(Chris Evans, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mako, Kevin Smith, Patrick Stewart, et al / DVD / PG-13 / 2007 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: Strange events are occurring in New York City, and the Turtles are needed more than ever, but Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo have become lost and directionless. With the city at stake, it's up to Leonardo and Zen Master Splinter to restore unity and ninja discipline to the Turtles.
DVD Verdict: The Turtles triumphant return to the big screen. This time round its computer generated, which adds substantially to the emotional range of the characters. The art directors hedged their bets by stylizing the human designs rather than the risky attempt to do any ultra-realistic representation. But, the turtles are animated to gorgeous mutant perfection, as you'd expect. This allows for the terrific dynamic between the brothers, especially the expressiveness necessary to convey some of the more charged moments between Leonardo, just returned from South American soul-searching and brother Raphael chafing at the need to follow any orders.
The siblings deal with these issues in a way that none of the other incarnations of character have taken on, the series has grown up with it's audience, those of us who were fans of the original books, movies and TV shows. It will still appeal to its new generation of Turtle fans, but it is surely the most clever and best written of any non-comic version. While the film still combines elements of the currently running comic book series with the original film series and the currently running Saturday morning fare. Don't worry, it combines the best elements...really. Throw-backs include some sewer skatin', Splinter joinin' the fray and a "I love bein' a turtle" closer. Not to mention a timely soundtrack, like a particularly effective use of a cover of "Black Betty" during Raphael's scuffle with the Jersey Devil appropriately enough in Kevin Smith's kitchen.
The voice talent is particularly notable in TMNT: Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar is an excellent April, Patrick Stewart is a perfect mult-millenium-aged warrior-king, the venerable Mako (Aku of SAMURAI JACK & that wizard in CONAN) is a natural for Master Splinter, cameos from Kevin Smith a.k.a Silent Bob (as a cook), Laurence Fishburne of the Matrix narrates, also, Ziyi Zhang, Chris Evans (as Kasey Jones) and others.
The story is pretty good, if maybe complex: The Turtles have gone their separate ways, Leo off to become a better leader, Raphael embarks on a solo vigilante career in the absence of a team, Mikey does kid's parties as a Turtle-headed Cowabunga Carl, while Donny of course is a phone-bound tech-support. No back-story or origin of the turtles is needed nor is it supplied, we are thrown right in with a Lord of the Rings style set-up of a warrior who opens a gateway to immortality, but in doing so, releases 13 monsters upon the world.
So, when our story begins in the present, indeed 3000 years later, the time has come to make things right, with the help of the recently reunited Turtles, the FOOT Clan (lead by Korai, the Shredder's adopted daughter and sole heir - although this isn't referenced in the film) and some living stone warriors from the old days. The team ultimately work out their interpersonal issues and team-up for the epic climax including Kasey & April. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Commentary by Writer / Director Kevin Munroe
Alternate Opening - Splinter Tells the Back Story - and Alternate Ending with Casey and April
Deleted Scene: Mikey Sneaking Food to Splinter
Side-By-side Comparison of Storyboards and CGI Action
Interviews wih Voice Talent, Patrick Stewart, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lawrence Fishburne and Filmmakers ... And More!