Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Collection / Cert: PG / Director: Steve Barron, Michael Pressman / Screenplay: Various / Starring: Judith Hoag, Elias Koteas, Corey Feldman / Release Date: October 28th
Given the popularity of the Turtles in the late '80s/early '90s, it’s incredible to think that the first Ninja Turtles movie was independently made, with no major studio behind it. The film itself is actually quite a dark affair in comparison to the animated series, straddling the line between the cartoon and the original comics without fully being able to truly satisfy the fans of either.
That’s not to criticise the film, it’s its own thing and is largely a success on those terms. First – and most importantly – the Turtles themselves look fantastic and most of the time you forget that they are actually a bunch of performers in suits. The problem with them is that, with the exception of Raphael, there is very little about their characters to tell them apart.
Yes, the film is a little hokey in places and most of the dialogue is quite heavy-handed at times, but it has a charm that makes it an enjoyable blast from the past, one that (unlike many things you loved as a kid) actually holds up well.
Turtle Mania ensured that the first film was a success (it was the highest-grossing independent movie for a long time), so a sequel was a certainty, and in 1991 Secret of the Ooze was released. Most of the cast changed for this outing – most notably Paige Turco taking over from Judith Hoag as April O’Neil – and in response to complaints from parents regarding the tone of the first film, Ooze tilts its tone more toward a younger audience, with varying results.
As such, the Turtles no longer use their weapons when fighting, instead employing whatever object is close to hand that most resembles the weapon they are carrying on their shells. While this adds some extra comedy slapstick to their fights, most of it will leave anyone over the age of ten cold. It’s an enjoyable enough film, but lacks the charm of the first one.
Rounding out the set is the third in the series and it’s safe to say that it’s the weakest of the Turtles films to date. It’s actually has a pretty interesting story idea and sees the return of Elias Koteas as Casey Jones, but the whole thing just looks cheap in comparison to the first two.
The Blu-ray transfer is pretty good for the most part, although it probably isn’t much better than an upscaled DVD version of the film. The set could’ve done with some descent retrospective documentaries on the making of the films and Turtle Mania in general. Instead all you get is a short featurette (made for Ooze), some trailers and galleries.
Extras: 30-min “making of” featurette / Promotional Trailers / Stills gallery