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"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"
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24 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Shell Yeah!

Author: Nicholai from Minnesota
8 June 2003

The first thing I noticed about this version of TMNT is the fact than none of the heroes in the halfshell had any pupils. To me, no pupils=no souls, just like the characters in that darkened Turtles revamp in the mid-nineties which misstepped and almost spelled the end for the series.

But I sat through a couple of episodes and was came back VERY satisfied with the new version.

I grew up watching the lean, green fighting machines fight a bunch of bumbling and stumbling bad guys, robots, aliens, mutants, oftentimes saving April O'Neill in the nick of times while ending each productive day eating pizza with some gnarly toppings (chocolate chips and anchovies, anyone?) Slapstick humor, groaner puns, and fast-paced action fortified with blood-pumping music was the order of the day, and we all seemed to like it just fine, thanyouverymuch. I still get a kick out of those episodes when I break out the old tapes.

Now, with the original comic book writer Peter Laird providing input, we have a much more serious tone. This time our heroes aren't here to solve Scooby-Doo mysteries and make pizza jokes. This series actually chronicles their day-to-day lives as they live in their underground lair with Master Splinter. The reason they live in the sewers (which should have been obvious) has been really played up this time: they are freaks, monsters. The fact that they are outcasts makes solving various crimes and getting on the six-o-clock news with April O'Neill a pretty difficult thing to accomplish (besides the fact that April is now a former lab assistant and not a news reporter as in the earlier incarnations).

So all their lives the four turtles have been honing their ninjitzu skills under their sensei, when their lives have been turned upside down by the arrival of Shredder, Splinter's arch-nemesis. The other reviewers are right, Bebob and Rocksteady would not have lasted a second under this Shredder. To take him lightly is to dig your own grave. The turtle's struggle to return to their normal lives during their confrontations with Shredder is the running drama binding these new episodes (which helps keep me interested every week since this time I know there will be a climax, instead of hearing "You miserable turtles, I'll get you next time!" after every other unrequited episode in the old series.)

Despite all this, I still would have been bored with this series if the turtles acted as serious as they looked. But to my relief, they retained much of their old personalities of the old series. Leonardo is still the leader, Donatello's still the inventive brain, Raphael is still sarcastic (and this time gruff and tough), and Michaelangelo is, well, you all know Mikey. I do really believe Mike's even more outrageous in this series than in the old one. Because they still retained their personalities, they don't come off as robotic Warriors of Virtue but as "regular" teens who find themselves caught in a bad space of time.

The way the series uses split screens, wide screens, more kick-butt action (screw the Parent Advisory Council!) and took its stories seriously also doesn't hurt the appeal. Add to this the humanity of the characters, and you have yourself a superior product on your hands.

**** out of four stars.

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19 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Second Genesis

10/10
Author: Times_Up from United States
22 September 2006

I always dreamed of the day a cartoon adaption based upon the original books would come, and now that it has I must say I am not disappointed. I want to clear up one major misconception that most seem to hold about this series: this is NOT a revamp. This cartoon has nothing to do with the 80s/90s series (outside of a few jokey references and multi-colored bandannas), it goes back to the original source comics for its stories and inspiration (some influence from the 1st live action film is evident also). That said, it seems, from reading the reviews of those who dislike this show are viewing it in a perspective colored by nostalgia for the old cartoon. While all are entitled to their own opinion, you are missing the point if you believe this to be a "revamp" or "remake" of the old show. It is like being disappointed that the 1992 Batman cartoon was not faithful to the 1968 Filmation produced series. They both share the same original source, but the similarity ends there. They can be forgiven however, b/c most would not except the original show to have ignored the comics as much as it did, hence since this one follows it much more faithfully it looks alien to those only familiar with the 80s/90s show. However, even if you never read the books, I think, if you can view this with an open mind (and stop comparing it to the old show and griping over no Bebop, Krang, etc.) you may like it.

This animated series produced by 4kids (who usually exports anime to the US) takes an opposite approach to the characters of the TMNT comic universe: In the books there existed groupings of characters (a villain, an ally or allies) that were connected in one way or another and appeared in the same stories together with the TMNT with few exceptions. Two villains never even appeared in the same issue if my memory serves correctly, nor did a certain ally help fight a different TMNT villain than they were normally associated with, the groupings were always the same. In this new cartoon we are slowly introduced to a very tight-nit universe where eventually we find nearly everyone connected in some mysterious or shady way and team-ups abound. As such this manages to be both new and unique while being faithful to both the spirit and stories of the 1980s Mirage comics. I loved seeing some of my favorite comics being retold in a new light with twists and surprises and yet still following the stories' outline. The story weaves a long yarn that builds and any loose threads are eventually picked up along the way and woven into the bigger picture. This show does not lay bricks with one wacky isolated adventure after another like the old show.

