Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Volume 5 contains 12 episodes from season 3 of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the one from the 1980s and 90s, not the new 2003 version. I am a big TMNT fan, and have been ever since 1986. I watched the cartoon from the year it came on-air all the way throughout junior high and even into high school. So you can understand how excited I was to get the opportunity to check out the series that I loved oh so long ago. And wow! The front of the DVD box is this cool-looking 3D hologram of Raphael, you know the kind, where you tilt them back and forth and the image appears to move. Often times those things look like crap, but this one is well done. But enough with the box already! It's time to watch this sucker!
289 minutes later....
Oh wow! I can't believe it! I actually used to like show? What the heck was wrong with me?! Ah, but seriously, this show is a far cry from the one I remember. Of course, there are many factors to blame this. Anime, for one. After discovering the wonderful art style, beautiful animation, interesting characters, and intriguing storylines, going back to the goofy-ness of US cartoons about some bumbling villain trying to come up with a plan to rule the world in each and every episode, well... it's pretty much impossible. Then add to that the new TMNT cartoon, which is very much based in the anime style, and it's not hard to see why the original cartoon can't hold a torch to it.
Now, now, I know that may seem harsh, but... well... this is supposed to be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, not Teenage Mutant Bumbling Turtles. What happened to all their ninja skills? They're about as ninja-like as Chris Farley was in Beverly Hills Ninja. Let me provide some examples. The first episode on this disc, titled Corporate Raiders from Dimension X, Shredder kidnaps corporate executives and uses brainwashing to put them under his control. The turtles then stake out a company they think is going to be hit (by dressing up as constructions workers, no less... which as everybody knows is far, far easier than just sitting in a nearby van), and when they confront a few guys walking into the building, Leonardo jumps out to tackle one of them. The other men then simply pick him up and throw him at the other Turtles, knocking the three "ninjas" right on their butts.
Then later in the same episode, when they meet up with Casey Jones, Casey is able to pick Raphael up completely off the ground just by grabbing his shoulder... using only one hand! This says nothing of their ninja skills, not to mention the complete lack of disregard for the laws of physics. But then, all this also seems to fall in line with the artwork, in which characters and objects are significantly lacking in based-in-reality department. Shadow and highlights? Nope! And I musn't forget to mention the constantly changing proportions, and how everyone seems to be made up of some rubber-like material. It's as if nobody cared about quality, like it was just a cartoon made for young children who couldn't care less.
And this saddens me, because it wasn't always like this, and we are reminded as in the episode Blast From the Past, where Splinter temporarily looses his memory and we are treated to several scenes from the first season of the show. This is where we see how good the art and animation used to be. The lighting, the shadows, the highlights, the bodies that appeared to be real flesh and muscles, not just hunks of rubber. Characters behaved at least someone realistically, and The Shredder was a force to be feared. And boy did he look cool, with his gleaming metal armor and razor sharp blades. And the dialog... I forgot all about the dialog! It was logical, it was believable, and often times it was funny. And all this is just from clips of the first season in one episode of the third season, and it really shows how much the show had changed, as well as why I originally became addicted to it.
So, from the sound of what I've written so far, you might think that I would give this a score of 2/5, and I did consider it, but I decided to up it to 3/5, since you get 12 full episodes on one disc, rather than the standard 4 episodes, and it's cheaper than most DVD's, with a list price of only $14.98 (that's a whole lot of entertainment for such a low price). Also, this is really made for younger children (like the box says, for ages 5 and up), and actually can be entertaining once all expectations of coolness are put aside. One thing I found quite funny is on the back of the DVD case, it lists "Full Screen" and "2.0 Audio Tracks" under "Special Features". Since when did those become special features? I have never known either of those things to be either "special" or "features".
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Volume 5 contains the following 12 episodes:
- Corporate Raiders from Dimension X
- Pizza by the Shred
- Super Bebop and Mighty Rocksteady
- Beware the Lotus
- Blast from the Past
- Leatherhead: Terror of the Swamp
- Michaelangelo's Birthday
- Usagi Yojimbo
- Case of the Hot Kimono
- Usagi Come Home
- The Making of Metalhead
- Leatherhead Meets the Rat King
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Volume 5 was released by Lions Gate on DVD starting August 29, 2006.