SpoonWielder Reviews the New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Show
Is it everything we hoped for, or are we going to be let down? Find out when you hit the jump.
So I just caught the series premiere of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show. Now before I get into the review, I should say that I am a die-hard TMNT fan. And I had a lot of trepidation going into this show. I first got into TMNT by watching the movie, which I found out later was the perfect blend between the original comics and the first cartoon show. So I’ve always thought of that style being the quintessential TMNT formula. So seeing previews for this show, I thought they had dumbed it down way too much for a new generation. I hated most of the changes they made. Like adding a third toe. Seriously!?! Come on! But I digress. I watched this show out of obligation to my fanhood, and honestly I was really surprised by it. I really love this new show.
So I’m gonna break it down and tell you why. Here goes;
Before I saw the show, I hated the animation style. And that’s coming from an animation student. It is visually jarring, and I felt that the style in which they were designed probably looked much better as a 2-D image then it does in the 3-D character models. But after watching the show, the animation style fits with the tone and the writing of the show perfectly. The amount of humor and fun that happens in this show goes hand and hand with the style. There are a lot of anime techniques used, which I’m not always a fan of. But I do like that each turtle is their own character. And not carbon copies of each other with a different color scheme. If I was to see a black and white picture of the group and they didn’t have their weapons, I could tell you which one is which. Which I really like. And never understood why they haven’t done that until now. The other characters are pretty cool, not too much to say. Shredder looks good, considering the style, same with April and the Utroms. The only character I didn’t like the design of was Splinter. I always compared Splinter to Yoda in my head, so I expect him to be this old decrepit rat, that really surprises you when he beats you down. Whereas this Splinter looks like a well-built martial artist. All in all the animation style does work, you just have to see it in action.
The show itself is laced with all kinds of humor. Slap-stick and one liners being the most prevalent. With the occasional sight gag. Being in my twenties I can honestly say that I was laughing out loud at times, and that jokes very rarely fall flat. What I also liked most about this show, is that each character gets their moment. I’ve always hated how in other shows how Michelangelo is the only funny one. In this one, Mikey is definitely the funniest of the group, but again every one of them gets their own jokes sprinkled throughout. And what’s more is their jokes are true to their character. Which leads me to my next point...
I’ll be the first to admit that the Ninja Turtle characters have never been overly complex. Each individual turtle following a specific archetype and didn’t stray far from it. That being said, the characters themselves in this show, are very well written. Every character stays true to what was already established. At no point did I ever think to myself, ‘Raph wouldn’t say that’ or ‘What’s Leo doing? That’s what Mikey would do!’. Again not hard to do. But the writers of this show actually added a new flavor, that I’ve actually been waiting for, for a long time. The turtles actually act like teenagers! In every other adaption that I’ve seen of the turtles they have been dark and brooding. With the exception of the original cartoon. But they really didn’t act like teenagers there either. In this show, they all have naivety, fun-loving attitudes, which works well for them. They also feel like brothers. Which we’ve had in most adaptions, but I felt I should mention it, as it’s particularly strong in this show.
I was a little skeptical at first when they announced the cast of the show way back when. Jason Biggs and Sean Astin were the two I think everyone was scratching their heads at. But everyone did fairly well. The story didn’t really call for some heavy acting, so when it comes down to it, the question I asked was; does it sound right? And yeah it did. Every turtle sounds basically what you imagine them to sound like in your head. They even raised their voices a half-octave to give them the ‘not quite mature yet’ sound. It’s a little weird to hear the original Raphael’s voice coming out of Donatello’s mouth. But I honestly think it sounds better that way. All of the side characters were well done too. Not much else to say.
The story itself was pretty basic, if you’re a TMNT fan you’ve seen it all before. The turtles after hearing their origin go up to the surface for the first time, where they get sucked into an adventure. Not that complicated, but it was paced well, and I never felt bored while watching it. As I’ve said, we’ve seen it before, but again it’s the very first episode, you kind of have to have the origin story there. So it’s forgivable. Fans of the original cartoon will be happy to know, that the ooze seems to act more like mutagen, and mutates people from the last animal you touched. So once again Splinter was a man who turned into a rat. And not just a mutated rat.
Honestly I was really surprised by this. I went in expecting not to like it and I came out loving it. The writing was really well done. And I’m excited to see how this series progresses. The animation style can be jarring, but you forget about it quite quickly, as it blends in quite nicely with the atmosphere of the show. The only real problem I had with it, is that some of the slap-sticky sound effects can get to be a little much at times. But that’s a minor grievance. I definitely recommend this if you’re a TMNT fan, or if you just like cartoons. It’s strong enough to stand on its own without the nostalgia factor. I give it;
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is on Nickelodeon every Saturday at 11:00am
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