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TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ($25) is the perfect movie for the adolescents, with just enough action to keep adults interested. The live action version of the popular animated characters features some impressive work from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, making the title character seem like cartoons brought to life. The film’s plot introduces characters and situations from the comics and animated television show, but puts a slightly different spin on things. The story concerns the title characters named Raphael, Michaelangelo, Donatello and Leonardo are turtles that have been mutated by radioactive chemicals to human size. Splinter, who happens to be a rat mutated in a similar manner, is the master who trained the turtles in the ways of the ninja.

The turtles and their ninja master dwell in the New York City sewer system, so the humans in the world above won’t discover them. A rash of thefts by the city’s adolescent community, cause the turtles to spring into action and lead them to an old enemy of their master. Shredder, the Evil leader of the New York branch of the foot clan is using the teens as pawns in his crime syndicate. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES features a number of semi-violent marital arts fight sequences. Since death and mutilation aren’t involved, very young children should not have any difficulty with these sequences, as long as their parents explain the difference between real and staged fighting. The cast of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES features Judith Hoag, Elias Koteas, Brian Tochi, Kevin Clash, David McCharen, Michael McConnohie, Corey Feldman, Michael Turney, Jay Patterson, Josh Pais, Michelan Sisti, Leif Tilden and David Forman.

New Line Home Video offers TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES in both wide screen and cropped presentations. The cropped presentation lobs off some information from the sides of the frame, but the kids will never know the difference. Adults will find the wide screen presentation far more satisfying. The Letterboxed transfer frames TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES approximately at 1.85:1 and looks well balanced at this ratio. The transfer is somewhat limited by the film’s original cinematography which is a bit soft and grainy, but looks respectable on DVD. Colors reproduce with good saturation, but they too are restricted by the film’s cinematography. Digital compression artifacts were never really bothersome on either presentation.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a pleasing mix which features, atmosphere, good bass and directional effects. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby surround compatible track and a French language track. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

Interactive menus offer access to a theatrical trailer, an interactive "sewer maze" game and character biographies.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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