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TMNT (DVD) (WS/FS)
Kids cult classic the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles take back the streets, with an all-star vocal cast that includes Laurence Fishburne, Patrick Stewart, Sarah Michelle Gellar and more! In this all-new, all-CGI animated incarnation of the popular franchise, animation veteran Kevin Munroe resurrects the pizza-munching, crime-crunching reptiles. Taking its tone directly from the original, grittier comic books and filled with adventure and humor, the latest appearance of the wildly popular cold-blooded, hard-shelled heroes will ignite the imaginations of a whole new generation of kids and their families.]]>
The supplemental features on TMNT are a decidedly mixed bag: Viewers are offered a great deal of extras, but all run far too short to prove particularly useful to serious Turtle fans. The deleted and extended scenes will undoubtedly be the chief feature of interest, but the alternate opening and ending, as well as several other clips are presented only in early test form ("Roof Top Workout" is presented in storyboard form and then in pre-visualized form). Also, one cannot view the deleted/extended scenes without hearing commentary by director Kevin Munroe (who also provides an informative if somewhat dry feature-length commentary track). Having said that, some of these scenes (most notably "Splinter Gets Cake") do stand on their own, and might have helped to enliven the theatrical version of the finished film. Also included is a brief featurette comprised of interviews with the voice talent cast, and "Donny's Digital Data Files" explores the CGI design for the characters and their environment; again, their brief running times (the info-heavy "Donny" clocks in at less than two minutes) will render them somewhat extraneous to hardcore Turtles devotees. The Internet Reel is a promotional collection of clips from the film, while trailers for several other kid-friendly Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera films and DVD collections (Fred Claus, The Last Mimzy, Birdman and The Galaxy Trio) round out the sorta-special features. --Paul Gaita
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This is pretty much a stand-alone movie. Some would say it comes after the live-action trilogy from before, but that is not case. (Splinter has both ears and they don't live at train station) There is part where they show their trophy case, and there are items that relate to the other movies, but then there's the canister that says TCRI (from series and novels) instead of TGRI (from the second live-action movie). Confusing...
The CGI is excellent, and pretty famous voice actors: Chris Evans, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Patrick Stewart, Kevin Smith, Ziyi Zhang, and Mako, in his final role, as Master Splinter. Laurence Fishburne narrates, and Kevin Michael Richardson, who plays Shredder in the new CGI TMNT series on Nickelodeon, plays the villain General Aguila in this film.
The film is well done, well paced, but it may confuse those who have no knowledge of the turtles, and even those who do as there are continuity issues (references to both the live-action movies and series). If you can look passed that, this movie is quite enjoyable, and as I said before, this movie has great CGI! Very reccommended!
The plot of the movie has some nice character moments, but ultimately isn't as strong as the aesthetics. There's something about an ancient warlord who is capturing monsters to rule the world. For the turtles' first CGI movie, I actually think it might have been better to stick with something more traditional, like Shredder threatening to take over the world or something like that. However, the film is littered with wonderful moments. I love the setup, in which Leonardo has left to go on a spiritual retreat and the other turtles are lost without him. It makes for some nice tension. I think the movie captures the sense of brotherhood between the turtles better than any other movie or TV show thus far.
Overall, this is definitely worth watching if you're a TMNT fan. The story could have been better, but in the turtles have never looked better.
Sadly, the blah storyline doesn't do justice to the spectacular animation. In its cliche-ridden effort, it not only borrows an old fantasy plot device (of the planets being aligned and, thus, causing mystical forces to come into play), it dips some more into that recurring rivalry between the sensible leader Leonardo and the impulsive and often angry Raphael. We even see a half-hearted attempt at a romance between April and Casey (they're now living together). I don't know how much actual sweat and thought went into the crafting of the story, but the finished product comes off as having that by-the-numbers feel.
The plot involves a warrior king who, 3000 years ago, sought to gain even more power by opening up a portal to another dimension. The energy from the portal granted the warrior immortality but at the expense of turning his soldiers into stone. At the same time, 13 monsters were released onto our world.
Cut to the present, in New York City, where our turtles are going thru a crisis. It seems that Master Splinter had sent Leonardo away to Central America for leadership training a while ago, and Leo's not back yet. With their leader's absence, the three remaining turtles have drawn apart, with each brother branching off and doing his own thing. Mikey has ventured into the business of entertaining at children's parties in his guise as Cowabunga Carl (as Carl, he dons a huge turtle mask over his real turtle noggin!). Donatello has started his own at-home tech support endeavor. And Raphael sleeps all day.
But things change when fearsome monsters and stone warriors begin appearing in NYC. The Foot clan, as well, begins to make noise, now under the leadership of the sexy Karai. And with frequent sightings of an enigmatic nighttime vigilante known as the Nightwatcher, you just know Leo picked a good time to come back to the sewers. Mikey and Donatello welcome him back with open arms. Raphael? Well, he has issues...
When Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird debuted their first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles way back in 1984, they obviously had no idea that their creation would become such a world wide juggernaut. I'm a fan of their work. I'm talking about the issues they themselves actually wrote and drew. The stuff after that, when they got so busy with the managing of their TMNT empire that they hired other artists to put out the issues, well, I can take those or leave 'em. This picture takes the turtles back to their roots in terms of grit and seriousness. In its sensibilities and its darker mood, TMNT hearkens back to classic Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. Not much of that Saturday morning cartoon vibe in this one, although Mike does let loose with an occasional "Cowabunga!" The humor's still here, mind you (and mostly provided by Mikey); it's just not as prevalent.
The voices are well cast, with Patrick Stewart (Prof. X, Capt. Picard) lending his distinctive pipes to Max Winters, the mysterious entrepreneur with an agenda. Chris Evans (Casey), Sarah Michelle Gellar (April), and Ziyi Zhang (Karai) provide good support. The key casting, however, lies in the actors who voice the turtles. Fortunately, though I've never heard of any of these guys, they come near perfect in how Leo, Mikey, Donatello, and especially Raphael should sound.
Despite the inferior storytelling, this gets 4 stars from me, on the strength of how great the film looks. The exhilarating computer graphics allow our shelled superheroes to vibrantly come to life. Whether it's depicting Mikey gleefully skateboarding down the sewer tunnels, Raphael's headlong plunge down several stories as he parallels a monster's fall, or the frenetic and well-executed fight scenes, the animation is a blissful treat. And the good news is, going by Foot leader Karai's parting words, there's more TMNT movies in the horizon.