Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As expected, this was a terrific visual presentation.
For Turtles, Michael Bay acted as producer and not director, but one will find the typical Bay palette nonetheless. This meant teal and orange dominated, and while that trend was predictable, I couldn’t complain about the replication, as the hues looked strong within their stylistic constraints. Blacks came across as dark and tight, and shadows appeared smooth and easily discernible.
Sharpness worked well. Only the slightest sliver of softness ever affected wide shots, so the vast majority of the movie brought us terrific clarity and definition. No signs of jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to materialize. All in all, this offered a fine visual presentation.
Still new to home entertainment, Turtles comes with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack – if you own the equipment to play it. The track works on standard Blu-ray players but requires an Atmos-equipped receiver – as well as more speakers – to achieve its full effect. Maybe someday I’ll upgrade for Atmos, but that day isn’t today.
Happily, the Atmos mix plays back as Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for those of us with “antiquated” systems, so that’s how I heard it. The soundfield presented an active and lively piece that constantly engaged the various speakers. The film showed distinctive imagery throughout the movie that placed different auditory elements accurately within the spectrum and meshed them together nicely.
Music provided strong stereo imaging, and effects popped up from the appropriate locations. Quieter scenes displayed natural ambience, while the many action pieces involved engrossing and vibrant imaging. The climax seemed especially good, but the whole movie utilized the channels in a compelling manner.
Audio quality also seemed positive. Speech consistently appeared natural and crisp, and I noticed no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Music sounded bright and dynamic as the disc neatly replicated the score.
Effects packed a nice wallop when necessary, as these elements seemed clean and distinct at all times. Bass response came across as deep and tight, and the low-end added a good layer of depth and oomph to the package. This was a soundtrack to challenge your subwoofer, as it really administered a heavy punch. I thought this was a consistently impressive soundtrack.
In this package, we get both 2D and 3D versions of the film. The picture quality comments above reflect the nature of the 2D edition – does the 3D image add much to the proceedings?
Definitely - Turtles offers one of the stronger 3D Blu-rays I’ve seen. It manifests good dimensionality throughout the whole movie, and action scenes spring to life with excellent impact, as they pop out of the screen in a lively manner. I feel very happy with this 3D image.
Next we find a mix of featurettes. Digital Reality goes for 17 minutes, 56 seconds and includes comments from director Jonathan Liebesman, visual effects supervisor Pablo Helman, animation supervisor Tim Harrington, producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, facial performance capture leads Kirani Bhat and Michael Koperwas, ILM visual effects supervisor Robert Weaver, lead creature technical director James Tooley, digital artist supervisor Dan Wheaton, and actors Alan Ritchson, Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard, and Noel Fisher. The show covers character design and execution as well as integrating CG characters in a live-action world. Despite a lot of praise, the program comes with a good array of details and teaches us a lot about the various techniques used in the film.
For a look at the 3D version of the film, we go to In Your Face! The Turtles in 3D. This lasts four minutes, 23 seconds as it features Liebesman, Wheaton, Helman, Weaver, and associate animation supervisor Kevin Martel. As expected, the show examines elements of the movie’s 3D photography. Though brief, the piece includes some useful notes.
In an unusual twist, “Face!” can be viewed 2D or 3D. I’ve seen Blu-rays with 3D trailers but I can’t recall any 3D featurettes.
During the six-minute, 47-second It Ain’t Easy Being Green, we hear from Ritchson, Ploszek, Fox, Howard, Fisher, Arnett, Form, and Fuller. We get info about cast, characters and performances as well as shooting in New York and sets. Fairly fluffy in tone, “Green” still delivers a mix of informative bits, and I like the behind the scenes footage.
Something called Evolutionary Mash-Up fills 14 minutes, 59 seconds and features Natural History Museum of LA County Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians Dr. Greg Pauly and Martial Arts History Museum president Michael Matsuda. “Mash-Up” tells us a little about the histories of turtles and ninjas. What, no details about teenagers or mutants? Anyway, “Mash-Up” provides neat little synopses of ninjas and turtles.
Turtle Rock runs five minutes, 37 seconds and delivers info from composer Brian Tyler. As expected, he gives us thoughts about the music he wrote for the film. Not much of anything all that compelling shows up in this brief, perfunctory chat.
An Extended Ending takes up a mere 46 seconds. This shows a newscast from April that adds a little coda to the adventure. It doesn’t do anything interesting.
After this we get a music video for “Shell Shocked” by Juicy J. Moxie, Ty dolla $ign and Wiz Khalifa. It mixes lip-synch performance and movie shots. Neither the song nor the video do anything for me.
Finally, the disc boasts The Making of “Shell Shocked”, a one-minute, 31-second piece with notes from musician Wiz Khalifa. He tells us he loves the Turtles and we see some shots from the studio. It couldn’t be more boring if it tried.
A third disc provides a DVD copy of Turtles. It includes none of the Blu-ray’s extras.
Rebooted for a new generation, 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles offers some good production values and occasional action fun. However, much of the potential excitement gets buried beneath a clumsy, slow story that robs the piece of much flair and adventure. The Blu-ray brings us excellent picture and audio as well as a decent package of bonus features. Turtles doesn’t fizzle but it doesn’t soar, either.