The personalities are taken from the books but borrow from the more refined and animated (no pun intended) characterizations of the 1st film. Unlike the Fred Wolf series, these turtles are real ninjas and strike out of, and fade into the shadows. Not fighting in broad daylight like they did constantly in the former. At the core of this series is the values and virtues of the family unit: brotherhood and father-son relationships, just like the original books. A fan like myself couldn't have been more pleased.

The TMNTs and co. are big, lean and muscular and actually look they could possibly perform the feats we see on screen, unlike the previous series' inflatable-looking puff-balls. The artwork is very cool, slightly reminiscent of Jim Lawson's work IMO (one of the most enduring of the turtles' artists), but is mostly unique within itself while still borrowing from anime (like the 1st series, or at least it's 1st season) as has been typical for US cartoons for nearly 20 years. The coloring is the art's best attribute. Beautiful blend of light and dark, with just enough of that omni-present cartoon lighting in the shadows when they want the viewer to see what the characters can't. The bright and vibrant contrasting with the dark brings a new dimension to the turtles not seen before, since the comics were almost always in black and white and the old cartoon was not as creative artistically.

Final verdict: this is one of the, if not the, best cartoon on TV now, as far as continuous story and character building. It is currently on the back burner to introduce a sillier more child-friendly future oriented spin-off titled "Fast Forward." Hopefully this show will return in time. For now, all you newbies can play catch-up.

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

The true TMNT cartoon

9/10
Author: Zackery Burgess from United States
3 August 2011

I love the teenage mutant ninja turtles. This is the cartoon that got me into the turtles. Now before we start I like the 1987 version of the turtles. They were a lot of fun especially in Season 1,2,3,6, and 7. But it seems outdated by today's standards. Now this series is based off the Mirage comics and does them justice. Most of the episodes are based stories from the comics and also show characters from them as well, while adding some new characters. While this show is based off the Mirage comics, the show has things from the 1987 cartoon such as the multi color headbands.

While the fans of the 1987 cartoon say that this show is not like the 1987 cartoon. I got news for them. It's not suppose to. I say the same thing to the fans of Batman: the Animated Series. It's suppose to be different. Imagine if every cartoon remake had the same formula as the original. It would be boring. And you couldn't tell the difference. Now on to the review. The show has good character development, stories and animation. I would say this is the best TMNT cartoon to date.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

WOW!!!!!!!

Author: wolfmano from enfield ct
21 May 2003

I just have to say one thing WOW!!!!!!! When I heard they were bringing back the turtles i was expecting a show very much like the show i grew up watching, insted what i got was something i never expected, insted of the chessy jokes and endless pizza refrences I saw a half hour of butt kicking, turtle excitement. Based more on the comic book then the original this new series is darker and more action oriented then the original. With the shredder who is totally evil and doesn't tolerate failure. and deals out a harsh punishment to whomever fails him. Case in point with Dr. Baxter Stockman whom has his left eye taken out when his mouser robots fail in there duties. The style of animation is reminnesent of "Batman Beyond" and it's action is unmatched, no other show has it's delightfull mix of action and comedy, but it's not totaly unlike it's predecessor, mikey is still as goofy as ever, leo is still the leader, donny is still the smart one, raph is- well raph is raph, and splinter is the calm soul who holds the group together. so i suggest if your a child of the 80's like me and are one with your inner child check it out Saturday mornings on the fox box check your local listings for time and channel.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

The Greatest TMNT Series EVER!!

Author: nickdesigns from United States
24 April 2005

I will have to say that while I love the OS, this new one is far superior. The best part of the show is the story lines. By being closer to the original comic book, you can expect to see great episodes packed with the kind of action the OS never delivered. You can also expect to see episodes based on ones for the old comics.

The characters are also better represented. Not only are they off that whole pizza obsession thing, but they're also very hardcore(while still being humorous). Leo is still the dedicated leader, Don is still the brains, Mikey is still the lovable goof, and now, Raph is the hot-headed angry turtles that he was in the comics. But not just the turtles, April, Splinter, Casey, Leatherhead, Baxter Stockman, and of course The Shredder have also been improved and made closer to they're comics selves. And creating great new characters like Traximus, Ultimate Ninja, Draco, and Agent Bishop just adds to the greatness. Plus, we get to see characters from the old comic be introduced for the first time like Renet and Karai.

