Children of the eighties, brace yourselves because I’ve got a fine bit of nostalgia in a box here from our friends out at Lionsgate, who sent out a copy of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Classic Series Collection” for us to review. And this massive 23-disc collection is going to be heaps of your childhood memories all in one handy and almost disturbingly well-packaged place.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Complete Classic Series” gives us ten solid years of the original cartoon, as our four mutated turtles learn the art of ninjitsu from their father figure, a mutant rat by the name of Splinter. The reason Splinter’s busily training turtles in martial arts? An old face from Splinter’s past, the infamous Oroku Saki, now known as the Shredder, who’s got his eyes on global conquest. He’s got the backup to do it too, in the form of a mutant rhino named Rocksteady, a mutant warthog named Bebop, and Krang, the exiled former warlord of Dimension X. Oh, and an unclear quantity of faceless Foot Clan soldiers as well as the massive battle platform Krang brought with him, the Technodrome. Now the Turtles will find themselves facing down the various machinations of the Shredder and a whole host of other baddies who will show up semirandomly throughout the series.
The one big thing about this series is that it will start off heavy on the cartoonish action. Not surprising given it’s a cartoon, but it focused a lot harder on being funny than it did on pounding bad guys. Episodes varied in their tone, naturally, but the farther in it goes, the more it switches over to an action cartoon, focusing more on the fighting than on the funny. The series as a whole may not have aged very well, but thankfully, it does seem to improve the farther in it goes, developing a continuity of sorts, but not a particularly good one.
Still, the clear value in this massive, massive box set will have little to do with the quality of the series as a whole–it was fine stuff for ten year olds, but those who remember it as ten year olds will likely find it low-end to say the least–but rather as a magnificent bit of nostalgia for one of the last great Saturday morning cartoon series.
Not surprisingly, a ten-year box set will come with a huge array of special features, including a variety of featurettes about the series and various characters within the series, interviews with the artists, and two bonus episodes that weren’t exactly widely seen before now: “Planet of the Turtleoids” and “Once Upon A Time Machine”. The series even comes packaged in a working model of the Turtles’ Party Van, complete with rolling wheels.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Complete Classic Series Collection” is a huge affair of varied quality, jammed full of special features and a very big pull on the heartstrings of eighties children the world over. It’s going to be impressive enough for most anyone, so for those who fondly remember Saturday mornings with the Green Machine, well, you’ll get everything you could ask for and more.