Sunday, November 22, 2009
First, a little history: the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic started in 1984 as a B&W parody of various comics of the day (mainly Frank Miller’s “Daredevil” and “Ronin”) and evolved into a fairly serious ninja comic with some sci-fi elements. Then, in 1987 the animated series featured a silly, kid-friendly version of the turtles with multi-colored headbands and their initials on their belts. It exploded into the most popular thing in kids TV – even into pop culture – and to this day the stuff invented for the series (“Cowabunga”, pizza-loving, “Turtle Power”, etc.) is what most people think of when they think of the Turtles. Eventually, the series ended, as all fads do. A new animated series started on Fox Kids (now CW kids) in 2003, and I watched the first few episodes out of curiosity. It turns out that the new series was much closer to the original comics, with the first couple of seasons actually following the first years of the comic fairly closely. The threats were more credible, and the stories more “realistic” and grounded, and I’ve continued to enjoy it through the years even when it drifted a little (like the season they spent 100 years in the future).
Now it’s time for the second series to end, and they’ve sent it off with an animated feature where the 1987 turtles get dumped into the 2003 turtles’ world. I didn’t have high hopes, but it’s clever and funny while still keeping the modern adventure spirit of the current series. The contrast with the “modern” turtles shows just how ridiculous the 80’s turtles were, but with affection for them too. I won’t tell you what the Shredder – the scary one from the current series – does when he has access to the multiverse, but you can catch a glimpse of it in this trailer. (There’s a longer trailer at that page too, but I’m not linking to it because it emphasizes the comedy and I don’t think it’s a fair representation of the story.) Fans of the original comics will find a lot to like in the last few minutes of the movie too. It’s a nice close to all eras of the turtles, now that they have a new owner. (The original creators are no longer involved, and there’s also a nice homage to them at the end of “Turtles Forever”.)
Anyway, I enjoyed the heck out of the show, and I love that a lot of thought and care was put into it. If you’re interested, it’s airing again in three half-hour segments on CW Kids for the next three Saturdays from Nov. 28 thru Dec. 12 at 10:30am. Presumably, it’ll come out on DVD at some point, although Amazon.com doesn’t currently have a listing for it. Let me know what you think. (Of the movie, that is, not my mental state.)
Edited to add: According to tmnt.wikia.com, "the uncut version of film will appear on the CW4kids's website sometime in December that includes 12 minutes of footage cut from the version that aired on TV."