Ninja kick the damn rabbit.
Always the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
They are forever.
They are eternal.
They are Legion.
I don’t know how many iterations of the heroes in a half shell the collective pop culture consciousness can absorb, but from my perch, the answer is quite obviously: all of them. All of the iterations.
Geez man, I remember dive-bombing my Donatello action figure from the top of our house deck way back when–and I just turned 40 two weeks ago! Those Turtles have staying power and no matter the generation there appears to a real thirst for the continued chop-socky adventures of gang green.
Here now is yet another version, Nickelodeon’s Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I won’t claim that I’ve been paying studious attention to all the different TMNT series that have popped up over the years–but I have a decent grasp of most of them (having reviewed more than my share).
Where does this installment stand? Well, it’s definitely more bizarre, somewhat darker, a tad more subversive, and loaded with aliens and demons and mutants. Also, April O’Neil is apparently a telekinetic X-Man or something. Together (and with old friend Casey Jones) our heroes unleash their usual wisecracks and martial artistry in service of one outlandish story after another. And the center of it all is a roided-up Shredder, who seems be juicing on the Bane Venom from Batman and Robin.
Despite an upping of amperage in the weirdness department, Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles still feels like a standard-issue TMNT excursion. The personalities are largely the same (save for April who’s been freed of both the yellow jumpsuit and the annoying tendency to contextualize everything in how it would benefit her reporting career) and you’re essentially still seeing everyone smack around cannon fodder and the occasional Bebop and Rocksteady. Shredder is pretty cool here, essentially an insane monster more than a ninja with a grudge.
So, really, more of the same. If you’re a TMNT fanatic and need everything shell, have at it. As far as the prime audience I’d say there’s enough edge here to entertain the higher range of grade schoolers, without it seeming lame. It’s probably a bit heavy-duty for the really little ones though.
The DVD set: two discs, 11 half-hour episodes, and nothing else.