Ror Reviews: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES - "Rise Of The Turtles"
Nickelodeon aired the opening 2 eps of their new TMNT cartoon over the weekend, and high ratings have already ensured a second season. Early footage left many cold, but how did the latest animated outing for the "heroes in a half-shell" go down with this lifelong fan?..
When I was a kid, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a bit of an obsession. Action figures, duvet covers, lunch boxes..you name it. The original cartoon ignited my interest, but even as I got a bit older the various comics/movies/animated series based on the characters provided a slightly edgier take in some cases, and my so it continued - I remain a big fan, even if I've grown out of the Raphael pajamas.
So when this new Nickelodeon cartoon was announced and we got a look at some footage, I was interested to see what they'd deliver , but didn't really have high hopes that it would be anything I'd be too invested in. The Turtles are, after all, primarily aimed at kids, and the show looked fine for something to attract a new generation of fans, but to me this just looked a bit TOO childish for me to find appealing. However, as we know, the best children's entertainment can also be enjoyed by adults, and I'm very happy to report that this new TMNT series is a very pleasant surprise.
The tale told in these first two episodes doesn't really stick to any established canon, and instead is a bit of a mishmash. There are "The Krangs" instead of Krang, April O'Neil is a teenager, no Casey Jones etc - but in most respects everything is familiar enough. Mikey, Doin, Raph and Leo - brought to life brilliantly by the voice cast - all have their usual character traits and origins present and correct, and there is some great, at times genuinely funny, banter between them. The opening story - which sees the foursome travel to the world above for the first time and get wrapped up in a kidnapping - is nothing to write home about, but the plot thicken by the end when Shredder appears, so hopefully things will pick up.
The animation takes a bit of getting used to though, and after two episodes I'm not sure I'm a huge fan. At times it looks great, then others just a tad too obviously computer animated - give me hand drawn any day. Still, for the most part it works, and like I said, I reckon after another few episodes it will be something most will come around to.
Very funny, well written, and engaging. Those hoping for a slightly grittier take on the heroes in a half-shell will obviously be disappointed (although on Nickelodeon, what were you expecting anyway?), but I think only the most nit-picky fan won't find something to enjoy, and it is definitely a great way to introduce the youngsters to these great characters. Bring on episode 3.
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