think it's one of the absolute finest films ever made, and I thought that even before I got all nutty over the original Mirage comics. It's not just some old flick to enjoy for nostalgia factor or to tout around on college campus while wearing a TMNT T-shirt, fondly joking about how "Radical!" the Turtles are; this is expert filmmaking at its finest, and the Blu-ray of the film is beautiful and totally faithful to the low-budget film source.
One thing that I'm a little disappointed about--and this isn't enough to bring it down a star or anything, it's still a 5-star product regardless--is that there are no alternate or deleted scenes. The movie was originally supposed to end differently, and there were some censorship issues as well. These missing scenes and edits would be great to see. I love having the theatrical cut of the film, but I hope that someday in the future we'll see a proper Steve Barron director's cut.
As said in the beginning: Extremely, highly recommended! While I'm not as big of a fan of the other movies, and really kind of despise the third, I'm happy to own all four of them in the best quality possible; and really, the rest of the three look as faithful as the first.
If you're familiar with the live-action films but not the CGI one and are looking for an opinion on that: It's a good film. If you follow the 2003 cartoon series at all, it's a welcome addition to that, with some cool designs and animation. It's a whole lotta fun, and definitely my second favorite Ninja Turtles movie (with third being "Turtles Forever", fourth "Secret of the Ooze", and fifth the dreaded turd/third movie).
on March 14, 2015
This is a very cheap Blu-ray set. The discs are just reprints of the past Blu-ray collection, but the discs are clear and have no artwork. The films on the other hand look decent. The original TMNT trilogy won't ever look brilliant, but the video and audio quality is still very good. TMNT (2007) is also good looking and sounding.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Original Movie (3.5/5)
I personally think this is still a good movie. The turtle costumes are great and there's a nice tone going on with this movie. The story is actually still plausible and the action scenes are well done. The best a Ninja Turtles movie can ever get. The picture quality is average, but good. So is the audio, but there are no special features aside from the theatrical trailer.
Video - 3/5
Audio - 4/5
Extras - 1/5
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (3/5)
After the first film was a box office hit, the sequel went into production almost immediately. However, parents complained about the violence in the first film, so Ninja Turtles II is more kid friendly. The movie is not that good, but that doesn't mean it's not entertaining. The turtles still look great, it's bright and colorful(in a good way), and there's that dumb but fun Vanilla Ice bit. The picture quality is average, but good. So is the audio, but there are no special features aside from the theatrical trailer.
Video - 3/5
Audio - 4/5
Extras - 1/5
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1.5/5)
This movie is not very good. The script is terrible, the turtle costumes are not very good and it is just a disappointing closure to the series... The picture quality is average, but good. So is the audio, but there are no special features aside from the theatrical trailer.
Video - 3/5
Audio - 4/5
Extras - 1/5
One thing that bugs me is that the film has the subtitle "Turtles in Time" on the cover and the disc. In the actual movie, there is no subtitle, it's just simply "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III". "Turtles in Time" is the name of the SNES/Arcade game from 1991. Who's the schmuck-head who gave it the subtitle "Turtles in Time"?
It would've been better off calling it "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: No Refunds".
The story is a bit confusing, and I'm not quite sure if it follows the past movies or the 2003 cartoon. Probably the latter. The animation is decent and well done. The voice actors get their job done and it is a very entertaining film. The picture quality is quite good and the audio is great. Unlike the 90's trilogy, it has actual special features: A director's commentary, deleted scenes, an Alternate Opening/Ending, Storyboard-to-CGI Comparison, and more.
Video - 4/5
Audio - 4.5/5
Extras - 3/5
This set is recommended if you can't afford the "25 Anniversary" box set.
(NOTE: The first and third film are presented in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Both the box and case wrongfully say it's in 1.85:1. Only the second film is in 1.85:1, not the other two.)