Property review: TMNT Vol. 1 (1987 animated series)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Tur­tles Vol. 1

Lion­s­gate Home Enter­tain­ment, 2004

Tur­tles fight bare bones DVD

True chil­dren of the ‘80s will tell you that one of the things imprinted in their mem­ory is what they watched on tele­vi­sion. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Tur­tles were impor­tant then, and chil­dren soaked it up. So, imag­ine GI’s sur­prise when the DVDs were finally released for pub­lic con­sump­tion. Span­ning nine sea­sons, some of the most impor­tant estab­lish­ing mate­r­ial is found in the first sea­son, and the DVDs pro­vide a look at the open­ing five-part minis­eries that launched the show. But, if you’re look­ing for a qual­ity intro­duc­tion to the Tur­tles, keep look­ing because this ver­sion isn’t all that great.

Photo cour­tesy of Amazon.com

The qual­ity of the pre­sen­ta­tion is ter­ri­ble for starters. While it’s obvi­ous this is a show from the ‘80s and broad­cast qual­ity isn’t going to be as good as say 2004, when the disc was released, it still should be bet­ter than what’s here. Then, add in quite a few graph­i­cal errors, a lack of extras on the disc and the con­fus­ing inclu­sion of sev­eral episodes from the 10th and final sea­son and you have a poor mess of a DVD.

Great voice act­ing and a killer sound­track help, though. It’s some­thing when a series can draw you in because of its sound­track and per­fect cast­ing, and the first sea­son of the show man­aged that greatly. Prac­ti­cally speak­ing, the first season’s mer­its save the DVD from most of its neg­a­tive traits.

And, we can get around it all because it’s the Tur­tles, and hav­ing the series on DVD greatly increases the amount of prob­lems we’re will­ing to put up with just to have the series in our col­lec­tion. We can’t com­plain that much as chil­dren of the ‘80s and as super­fans of the series. We just wish the qual­ity was a lit­tle bet­ter and some of the behind-the-scenes mate­r­ial had been added here. That would be have tubu­larly awesome.

Plot: 8

Like the comics: 3

Cast­ing: 10

Total score: 21 out of 30 or 7

What to watch

The five episodes here are the five-part minis­eries that intro­duced the Tur­tles in ani­mated television.

1. Tur­tle Tracks: The intro­duc­tion and ori­gin story of the Tur­tles. Keep in mind that this ori­gin story greatly dif­fers from the comics and film.

2. Enter the Shred­der: The intro­duc­tion of Krang and Shred­der, and also the cre­ation of Rock­steady and Bebop.

3. A Thing About Rats: Bax­ter Stock­man is intro­duced and joins with Shredder.

4. Hot Rod­ding Teenagers from Dimen­sion X: Krang’s par­tial back­story is given and Dimen­sion X is named. Michae­lan­gelo gains a love interest.

5. Shred­ded and Splin­tered: Shred­der and Splin­ter switch bod­ies, and Splinter’s bond with Tur­tles is fleshed out.

HOW WE GRADE

We score the prop­er­ties in three cat­e­gories: Cast­ing (or voice act­ing in cases of ani­mated), plot and sim­i­lar­i­ties to its source mate­r­ial. Each cat­e­gory receives points out of the max­i­mum of 10 and 30 overall.

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