Where I Watched It: Netflix
English Audio Description?: Yes
I don’t even know what ninja Turtles fans look like today as kids. Do they get the action figures/ Do they have the play sets? Do they eat ice cream bars in the shape of a Ninja Turtle head? I remember when the turtles were briefly invited to Disney MGM, despite not being a Disney property, as meet and greet characters. And the tour? When they formed a rock band? So, yeah, as someone who grew up in love with my Turtles, and had all the action figures, plus a bunch of side characters that seem to never be heard of again, plus the turtle van, and the sewer set, I feel like I can speak on the Ninja Turtles.
Our cartoon from the late 80’s/early90’s was great, and I’d still watch that today if anyone knew what streaming service that was on. I’ve seen every turtle movie, and even had the VHS tapes of the two-part episodes they released onto home video knowing kids would play them over and over. Anyone from the 90’s who survived Ninja Rap (and still knows the lyrics) can speak.
That being said, i do not know what the fuck has happened to my Ninja Turtles. I clearly got to a point in my life where I stopped watching ever iteration of their cartoon, and somewhere along the way, they got powers. They now have abilities, April knows Ninjutsu, Shredder is MIA, and splinter is… well… different. in fact, most of the turtles don’t exhibit their usual traits, with Leonardo no longer taking on the mantle of being the serious leader. He’s kind of a joke, and this time traveling film I guess sets him up to be reminded to knock that shit off. He’s far more like Michael Angelo than any version of Leonardo.
I didn’t mind the Casey jones, because he was from the future, and had his own thing going on that wasn’t annoying or too far away from canon. but, multiple Krang? No. I cannot abide. A race of krang is far less interesting than one trying to pull his dome into our universe for the 700th time.
I don’t know what has happened to our children, but we are not giving them good cartoons. Rise might entertain hardcore fans of the Nickelodeon series, but anyone in my age range who grew up on the Turtles are going to notice that one of these things is very much not like the other. Even the last animated Turtle movie, TMNT, was a hell of a lot closer (and better) than this.
I loved the Ducktales reboot, and I thought the changes it made actually helped the series, like turning Webby from a useless side character into a strong female lead. She was far less annoying the second time around. But here? I don’t get the need for the changes they did make. I’m OK with diversifying April, though in a show with almost no human characters, it’s always going to “lack diversity” in some manner. But the rest just seemed like a big question mark that they weren’t willing to answer for anyone who hadn’t watched the TV show.
And I guess, that’s where my biggest problem lies. While I will give Rise props for being a fast paced film under 90 minutes, and rarely wasting time, of all the various forms we’ve had over the years in cinematic form, Rise seems least interested in regaining the old audience who are familiar with the Turtles but not the new series. It doesn’t explain anything, and is clearly made for people who watch the TV show. And if you don’t. Then you can go have your nostalgia moment elsewhere.
I needed far more Cowabunga’s and pizza moments than I got.
The audio description actually was lacking here. I know these characters talk a lot, but not being familiar with the voice cast, it took me longer than usual to figure out which turtle was talking, because the audio description didn’t slide in for the assist. I’ve also heard the character redesigns are significant, instead of each turtle looking the same with just different colors/weapons, they actually have different builds. There was no mention of what these guys look like now, meaning most audience members will be applying past knowledge onto this new iteration.
Your kids might like this. Your kids deserve better. Most certainly, anyone who grew up with the original Turtles will hate this.
Final Grade: C-