The review is: the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, episode 101: "Things Change".
I caught it by accident. I knew that episode 102 was going to be on at 10:30, but I turned the TV on at 8:30 to FoxBox, just catching the very beginning.
My first reaction was, "hey, this is straight from the original comic book, even some of the dialogue," because the opening is exactly like the beginning of the first comic. The four Turtles facing off against some street thugs calling themselves the Purple Dragon gang.
It then cuts to the opening credits, whose theme song wasn't that great. A little bit too much in the vein of the old stuff. Or maybe the theme to Batman Beyond has spoiled me.
It cuts away to the Turtles gettin trained by Splinter in the sewer den. Out of nowhere, the classic Mousers chew through the floor and ruin the old home, also seperating the Turtles from Splinter. They communicate through a communicator very similar to what they had in the original cartoon. They decide to meet at some kind of sewer junction.
The Turtles get sidetracked when another passage is collapsed, and are forced to travel topside. This is when you first really start to notice how anime-style-ninja these Turtles are. Raph bounds all over the place and it's very impressive. These aren't the bulky Turtles from the old cartoon. They're fast and sneaky.
This is where the Purple Dragon gang bit starts, as they make some kind of heist, Raph tries to move their van because it's parked right on another manhole they want to use. He ends up diving into the van to avoid being seen, and they drive off with him, so the other three follow.
They get into a fight where the gang stops, and soundly hurt them. The gang runs away, but then a bunch of unidentified ninjas (gee, I wonder who THEY are!) show up and give the Turtles a real fight.
Splinter had meanwhile made it to the meetup point, gets attacked by more mousers, and ends up fallings when the floor collapses beneath him.
Outnumbered, the Turtles hotwire the van and take off with it, and throw the money in the bags at some parked cops. They then meet up with Splinter at the sewer junction, and he shows them the new home he discovered.
It cuts to a shadowy room where a japanese man (and I wonder who THAT is!) is making tea for himself, and the Purple Dragon gang leader is pleading with him, but this man shows no mercy and as the camera cuts to an outside shot of his tower, it's obvious what happens to the loser.
Okay, so here's what I'm thinking about it.
Firstly, the voices aren't that great. Mike got stuck with the surfer bit AGAIN, which is very annoying. But, it's a cartoon, and good VAs are illegal in an american cartoon. They have to be charicatures and shit. Oh well.
The weapons are all intact, and the Turtles use them often. This isn't the second movie, where Leo's katana never left their scabbards on his back. Mike has his nunchaku, which had been replaced in later episodes of the original cartoon. So this all pleases me.
Overall, the cartoon seems to take its cues mostly from the movies. Especially in the dialogue. When they hang up with Splinter from the communicators, Mike is like "oo! did he mention me?" and Raph punches him. Just the general style of humor and how the characters relate to each other.
At least Raph is more of a pissed-off movie version instead of sarcastic original cartoon version. That's a plus.
The Mousers and Foot all have an updated look. The inside of the Mousers' mouths are lined in spikes, and they are quite creepy. The Foot are, holy cow, NOT robots! What an idea. They're also wicked sleek, very dark, and asskickers, all of them.
The plot also seems at least somewhat developed. Here we see the unexplained entrance of both the Mousers and the Foot ninja. Very cool, IMO. This series promises to be serial, unlike the episodic original cartoon.
The action is pretty damn good. I mean that seriously. When the Turtles fight the Foot, it's very hardcore. Rock on. Now I dare them to actually let Leo cut someone with a katana. lol.
Final Score: 87.
It's on saturday mornings, for that you have to give it some allowances. For the most part, this is good Turtles action, let's hope it's the second step on the way to a second age of the Turtle!
Die, Power Rangers!!!