Sunday, December 20, 2009

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever Review

Oh man, talk about nostalgia! What child of the '80's didn't watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Like most other kids my age, I was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles freak and couldn't get enough of it. Flash forward to today and of course I'm an adult (in theory), and so are the generation of kids whom watched the same crap I did. And now that we're all responsible and mature... ... ... um, yeah, well anyway our franchises and media has grown along with us. But, what happens when the past and present collide? You get the made-for-TV movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever, of course!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever originally aired over a month ago, though unless it gets pulled down after this typing, you can watch the whole 77 minute feature courtesy of YouTube here. In the film, it seems the retro '80's turtles have had another battle in the Technodrome, but things went wrong with the teleporter and the whole gang, bad guys and all, were zapped into the modern day Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series. For those who haven't watched the new animated series, like me, it's a much more mature take on the turtles hearkening back more to the original comic roots, so these turtles are more serious, violent, and Raph's a jerk. While watching TV, 2003 Splinter caught a news broadcast that the Turtles had been seen battling the Purple Dragons and when he discovers it's not his boys, the Green Team heads out to find what's going on, and of course, they meet up with their goofy '80's counterparts.

Now, I remember the '80's series very well and while it certainly was child friendly, and thus the turtles were more silly and lighthearted, they weren't as dumb as they are portrayed in this film. Keeping that in mind, however, it certainly works to highlight the contrast here between the present day and past day turtles. To the 2003 turtles, their '87 counterparts are pizza-eating, lame joke cracking buffoons, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever wastes no opportunity to make fun of the stupid gimmicks found from yester-year. One of my favourite scenes is when the 8 turtles end up in the '80's dimension, and before they do anything else, they have to save April. 'Cause as '80's Donatello mentions with joy, they save April at least once a day! And they do save her. From giant mutant food monsters. Oh, how hilariously lame! Moments like these had me laughing out loud in disbelief.

Of course the usual assortment of bad guys are here. Shredder, Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteay along with the robot Foot Soldiers from the '80's, and the Shredder, Han, Karai, and the Purple Dragons from the modern series. Tokka and Razor also make an appearance as well, and there's some other interesting technology crossings that happen. The '80's Shredder and co, like the '80's turtles, are idiots and as 2003 Raph points out, their modern day Shredder is, well, competent. And it's true, he makes an excellent villain, very tough, very violent, and it's fitting that he's the one to really call the shots.

Perhaps the coolest thing of all in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever is the final crossover that actually happens with the original 1984 comic turtles, the original black and white turtles. Dark, grim, and totally bad ass, these turtles make the 2003 animated turtles look like sissy's. In fact I liked those turtles so much, I'd be interested in finding the original comics to check them out, though I doubt I'd have much luck, at least of finding them at a reasonable cost.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever is just fun, plain and simple. It's mature, it's campy, and it's purely entertaining no matter how you look at it. If you're a fan of the franchise in any way, just watch the movie already. You'll love the tongue-in-cheek, you'll love the fights, and you'll love the contrasts of animation styles. The biggest let down, however, is the lack of the '80's original voice actors, but even so, the core feeling is intact, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever is filled with enough Turtle Power to appease anyone.

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