Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Turtles Forever Review

Growing up I watched a lot of cartoons, Batman, Spider-man, though one carton captivated me as a child like no other. The title alone mystified me. I was familiar with the super heroes like Batman and Spider-man, but when I heard these 4 words I knew I had to find out more.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Now growing up I watched this show on VHS a lot. I loved this series as well as the live action films (well, the first 2 at least) and Turtles in Time for the Super Nintendo is one of my favorite games of all time. So to say the last the Turtles have had a big impact on me over the years.

I wanted to mention my history with the TMNT because I do find them to be an essential part of my childhood. The cartoon, movies, video games toys and comics all where things I have memories with and I love them all.

Now the 2003 series is something that some TMNT fans seem to scorn for it’s different design and more darker take on the TMNT. Rather then them being funny off the wall heroes. I personally liked it a lot, but after a few seasons I got bored with it and stopped watching.

It had lots of clever moments and some great character work but it was failing to keep me interested after a while.

The 2007 CG movie was a good movie. But the plot sucked. The whole thing about some ancient guy and his stone warrior brothers was garbage. All the parts with the TMNT getting back together though was awesome and the CG was great.

Overall the TMNT have sort of fallen into the backdrop of my life. I don’t have any DVD’s of the cartoon that I watch regularly. I own the movies on VHS but aside from that and some comics I’ve sort of shelved the Turtles as I’ve grown up.

So while the TMNT mean a lot to me, I haven’t been all that interested in them for a while. The purchasing of them from Nickelodeon has me worried about the future of the TMNT but at the same time I think Nick is smart enough to use a popular property like this when they have one.

I wanted to give you all my own little history with the TMNT as I must admit when I first heard of Turtles Forever a few days back I jumped for joy at the sound of it. Sure the old cartoon was never perfect but seeing those turtles I grew up with meeting the current Turtles of today? Absolutely awesome.

But it gets even better, 2003 Shredder is back. He was awesome and one thing I loved about the cartoon. All this together got me pretty excited for watching this Saturday night!

Then my DVR gave me a big middle finger and messed up the recording.

So I had to watch it on Youtube. Not as epic but hey I’m not complaining. Much.

So Turtles Forever, how was it?

Pretty damn good.

Now lets talk about the movie’s biggest fault and that’s how they handle the original cartoon TMNT. I understand they where super goofy and compared to the Mirage and 2003 Turtles may come off as really silly but this was just downright overkill.

I didn’t mind them being goofy and joking and funny. That was all good, but they never really buckled down and got serious even when they said they where going to. In the old cartoon, insane as stuff got, they where still badass heroes.

Here they are the kid versions of the Turtles. They get scared of big bad guys and run with their tails between their legs and rarely do anything. Now I can understand that they may not be great at handling 2003 Shredder alone since he’s pretty bad, but they could have at least tried.

Honestly this was parody of them more. It took their goofy nature and dialed it up to 11. Now most of the time I didn’t mind this. I can take that my childhood had a goofy and funny cartoon that was hilarious more then badass. I leave that stuff to Batman and Spider-man. But the writers didn’t even try to diversify this team.

In the old cartoon the Turtles, while all somewhat similar, where at least a bit different. Here they all just feel like pallet swaps of each other and it was really annoying.

Other then that I did like seeing the 80’s cartoon Turtles still. It was fun seeing this more kid friendly goofy side of the Turtles and Shredder as they interacted with the 2003 versions. If they’d  toned down the stupid a little bit though it would have been much better.

I wanted to address the voice actors because this movie had a nice crew of voice actors.

Now looking at the old cartoon’s original voice actors and the 2003 cartoon’s voice actors I can say I prefer the 2003 voice actors much more. They sound more distinct and different for one. Also characters like Leonardo and Raphael sound much more like I would think they would sound from reading the comics.

I know 4Kids entertainment gets a lot of flack for things like their dubs of anime and all that but when it came to the voice actors of this movie they did a good job. With the exception of one voice.

Leonardo from the 80’s Cartoon…my favorite Turtle…is stuck with Dan Green. A damn good voice actor, but someone with a very deep voice that sounds nothing like I would think Leo to sound like. While I could take the Shredder not sounding like James Avery, this was just a horrible choice of voice actor for a character. If anything he should have been given Raphael.

Now the voice actors for the Mirage Turtles (more on them later) where all done very nicely. I especially liked Jason Griffith as Leonardo who really did a great job with the casual yet intense lines. Especially the final line. Also the voice for Raphael was deep and grittier, much more like what I would think Raph would sound like.

So for the most part the voice acting was great.

Animation was great as well. They really did a great job of animating the faces and just making a really great looking movie. Especially the world of the Mirage Turtles. It all looked great.

Now for the story. Most of it is just build up really for the final act in the world of Turtles Prime (the Mirage Turtles) and it does a great job of slowly building. We get a nice explanation as to why the 80’s Turtles are there and it all comes together nicely.

