17 February 2015

TV DVD Review: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (1987): Volume Two

Rated: "For Ages 5 And Up" (manufacturer's advisory)
Starring: Cam Clarke, Townsend Coleman, and Renae Jacobs
Released: October - December 1988 (TV premieres) / April 26, 2005 (DVD)
Synopsis: The heroes in a half-shell are back in action in this second season of their old-school Saturday morning cartoon! The evil Shredder will stop at nothing to wreak havoc in New York City, and it's up to Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael, along with their allies--rodent sensei Splinter and local TV reporter April O'Neill--to stop him! In this DVD set, Shredder discovers powerful alien technology, Splinter becomes human again, and April's DNA gets transmutated with a cat's! Will the Turtles finally be able to stop Shredder once and for all?

The Good: A DVD set of the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon was what woke me up to superhero cartoons in general, so, of course, I would enjoy something like this.  I enjoyed the comedy and the action; in fact, the finale kept me on the edge of my seat.  The voice work is very well-done, as was the closed captioning.  The animation had some great moments, but...

The Bad: It could have been a bit better; I even noticed some discoloration in the last episode.  Also, the video quality suffers a bit because the makers put thirteen episodes on one disc.  Still, those are about the only complaints I have.

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: Innocent romance (i.e., flirting).  One of the Turtles dresses up as a woman in order to thwart an enemy. 4/5
  • Nudity: Cleavage; a guy in nothing but underwear. 4/5
  • Language: No actual profanity, though there was name-calling (e.g., "moron" or "fool") and occasional usage of euphemisms ("gosh," "let's haul shell!") 4/5
  • Violence: Action violence abounds in every episode.  The Turtles, the bad guys, and others hit, kick, punch, throw, etc. each other quite frequently.  Most of the fights are non-fatal, though the finale ends with the presumed death of at least one character.  There are also some comedic pratfalls. 2/5
  • Drugs: Substances cause transformations. 4/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: Some of the enemies can be a bit scary.  The events of the finale put Splinter's life in danger.  (Spoiler: He makes it out just in time.) 4/5
  • Other: A bit of gross-out humor (for example, burping). 4/5
Conclusion: Despite its flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed this second volume of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.  After the events of the finale, I can't wait to see where the story goes from here.  It may not be perfect, but, it harkens back to a time when entertainment was about more than just lush visuals.  If you were disappointed with last year's TMNT movie, check this out to see the Turtles as they were intended to be.

Score: 4/5

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