Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enter Shredder Review

The newest iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise is proving itself to be an absolute winner on all fronts. Not only is an awesome fan animated adventure for new fans, but it pays service to old fans in a number of different ways.

First of all, the second volume in its home entertainment release is called Enter Shredder, an obvious nod to the second episode of the original 1987 series which is also called Enter Shredder. While the story lines differ, this new series still captures the fun of the original series without losing sight of the most important aspect of the franchise, characterisation.

When I reviewed volume 1 back in February, I said that it was a great feeling to be back in the familiar world of TMNT and volume 2 manages to bump up the nostalgia even further.

A couple of all new characters and old favourites are introduced in volume 2 bringing with them memories from the early 80's while there are enough differences throughout these 7 episodes to ensure that it isn't a slave to the source material. Old favourites such as Leatherhead and Shredder are reintroduced but with a few changes to make them more palatable for a new audience. No longer does Leatherhead sport a Cajun accent and, quite frankly, that's a good thing. While the giant New Orleans croc was a cool cat back in the 80's, he'd probably come across as quite kitsch nowadays. Even Dr Baxter Stockman and his MOUSERS make an appearance and even go so far as to laugh at the ludicrous acronym used in the IDW comic book series (Minefield Ordnance Unarming System Enhanced Robots). Add to this a pseudo-cameo appearance by co-founder of the animation studio responsible for the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, Jimmy Murakami, and you've got more than enough to please us old fans.

For new fans, there is just the right mix of awesome action, belly laughs and cool characters. The new turtles are just as cool as the old ones and manage to shrug off the shackles of the 2003 series which had a tendency to be too cool for school. This series, however, sticks its tongue firmly in cheek and laughs along with the audience. Whether it's Mikey's mishaps in the kitchen while creating a pizza milkshake or Donnie's attempts to win over April, we are always in on the joke. This is what makes the new Ninja Turtles series is so good, it is good, clean fun.

The animation quality is just as great as you'd expect considering how fun and vibrant the first volume was. That said, the action seems to have been increased not only in frequency, but also quality. Perhaps this is a reflection of the increased skills of Donnie, Mikey, Leo and Raph, but regardless, the increase in action makes for even more fun. The introduction of new characters and gadgets may seem like a cash grab for merchandise sales, and it probably is, but I still remember how much fun it was as a kid to get the latest action figure or the Turtle Party Wagon. I just hope that this new generation of Turtle fans has as much fun with the franchise as I did. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enter Shredder is available on DVD from June 26th.


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