Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – Blu-ray Review

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When images started to release for the Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it was met with both lackluster to vitriolic reaction. That’s why Out of the Shadows looks to try and atone for all of the sins found in the first film by keeping it more in line with the original classic cartoon. Although Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a big improvement over the first film, it still isn’t a very good film.

What it does right, though, is getting rid of some of the “Michael Bay-isms” that has plagued some of his other nostalgia films. This film feels more cartoony and less realistic than the others which result in a better-looking film. The controversial noses, lips and overall designs of the turtles are more subdued, and the character design of other Turtles characters are more in tuned with the classic cartoon. Clearly, this was a conscious decision to suppress the backlash from long-time Turtles fans.

Second-time director David Green manages to put together a more coherent film than the first film, but their efforts are impeded by the nonsensical script that Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec put together. Cinematographer Lula Carvalho attempts to main order in the compositions with the use of wide angle shots, but the avalanche of CGI and big action sequences leave a lot of the footage looking chaotic.

The decision to overstuff the film with a plethora of fan-favorites has also backfired. Think of it as the Spider-Man 3 effect where none of the characters are given time to breathe. Brian Tee (Shredder) and Brittany Ishibashi (Karai) are wasted by consistently brooding in the corner. Also, Krang is barely seen in the film. The decision to have Brad Garrett voice Krang doesn’t fit as well because his portrayal annoys more than it does intimidates. Stephen Amell also gives it his all as Casey Jones, but it does remind me a lot Oliver Queen. Megan Fox is much more useful this time around, but like Casey Jones, she doesn’t have much to work with.

However, not all of the characters disappoint. Gary Anthony Williams and Sheamus injects some much-needed fun in the film as Bebop and Rocksteady. Tyler Perry’s maniacal Baxter Stockman and Will Arnett’s always funny Vernon Fenwick are the other highlights of the film. Yet the most pleasantly surprising part of the film is the turtles themselves. Pete Ploszek (Leonardo), Alan Ritchson (Raphael), Jeremy Howard (Donatello), and Noel Fisher (Michelangelo) are less annoying this time around and are actually funny. The four also have impeccable chemistry together.

Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is considerably better than its predecessor. Although some cast members may give it their all, unfortunately, we’d still have to wait for those behind-the-scenes to give it just as much as the cast does.

Movie Rating: 2/5 atoms
NR 2 Atoms - D

Video
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is presented in a 1080P MPEG-4 AVC encoded video with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The one thing about a Blu-ray release with Michael Bay’s name on it, it makes for one incredible release. The contrast is very vivid and there isn’t a single hint of flatness in the video. The black levels are crisp and deep without any of those annoying crushed blacks. Very fine noise appears in a couple of shots but it’s never intrusive. The colors are nicely saturated due to the bright color palette. Although keep in mind, that with high definition comes the bad. In the theaters, I noticed several frame rate issues regarding the CGI effects and it doesn’t seem to be fixed here. In fact, with high definition, it accentuates these issues even further. However, this is a problem with the original source material rather than the video transfer itself. Overall, this is a stunning video transfer.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms
NR-5-Atoms-A

Audio
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is presented in the Dolby Atmos format, but it is also presented in the core Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Master Audio track. The review will reflect Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows‘s core Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Master Audio track. The audio is just as frenetic as the film itself, and that’s a good thing because the audio is able to keep up with the visuals. The center channel presents the dialogue with crystal clarity. The front and rear channels provide atmospheric effects and frenzied mayhem across the soundstage. The directional effects are swift and used to a fun effect. The subwoofer gets much of the attention during the action-packed scenes. Overall, the audio is a super fun presentation that’s able to keep up with the frenetic film.

Audio Rating: 5/5 atoms
NR-5-Atoms-A

Special Features
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows‘s Blu-ray contains the following special features:

  • We Are Family
  • Whoa! Expanding the Turtleverse
  • House Party
  • It’s Tricky: Inside the Van
  • ILM — The Effects Beneath the Shell
  • Did You Catch That? Turtle Eggs!
  • Deleted Scenes

With over 40 minutes of special features, there is a lot to watch and some of it are great content. “We Are Family” and “Whoa! Expanding the Turtleverse” are your standard interviews where the director, producers, and cast talk about the film. There are a few interesting tidbits but most of the content consists of the cast’s excitement for this project. The most interesting featurettes come from the production design featurettes. “House Party,” “It’s Tricky: Inside the Van,” and “Did You Catch That? Turtle Eggs!” all have intriguing looks into Martin Laing’s incredible practical sets. “ILM – The Effects Beneath the Shell” is essentially the most uninteresting featurette on the film because of its lack of content. The featurette only shows the various compositing process of a few scenes with no one explaining the process. Everything is all visual. The deleted scenes do contain a cool Judith Hoag (the original April O’Neil) cameo but you can see why it was cut from the film. Other than that the deleted scenes are pretty standard.

Special Features Rating: 3/5 atoms
NR 3 Atoms - C


Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is an improvement over the first film and finally knows what kind of film it is and should be. Unfortunately, the choppy story and glut of characters didn’t do the film any favors. Fortunately for Blu-ray aficionados, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows provide incredible audio/visuals to showcase your home theater system to your family. The special features offer interesting looks into the production design of the film, but the rest of the features leave me wanting more.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5 atoms
NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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