Follow us on

Featured TV on DVD Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever

August 20th, 2010

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever - Buy from Amazon

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started as a comic book way back in May of 1984. This comic book has spawned three TV series, three live action movies, an animated movie, and of course enough toys to fill a museum. Turtles Forever is a TV movie made to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the creation of the TMNT franchise, and as a way to wrap up the 2003 animated series. So how well does it accomplish these two tasks.

The Show

The film starts in the Turtles lair under the city, with Splinter seeing a report on the news about turtle-like people attacking a group of thieves. Splinter admonishes the Turtles for being careless enough to be caught on film. But when they protest and say they haven't left the sewers all night, it is decided that they need to investigate. Footage shows these "Turtles" were fighting the Purple Dragon gang, so it is off to Purple Dragon Headquarters to find out what is happening.

We as the audience arrive before the Turtles do to find out the Purple Dragons have captured... the Turtles. Not the Turtles kids of today would recognize, but the Turtles from the original 1987 cartoon. The leader of the Purple Dragons, Hun, is trying to interrogate the 1987 Turtles, but their wacky nature is making it very difficult to get any answers. (Plus they are more concerned with breaking the fourth wall than any threats of violence.) Before Hun gets too frustrated, the 2003 Turtles break into the Headquarters and discover the existence of their predecessors. One rescue and a quick bit of exposition later and we find out what happened.

In a previous battle with Shredder aboard the Technodrome, the 1987 Turtles somehow caused the machine to travel between dimensions. They left the goofy cartoony world they are used to and arrived in the more serious world of the 2003 Turtles. However, this means the Technodrome is also in this dimension, along with Shredder and Kang.

Meanwhile, Shredder is trying to get the Technodrome back up and running when he learns where he is. The existence of two sets of Turtles gives Shredder an idea. If there are different Turtles in this dimension, maybe there is a different Shredder as well. A Shredder that will be a better ally than Kang, Bebop, and Rocksteady. He's partially right. There is a Shredder in this dimension and he would make a much better ally than the trio of idiots he usually works with, except for one minor problem. The 2003 Shredder recognizes the 1987 Shredder for what he is, an idiot. Instead of teaming up with the 1987 Shredder, he decides to use the Dimension X technology to help rid himself of the Turtles. All of the Turtles from across all of the dimensions.

Now both sets of Turtles must team up, along with few other allies, to help destroy the biggest threat they've ever faced.

This TV movie has to be judged under two criteria. Firstly, how well does it work as a stand-alone movie. Secondly, how well does it work as an anniversary special. I think it works better in the second area than the first, but fans of the franchise should be more than happy with the overall effort.

First of all, the franchise crossover is a very fun idea, as the 1987 Turtles and the 2003 Turtles have a very different tone to them. (It does make talking about the movie a little harder, as differentiating between all of the characters can get confusing.) Seeing the various franchises react to their counterparts is half of the fun. (At one point, the 2003 Turtles warn the 1987 Turtles that they should not underestimate the 2003 Shredder based on the Shredder they normally face. "He's vicious." "Lethal." "Competent!" Or when Hun finally snaps at the 1987 Turtles for breaking the fourth wall. It's like combining the Adam West-era and the Christain Bale-era Batmans in one movie.

On the other hand, this does cause the movie to be less accessible to some. As someone who stopped watching TMNT around the same time The Secret of the Ooze came out, there were a few points while watching where I thought to myself, "I probably would appreciate this part more if I were more familiar with the newer incarnation of the TMNT." Other times I thought the differences were a little overplayed. I don't remember the 1987 versions being quite that goofy (like the mutant Ice Cream Cone) but again I was more of a casual fan even back then.

If you have been a fan for 25 years, it is worth checking out.

The Extras

Unfortunately, there are no extras on the DVD. Not only that, this is the shorter 72-minute version of the movie and not the full 80-minute version. I understand the movie had to be cut to fit the 90-minute time slot (That's 72 minutes of movie plus 18 minutes of commercials.) but why didn't they release the full movie on DVD? Finally, it's non-anamorphic widescreen; again, I have no idea why they would do this.

The Verdict

Simply put, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever is a great movie for fans of the franchise and the longer you've been following the exploits of these heroes in a half-shell, the more you should appreciate the film. On the other hand, the DVD is terrible for a number of reasons: no extras, edited version, non-anamorphic widescreen. That adds up to a rental and a missed opportunity to give the cartoon a proper send-off.

- Submitted by:

Filed under: Video Review