The animation has greatly improved, adding a dark tone to the series, and the music really fits the tone. And even the voice acting has improved. The only thing wrong with the series is the theme song, but that's a minor detail.

With co-creator Peter Laird working closely with the show, it has gone far beyond all the other TMNT shows and has now become the best cartoon intended for kids on t.v. today. I give the series an 11 out of 10, it's that good.

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A true classic revived

Author: Emphinix from New York City
16 November 2004

I'm so happy to see these cartoons again and as anime, when I was 5 years old I used to watch it every morning before school. I loved those cartoons, I even had many toys of them and my cousin had those toys too, I never forget the classic.

Leonardo: This is my favorite turtle because he's the leader and he fights with swords, and in the episode where he is attacked by Shredder during a training, it's very similar like in the first movie

Raphael: He always has a high temper and he is easily angered sometimes by Leo because of giving too much orders

Michaelangelo: He's the funniest of the team and he lives and loves to party, specially when it comes to eating too much pizza.

Donatello: The genius of the team, he makes me laugh a lot when his experiments and other inventions blow up when they fail.

Shredder (a.k.a Orouku Saki): The worst enemy of the turtles and Splinter, it is known that he killed Splinter's master Yoshi many years ago when they lived in Japan.

This show makes the classic live forever in the minds of Die-Hard fans like me, I will always like this true classic.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The one to beat, and it owes nothing to D.C. or Marvel.

10/10
Author: alanrayford from Detroit, Michigan
13 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I think "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" is, as of this post's date, the best action-animated series to have hit the air. While I'm obviously not talking about the 1980's version, let me get even more specific. "Fast Forward" was crap. "Back to the Sewers" stank. These two stand as a cautionary tale of what happens when merchandising sets the pace. However, Mirage Studio's 2003—2006 series took the bar set by Batman TAS and raised it.

The character designs nailed it. The turtles looked like anthromorphic turtles. They were squat, stocky in build and their shells gave them a major hump. So when up against any of their adversaries or standing among any of their allies, they always managed to stick out. I also liked how Leo, Mikey, Don and Raph were all different hues of green, enabling them to each appear distinct even when out of mask. Not trying to sound offensive, but Splinter's design really helped the soul of a sage, Japanese man, of great skill, shine through the rodent exterior. April O'Neil looked like an actual woman, contrary to her previous incarnation. Casey Jones looked like a regular guy, albeit with a huge chip on his shoulder, instead of Jason Voorhees with Wolverine hair. The Foot Soldiers looked like ninja foot soldiers instead of robots. Hun looked like a criminal powerhouse. Baxter Stockman seemed more like an actual scientist than a caricature of one (at least until he started failing Saki). And as for the Shredder, he looked like the ninja equivalent of the Terminator or Predator—a good look for the main bad guy. As Oroku Saki, out of the armor (so to speak), he may have been smaller in size, but appeared nonetheless dangerous. From Draco the Ultimate Ninja to Nobody, all of the various guest characters were also visually distinctive enough to not just hold their own against the regulars, but nearly warrant their own spin off series.

The action scenes left the ones of Batman TAS in the dust. Even though Leo and Raph wield edged weaponry, no one was ever maimed or killed. The really impressive thing is it never once seemed cheesy. Basically, the turtles with blades used them to parry attacks, and used kicks to fight back—not bad. When blows were landed, they appeared to have a realistic weight to them. Last, but not least, each of the combatants featured was highly skilled, so the choreography was intense, complex and satisfying. Watching Leonardo desperately fight off a small contingent of Foot Ninja and Hun, while running ragged across the rooftops, was hardcore stuff. When the turtles staged an assault on the Foot's H.Q., I was on the edge of my seat more than I've ever been with anything put out by the W.B.

The animation was very well done. It was always smooth and fluid. Everything was deceptively detailed and shaded to perfection. Nor was there ever any recycled imagery used. Due to this, the scenes centered on character development were never less visually arresting than the above mentioned action scenes.

The voice acting was tops. Since TMNT has so many fleshed out characters, I'll just deal with the five leads. Leonardo (Michael Sinterniklaas) sounded balanced and highly focused at all times. Michelangelo (Wayne Grayson) remained the unmistakable comic relief. Donatello (Sam Riegel) came off as being peaceful and cerebral. Raphael (Gregory Abbey) always ranged between surly and sarcastic. Splinter's (Darren Dunstan) voice rang true as that of an old warrior who'd found inner peace, but was not above, on occasion, being somewhat angered by his adoptive children.

