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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > Superhero > Martial Arts > Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Season Four (5 Disc Set)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Season Four (5 Disc Set)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Episodes: B



Don’t go into “Shell Shock”, but Lionsgate Entertainment has just released Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season Four on a nicely presented 5 disc set.  This large 5 disc set is a first for the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series; all previous DVD releases of this series’ being presented on a single disc format with about 12 episodes each.  These previous DVD releases were not true season sets, but rather simple volume sets; in the end having a total of 6 volumes before going to this new ‘Season Directed’ format.


The 1980’s would not have been the same without the cultural impact of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with the original comic book premiering in 1984 and the extremely popular animated series in 1987.  The series ran for a total of 10 seasons, running from 1987 to 1996.  It is true that the animated series in the end was not as dark as the comic series, but it never the less was insanely popular and has become common nostalgia.  There was not a pizzeria or manhole cover that did not feel the impact of the Ninja Turtles in that decade.


This show is simply fun and brings back a ton of memories.  Where as the series was never known for great writing and the jokes are quite cornball, the animation styling and creative, imaginative characters are something that all children’s animators should aspire too.  The concept of the series is simple, yet sophisticated.  There are four crime fighting ninja brothers that happen to be giant turtles, who were trained and fathered by Master Splinter that just so happens to be a giant rat.  How did they get this way?  After a mysterious, green, ooze leaked into the New York sewer system a little girl dropped her four baby turtles down the sewer by accident.  Master Splinter (a ninja master) who had seeked refuge in the sewers, after hard times had fallen on him, found the four turtles frolicking in the mysterious ooze and decided to take them under his guidance.  To Master Splinter’s surprise the turtles began to develop many human like characteristics, as he began to develop many rat-like characteristics.  What was this ooze?


From the epic opener the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became a household name, and 20 years later they are still kicking but and scarfing down pizza.  With an updated animated series on television and a brand new CGI feature film entitled TMNT that ninja kicked top competitor 300 out of its box office slot, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aren’t going anywhere.


Though this set is refreshing in that it has 5 discs and 40 episodes as opposed to the normal 1-disc sets, the technical features of the DVDs remain disappointing.  The picture is presented in its original 1.33 X 1 Full Screen aspect ration, but looks like an undigitally remastered analog VHS.  The picture’s colors are off balance, the animation seems to bounce at times, there is obvious debris, and some light/dark issues.  Fans better hope that this is not the best quality masters that are available or even HD may be in trouble.  Let’s hope they fix these huge problems.  The sound is slightly better than previous DVD releases, with a simple 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo.  The sound is improved over the single disc volumes but still shows age and sounds compressed and distant at times.  A great thing for all TMNT fans out there is that this set ACTUALLY HAS EXTRAS!


The extras on this 5 disc are still weak, but nice to see something.  Extras include two different interviews one entitled ‘Underneath the Shell: Slash, the Evil Turtle’ that actually interviews Pat Fraley who voiced not only Slash but also the evil Krang,  the other interview is with James Avery (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) who voiced everyone’s favorite metal head, Shredder.  Both interviews are very candid and nice to see on this set.  These candid interviews are what every TV on DVD set should include, before we sadly lose these great actors and insightful thoughts forever.  Overall, the set is far from perfect but is getting closer to what fans want.


In the end, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are Americana, plain and simple.  Though these sets could be better and it is still unclear how these sets are broken up, syndicated episode versions or otherwise, they are a must have.  If fans do not support these sets, future sets may never be produced.  So everyone go out and grab this Turtlrific set, but hold the anchovies.



-   Michael P Dougherty II


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