We also get 2003 Shredder back in all his glory and it was really cool seeing him flick bumbling 80’s Shredder aside. I also liked that Kerai was an important character to the story. Though she was the only background character that had any impact.

April and Casey appear but it’s more of them just making a cameo and having a few random lines thrown in to show us that they are still around. Really just a waste of their characters as I really like the 2003 versions of these characters and wanted to see more of them as well as 80’s April.

The story of all these multi-verses and how they all revolve around the Turtles all works really well and while lets face it, it’s some pretty crazy stuff, the story does an excellent job of building it all up and making it seem realistic for the Turtles at least, even if nowhere near realistic in real life.

When we see all these different dimensions I did like seeing little cameos of things like the live action TMNT and other little Easter Eggs for all the long time fans out there.

We get lots of cameos from characters like Bebop and Rocksteady as well as seeing animated versions of Tokka and Rahzar from the 2nd live action film so there’s really a lot of little goodies for the longtime fans out there to recognize and enjoy in this film and I really loved that they did that.

It all does a great job of building and building and building up to our epic final confrontation in Turtles Prime.

Now the final act in  Turtles Prime is absolutely awesome. For one the fight with Shredder is great, but what really  makes this all so amazing is getting to see the Mirage Turtles in animation form.

Now I haven’t read all the Mirage comics from the early days of the TMNT but what I have read is absolutely awesome. It was all badass and honestly I couldn’t believe that someone took these badass heroes and turned them into the fun loving goofy heroes of my childhood.

The designs of the Mirage Turtles are perfectly taken from the original comic and implanted into animation beautifully. Also we get things like Leo narrating and we even get a few quotes from the original first issue of the comic such as “It seems the Shredder…has been shredded!” which lets face it, cheesy as that was, is still awesome.

This is the part that honestly felt like a love letter to TMNT fans. Every moment and line with the Mirage Turtles was absolutely awesome. They are just so fearless and badass. Taking on a gigantic Shredder, jumping right on his face and not worrying at all, making Shredder of course freak out.

This is all just so awesome and it really is the highlight of the movie and the whole reason you should see it. Even if you never read the Mirage comics or  are familiar with these versions of the Turtles it was awesomeness. So much that I think the Mirage Turltes deserve their own animated series or film.

Of course the ending is a great way to cap off this movie. We have our Turtles go separate ways back to their dimension then the Mirage Turtles contemplate getting a slice of pizza. Then Leo delivers that great line and we fade to seeing the original creators, David Eastman and Peter Laird having finished the comic, going out for pizza and mentioning how they hope the comic sells well.

A brilliant way to end the movie.

Overall I really did enjoy the hell out of this movie. Even if it treated my childhood heroes like they where the little kids version of the Turtles (which they sort of where) I still loved it mostly for that awesome final act.

Longtime fans of the Turtles and young kids can watch this movie together and both can enjoy it even if for different reasons. While you may not like seeing the 80’s Turtles be more or less kids, everything else is golden making for a must see experience.

Now so far there isn’t any DVD announcements but when one comes out you can bet I’ll be picking it up. If you haven’t seen this movie definitely check it out as it’s greatness for TMNT fans of all ages.

Score: 8 Turtles out of 10 


DaemonCorps said...

Totally agree with you about the portrayal of the '80s turtles. While they were goofy, they were still fearless enough to take on the forces of evil. The way they were in the movie, though, was really more of a parody of them than anything else. I mean, the scene with '80s April is proof enough of that. But if you really think about it, most fans of the '80s series were more than likely not that hardcore about the show now and only remember the goofier side of the turtles, which the movie does do a good job of.

Bah, so many other opinions on the movie... I guess you gotta write up my own review of it![/shamelessplug]

Andrenn said...

@Daemoncorps: It is a little sad since this is probably the last time we'll ever see 80's Cartoon Turtles in anything new.

Though when watching older episodes of the cartoon, it was pretty silly at times.

Anonymous said...

I am really surprised that in every review that I have read about this AWSOME entanglement of TMNT Multiverses that not one single person has refrenced the fact that yes they did include both cartoon forms and the comic book form they also used lines from the original movie form the 80s as well. SPOILER: Ie... When the one true Shredder is talking to Hun after he has been mutated and they are planing their attack on the turtles lair it matches the the lines that are exchanged between the Shredder and Tatsu in the original 80s movie before their raid on the turtles lair. So yes they did do an awsome job of crossing every form of TMNT known to the fans over in this AWSOME movie. So ends an era in the TMNT legacy and what a wonderful send off or hand off how ever you want to look at it it was. Hopefully Nick wont screw up this gift that they have been given that are THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES.

Andrenn said...

@Anonymous: Wow I never noticed that. Nice catch on Shredder line.

Anonymous said...

"Then Leo delivers that great line and we fade to seeing the original creators, David Eastman and Peter Laird having finished the comic, going out for pizza and mentioning how they hope the comic sells well. "

It's KEVIN Eastman, not DAVID. -- PL