DVD Review- Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
Street Date: August 12th 2014
Technical Specifications: 480P Video, Color, 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio, English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Runtime: 99 Minutes
Since their debut in 1984, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have become a worldwide phenomenon. With the Jonathan Liebesman Directed and Michael Bay Produced 2014 film arriving in theaters this last weekend, Paramount Home Entertainment is releasing Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to celebrate the radical team’s history. From their comic book beginnings to the countless toys, shows, and movies that the series has spawned, this documentary is fascinating, and serves as a celebration of Turtle history coming full circle for the creators.
In November 1983, young and struggling comic artists Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman struck up a friendship and moved into Mirage Studios in Dover, New Hampshire, which served as more of a nerdy bachelor pad than an actual studio, but nevertheless, their initial collaborations began. Late one night in the studio, the two artists were sitting around watching TV when Kevin randomly drew a ninja turtle, which led to the two artists one-upping each other with better ninja turtle drawings, until they finally came up with the cover art and design for a proposed comic book. Eventually the pair borrowed some money and printed 3,000 copies of their first TMNT comic. A legend was born, and their creation would soon be outselling popular comics from the likes of Marvel and DC.
After being given the green light to pursue licensing opportunities for Peter and Kevin, Mark Freedman of Surge Licensing brought the Turtles concept to Playmates after being rejected countless times, and the popular line of Turtles action figures were born, but not before Fred Wolf got involved and brought the TMNT story to children everywhere with his beloved 1987 animated television series.
As fans of the franchise know, the Turtles’ appeal would only grow from there, spawning several films from New Line Entertainment, bringing the fan-base to new heights. The remainder of the documentary closely focuses on the toy franchise sculpting and development, the animated television series screenwriting and voice work, the production of the movies, and so much more.
The friendship between Peter and Kevin is what makes this documentary so special. Their success truly embodies the American dream, and everyone involved remains so passionate about TMNT and its legacy. This is fascinating stuff, and it really brought back those nostalgic feelings for me. I was the perfect age when the TMNT animated show came out, and remember begging my parents to take me to Toys ‘R’ Us to buy the toys. I was 7 when the first film premiered, and my love for the series only grew from there. Turtle Power is a really well made documentary that touches on everything that fans would want to know about the history and legacy of the series.
This is a surprisingly great looking DVD! When you’re used to critiquing Blu-Ray picture quality, sometimes DVD’s can look very weak by comparison with inferior resolution, but Turtle Power looks very clean and polished in 480P. Colors are accurately reproduced, there are no signs of anomalies on the print (besides the inherent flaws in vintage footage from camcorders or newsreels), and detail is fairly impressive. The expected clarity issues are still there, sure, but compared to most DVD releases, I’m satisfied with the delivery.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital track included gets the job done. While certainly not comparable to the dynamic sound of Blu-Ray audio, being mostly interview-based footage, the voices and effects come through clean and clear, making for another fine aspect of this release.
If there’s one downside to this amazing new documentary, it’s that Paramount has not included any bonus features to speak of, besides some previews that are accessible from the main menu. It would have been nice to see some interview outtakes or original footage from Eastman & Lairds camcorders, anything would have sufficed. Previews includeTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated show, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and Hercules.
As you can see from the “Unboxing” pictures below, this DVD edition from Paramount Home Entertainment features some impressive artwork featuring the first design of the Turtles created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman, along with some clips from comic strip panels. On the reverse of the packaging you’ll find a documentary synopsis, technical specifications, and credits. Inside the DVD case you’ll find the lone disc with some fairly basic artwork.
What a nostalgic and well-made trip back to my childhood! Turtle Power is an incredibly well-made documentary that touches on everything fans would want to know about the history and legacy of TMNT. Picture and audio quality are surprisingly good for a DVD release. If there’s a sole downside, it’s the lack of special features. But don’t let that sway you, this documentary is a “must own” for any die-hard Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan, and comes highly recommended.
Pete Macabre (“Film Fan” Pete)
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