Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enter Shredder is another solid collection of episodes that fans won’t want to miss out on.
Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series has quickly become a huge success. It debuted in September of 2012 and has already been renewed for a second and third season, before its first season has even finished airing. This is hardly surprising, since Nick revealed in a press release that the series premiere garnered more viewers than any of their shows had since 2009 (12 million). I’ve got to say I’m quite happy for the series and the network, as TMNT is a fantastic show that deserves recognition. Following up on their release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise Of The Turtles (review here), Nick has released Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enter Shredder, another very solid collection of episodes.
It’s quite obvious that the creators of Nick’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a fondness for the source material. The show features plenty of callbacks to the 1987 original series while simultaneously keeping things fresh for a modern audience. Even the title of this DVD is a reference to the second episode of the 1987 series, Enter The Shredder, while “It Came From The Depths” references another. There are some significant liberties taken with the canon though, such as April and Karai being de-aged to around 16 years old, as well as Krang no longer being a singular villain, but rather a race of enemy aliens known as The Kraang.
The Turtles’ personalities are thankfully left intact; Leo is still the strong, stoic leader, Raph is the hot-tempered muscle, Mikey is the comic relief little brother and Donnie is the brains of the operation. While the blocky CGI animation style may be a turn-off to some, it definitely grows on you, and the use of other artistic elements such as matte-painted backgrounds, comic-style storyboard flashbacks as well as subtle anime quirks make for a well-rounded visual presentation.
The seven episodes included on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enter Shredder are all varied and quite entertaining. The show does a great job of juggling humor, action, and storytelling, while focusing on only one or two characters per episode. “Never Say Xever” focuses on the trials and tribulations of leadership, as well as the idea of showing mercy on defeated opponents. It features some great combat sequences, which are fluidly animated and well-choreographed – and best of all, the Turtles aren’t afraid to use their weapons.
In “The Gauntlet”, Shredder finally goes toe-to-toe with the Turtles, who up to that point had become a bit overconfident in their abilities. Facing Shredder definitely gives them some perspective, and this episode really ups the drama as now the Turtles’ most fearsome enemy knows where they live. I’m really happy that the show’s creators have stayed true to the classic look of Shredder, and Kevin Michael Richardson absolutely nails the voice. The Turtles’ battles with Shredder are definitely among the best the show has had to offer thus far.
Another really strong episode is “New Girl in Town”, featuring Shredder’s daughter Karai. Her rebellious, fun-loving attitude was a great mirror to Leonardo’s sternness and sense of duty, and the playful banter between them was entertaining. Leo seems to think there’s some good inside her, and she does save his life a few times, so it’ll be interesting to see how this arc plays out. She could easily be luring him into a trap, or maybe she simply likes toying with him.
Strangely, the packaging lists the show as being presented in Full Screen, when it’s actually shown in 1.78:1 animorphic widescreen. Overall, for a standard-definition release, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enter Shredder looks fantastic, with strong blacks, vibrant colors and only a few instances of color banding. The Dolby 5.1 Surround mix is solid, and all of the dialogue is well-recorded and always clear, even when the soundtrack and atmospheric noises come in heavy.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enter Shredder only has a few extras on the disk, similar to the first DVD release. There’s only one “Making Of” Animatic this time, showing the episodes’ evolution from storyboard to rough draft to completed CGI. There are two animated comic books though, “Tales From The Lair” parts One and Two. Once again it seems as though all of the good extras are being saved for the eventual Blu Ray release of the full season. At least this release has one more episode than the last DVD.
The DVD comes in a clear case with an embossed sleeve. A collectible poster is inside, alongside a character sleeve for Donatello, including a biography. I’m assuming that there will be a different Turtle featured inside the case for each of Season One’s DVD releases, as Rise of the Turtles featured Leonardo.
Similar to Nick’s new Avatar series The Legend Of Korra (I’m currently watching the Book One: Air Blu Ray and will have a review up soon), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an excellent show that people of all ages can enjoy. There’s plenty of juvenile humor, but there’s also plenty of great character development, dialogue, and truly kick-ass action sequences. Every episode even has a strong moral to the story with some sage advice from the wise Master Splinter. Overall, this is an extremely entertaining series for old-school Turtles fans and newcomers alike, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enter Shredder is another solid collection of episodes.