And then there's the writing. Every episode led into the next. Every storyline flowed into the next one. So this was basically a 116 installment serial, which rocks out. Every single main character and most of the recurring ones were explored as much as they could be without things getting redundant. The turtles went from being strangers to the world, to being urban heroes and, finally, to global champions. Casey Jones and April O'Neil went from being combative around each other, to being a confused about how they felt and then becoming a real item that had nothing to hide. As for the recurring characters, there's Nano. He popped up five times throughout the 116 episode run. Each appearance saw him gradually shift from being a villain, with the mindset of a child, to a hero who'd finally come of age. None of these changes ever felt rushed. They all felt natural, like gravity.

But there were a few thorns to be had. A handful of the Agent Bishop episodes (with the turtles hunting down the carriers of an alien virus) strayed to far from the show's central concept. The true series finale, which saw the turtles morph into dragons to fight the true, demonic Shredder, was a head shaking misstep. I can't help but think them using enchanted weaponry would've made more sense. Perhaps the biggest problem is that TMNT has never seen a proper, season by season DVD release and probably never will. This being the largest mistake made by Mirage Studios says a lot about their series' overall quality.

In summary, the character design is 100/100. The action is 100/100. The animation is 100/100. The acting is 100/100. The writing is 105/100. Add to this an uncommonly high episode count of 116 (the original, 1992-1995 run of Batman TAS concluded at 85), and I do believe "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" is the one to beat. It's the exact kind of show other production teams dream of creating, but have yet to pull off. Although, I have to say, it would sure be nice were it released on DVD in a more affordable and convenient manner for us fans who're old enough to have read the original black and whites and the TPB's put out by First.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Turtle Power for a new generation

7/10
Author: simonc1138 from Toronto, Canada
22 September 2006

The 2003 series is an above-average revamp of the Ninja Turtles concept. Many story lines are adapted directly from the original comics now, and the overall tone is much darker and grittier than the classic 80s series (though its still light-hearted enough to qualify as Saturday morning fare). The series also has lots of continuity and plot development for fans to chew on, so you won't be getting Shredder hatching the same tired scheme every episode.

It's not a perfect series, mainly because 4Kids is the financial backer. The show gets away with quite a bit more than you'd expect from seeing 4Kids' other productions, but every so often an episode suffers as censorship kicks in and chafes a potentially stronger story. Like other 4Kids shows the voice talent is drawn from an extremely small pool, so acting ranges from pretty good (the main cast) to downright poor (walk-on characters). And on the creative end, the scripts and dialogue feel like they could use another pass in the writers room to get rid of the clichés and add more depth.

TMNT 2003 is pretty much "Justice League" if the classic 80s series is Superfriends, only it's not quite as sophisticated. But that's okay, the Turtles were always different from other superheroes. Some fans will infinitely prefer the classic series as its the one they grew up with, but for anyone interested in seeing how Turtle power has translated to a new generation of fans, this show is worth checking out.

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

The new TMNT series is amazing except for one thing.

Author: nadir_k04 from Sydney, Australia
29 June 2004

That one thing is Shredder, he never dies, it's really annoying having to see him keep coming back over & over again, otherwise the cartoon is really good, after watching this new series i watched a few episodes from the early 90's, they seem so childish now, the turtles were drawn like little 8 year old boys or something with round faces. I guess thats just how it is, this new series will probably look a little childish in another 15 years or so after they remake the turtles series again. Also the action figures are pretty good, i have all the basic 6 inch figurines & also have all the foot long turtle statues. Anyways the cartoon story line is pretty good in most episodes. i give this series a 9 / 10 so far from the 46 episodes I've seen. Top stuff

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Near Perfect Balance

Author: (Virgil2127@hotmail.com) from Byron, Illinois
6 March 2004

The new TMNT is closer to the comics, but still complete with irrevent humor and fun. The series creators have definately made the series not only an ode to the comic book source, but seem to have made many other references to the comic books that doubtlessly influences Laird and Eastman.

The animation style is somewhere between Men in Black and Batman: The Animated Series, and while not as stylized as either of the two, is functional and adaquate. The action sequences are the main draw, when they are allowed to really gain momentum.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this story, and it should appeal to fans of both the comic and 80's cartoon. The only problem I have with the series is when the cartoon takes a detour spanning 6+ episodes in the middle of a crucial storyline. Take my word for it: beware when the Turtles go into space. While chuck full of one or two Star Wars references, its frustrating to consider the forces at work for the rest of the storyline, on Earth, stopping while the Turtles are off fight outer-space triceratops.

Overall, a good show, and the current highlight of my Saturday mornings. ***1/2

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