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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Stuart Gillard
Cast:
Elias Koteas, Paige Turco, Stuart Wilson, Sab Shimono, Vivian Wu, Mark Caso, Matt Hill, Jim Raposa, David Fraser
Writing Credits:
Kevin Eastman (characters), Peter Laird (characters), Stuart Gillard

Tagline:
The Turtles Are Back ... In Time!

Synopsis:
Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, and the rest of the pizza-eating bunch are here in this collection that presents the first four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles feature films. Included here are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles In Time, and TMNT.

Box Office:
Budget
$21 million.
Domestic Gross
$42.660 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Audio:
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $84.99
Release Date: 8/11/2009

Available as Part of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition”

Bonus:
• Trailer
• Character Cards
• Signed Sketch
• Beanie


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles In Time - 25th Annivesary Film Collection [Blu-Ray] (1993)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 7, 2009)

Nowadays, studios expect sequels to make more money than their predecessors, but that wasn’t always true. It used to be fine and dandy if a sequel earned half of the prior flick’s take. No one expected ever-increasing totals back in Ye Olden Dayes.

And that accounting makes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequels successful. The 1990 original was a huge hit by any standards, and the 1991 sequel did just fine as well. Sure, the latter made only half of the former’s gross, but it still turned a tidy profit.

The ledgers become more complicated with 1993’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles in Time. It grossed $42 million – or barely one-fourth the take of the first flick – but it also came with a low $21 million budget. When all was said and done, I’m sure New Line made money off the film.

But not enough to keep going, as Time would be the last entry in the franchise until it got “rebooted” in 2007. At a flea market, news reporter April O’Neil (Paige Turco) finds various items that she buys for her Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pals Leonardo (Mark Caso/voiced by Brian Tochi), Raphael (Matt Hill/Tim Kelleher), Michelangelo (David Fraser/Robbie Rist) and Donatello (Jim Raposa/Corey Feldman). She also scoops up an ancient Japanese artifact for their rat mentor Splinter (James Murray).

This item bears a supernatural connection to the feudal Japanese society from which it originated. When it becomes activated, it sends April back in time and exchanges her with Kenshin (Henry Hayashi), the son of a warlord who participates in a revolution against his pop (Sab Shimono). The Turtles head back in time to rescue her; inevitably, they become involved in the rebellion as they also try to take April back to modern-day New York.

If nothing else, Time deserves credit for the ambition of its plot. While it offered a couple of new twists, the first sequel told essentially the same story as the original flick. Time at least tries to give us something new and different.

The film also earns some points for a gutsy opening. The first few minutes plop us in feudal Japan with no warning. There’s nothing to tell us we’re in a Turtles movie, so we have to wait a little while before we see what we expect. Given the series’ youthful audience, it seems mildly audacious to open with such a potentially confusing bit.

And that’s where my praise for Time ends. Although both of the first two movies aim for a youthful audience, they don’t usually embarrass the older viewer. The 1990 film actually can be surprisingly dark. The 1991 sequel has a pretty light tone, and the Vanilla Ice sequence should make the filmmakers hang their heads in shame, but otherwise the flick delivers decent entertainment.

Time sticks so heavily with a kid-oriented experience that it loses the adult viewer – and probably doesn’t do much for the kids, either. The plot makes less than no sense, and the film just never delivers any real fun. It tries super-hard to entertain us, but most of the choices – like wacky sound effects during fights – come across as desperate.

There’s no real entertainment on display. The characters lack the same spunk found in the first couple of movies; they were never especially rich personalities, but here they’re just annoying most of the time. The flick does bring back some 1990 actors missing in 1991; Corey Feldman returns to voice Donatello, and Elias Koteas comes back to play a second part in addition to Casey Jones. They must’ve needed the pay, as they can’t have been enchanted by the lousy story.

Though it boasts a higher budget than its predecessors, Time looks cheaper. The primary problem comes from the character effects. I thought the Turtles and Splinter looked pretty good in the earlier films, but here they seem much less convincing. The franchise changed studios from 1991 to 1993 – maybe the Hensons charged too much to retain them for the third movie – and the quality really suffers. Poor Splinter often looks like a refugee from Chuck E. Cheese’s!

All of this disappoints because Time could’ve been a satisfying flick. It takes on the most ambitious story of the first three films, and it occasionally demonstrates a vague willingness to take chances. Unfortunately, the execution totally falls flat.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles in Time appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. After two erratic presentations, the Turtles franchise finally delivers a solid transfer here.

Sharpness looked quite good. A few slightly soft shots occasionally materialized, but those instances remained minor. The movie usually seemed sharp and well-defined. No issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. Source flaws didn’t cause concerns. A speck or two appeared, but the majority of the flick looked clean.

Colors fared well. The movie used a bright palette that often excelled. The hues were lively and bold throughout the movie. Blacks appeared dark and firm, while shadows were pretty good. Low-light shots occasionally seemed slightly flat, but they usually offered acceptable delineation. This may be a bad movie, but it gave us the best visuals of the 1990s Turtles flicks.

While not quite as good, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Time was more than acceptable. The soundfield worked fairly well. Music demonstrated pretty good stereo imaging, and effects broadened the spectrum well. The forward domain dominated and featured a lot of activity. The elements weren’t always tremendously well localized, but they showed fair enough placement.

Surround usage was fine. By current standards, the track didn’t utilize the back speakers to tremendous effect, but it allowed them to create a reasonably lively setting. The mix opened up the action in a satisfying manner.

Audio quality was also positive. Speech showed nicely natural qualities, as the lines were always appropriate. On a few occasions, music sounded slightly dense, but the score was usually pretty robust and full. Effects demonstrated good accuracy and range. Overall, the track didn’t excel, but it was worth a “B”.

Only one disc-based extra appears here: the film’s trailer. However, the “25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition” – which is currently the only way to get this flick on Blu-ray – includes a few non-disc-based components.

Of most interest, we get a comic book. This offers a black and white adaptation of the first Turtles movie. Done by Turtles creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, it’s a fun way to experience the film’s story.

We also find Photo/Biography Cards for eight characters, a sketch “signed” by Laird, and a “radical” beanie. The cards are nice; they look good and they have nice biographies on them. The sketch is less interesting, and since I’ll assume the signature is just a reproduction, it loses impact. As for the beanie… if anyone actually wears one of those in public, I’ll be shocked.

After two reasonably watchable adventures, the franchise falters with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles in Time. Despite a potentially exciting story, the silliness and idiocy ensure its failure. The Blu-ray doesn’t include many extras, but it boasts good picture and audio. I can’t fault the quality of the movie presentation, but it’s a bad flick.

Note: the Time Blu-ray currently appears only as part of a “25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition” boxed set. This also includes 1990’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1991’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, and 2007’s TMNT.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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