The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are older than I am. Conceived in 1984 as a parody of current comic trends (particularly those of Frank Miller), the resulting movies and TV series launched its heroes to international stardom. The adventures of Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo were the biggest thing in the world for children in the early 1990s, rivaling Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny in name recognition. Since then, there have been numerous reboots and remakes, from an early 2000s cartoon to a CGI feature film. With the threat of a Michael Bay movie looming on the horizon, you might think that all of the juice has been squeezed out of this admittedly flimsy premise. But as Nickelodeon’s new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles take proves, there’s still some new tricks in this old dog.
Admittedly, a lot of the show can be hit or miss. We’re living in a pretty good era of children’s cartoons, with shows like and and whatnot, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (like a great many other shows) isn’t quite on that level. The animation is stylized and amusing, but it kind of falls flat when compared to a lot of CG today. The characters are great, but some of the threats and situations follow the kind of absurd Saturday morning cartoon logic people scoff at. The show is at its best when the stories spin organically out of the character’s personalities, and it gets weaker as they try to shoehorn in new characters and threats.
PA: Oh, man, I am so excited to hear you describe it that way! The initial pitch was basically “Assault on Precinct 13 with the Ninja Turtles,” but there’s definitely a lot of Die Hard influence in there as well, along with The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, The Raid, Rio Bravo, 3:10 to Yuma and a ton of other siege stories. And, true to the genre, the whole thing takes place in one night, and features some very uneasy alliances.