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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > CGI > Adventure > Superheroes > Martial Arts > Comedy > Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Beginning - The Complete 1st Season (2001/Nickelodeon/Paramount DVD)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Beginning - The Complete 1st Season (2001/Nickelodeon/Paramount DVD)

Picture: B- Sound: B- Extras: C Episodes: B-

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have gone well beyond what artist Kevin Eastman had originally envisioned; spawning an innumerable amount of toys, comic books, video games, films, and animated series. The newest animated series for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aired on Nickelodeon starting in 2012 and proved that the world was ready for more Turtles. With both adult and children fans alike the series has garnered much praise; now in its 4th season, showing no signs of slowing down.

The American 3D rendered CGI series takes audiences back to the Turtles origins, keeping much the same, but shaking things up a bit to keep things fresh. This departure from the original comics and animated series is a bit hard to swallow at first (especially for longtime fans), but quickly finds its stride and pulls the audience in for more.

The series starts with ninja (Ninjutsu) master Hamato Yoshi caring for 4 baby turtles when he encounters a member of the alien race known as Kraang. During an abrupt altercation with Kraang, Hamato and the turtles are exposed to an odd, unpredictable chemical known as Mutagen; a chemical that transforms Hamato into a humanoid rat and the turtles into anthropomorphic turtles. Seeing the dire and dangerous situation he's in, Hamato retreats with the turtles into the sewers of New York City. In the sewers Hamato (known now as Splinter) raises the turtles as his sons and trains them in the ways of Ninjutsu. Fast-forward to modern day, the turtles (Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo) are now teenagers. The Teenage... Mutant... Ninja...Turtles (yep!) venture out to the surface for the first time, where they discover that the alien race (again) known as Kraang are attempting to use their mutagen chemical to takeover New York. During this encounter they meet teenager April O'Neill when her and her father are abducted by Kraang. April is freed, but her father remains imprisoned. Concurrently to these events Hamato's (Splinter's) long time arch nemesis Oroku Saki (Shredder) arrives in New York with his Foot Clan; planning to eradicate Splinter and his sons.

Shredder learns of the Kraang race and that hail from Dimension-X where they are led by Kraang Prime. The races ultimate mission is to use the mutagen to transform earth into an inhabitable planet for their race. Shredder sees The Kraang as good alliance, as they team up to destroy the turtles. Along the way we meet some familiar characters like that of Baxter Stockman, Leatherhead, and Spike and new ones like Dogpound and Fishface.

The series is well done as it finely mixes the old with the new, not just merely rehashing what we have already seen; instead delivering something fresh and fun. The CGI leaves something to be desired, but gets the job done.

The technical features on this DVD set are nice, but this set is merely a repackaging of the 3 previously released volumes. That is to say, if you already own the 3 volumes that were already released; the same discs are delivered here, nothing new. The picture is nice in it's anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 widescreen image that has bright colors and solid enough blacks, but the CGI on DVD doesn't look the best and would be much better served on Blu-ray. The sound is also adequate in a lossy Dolby Digital that comes heavy from the front without surround action to enhance the viewing experience.

The set houses the first 26 episodes and some extras. Extras include:

  • 'Making of' animatics

  • Theme Song (Karaoke)

  • The Mutation of a Scene

  • Animated Comic Book: Tales from the Turtle Lair (Parts 1-6)

  • A 16-Page Sample of the TMNT: The Ultimate Visual History by Andrew Farago

    • A nice sample of a great book that chronicles the history of the turtles from comic to animated series to action figures and more

- Michael P. Dougherty II


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