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Turtle Power DVD Review

by Justin Bozung

Turtle Power DVD

When I first heard that there was a rag tag group of filmmakers trying to make a documentary about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I wasn’t quite sure how far they’d be able to go. At that point, they just had a few videos on their website detailing some of the things they were trying to do with the film. Regardless, I became excited almost immediately and tried to reach out to them for more information on the project. It was then that I received an email detailing some of the interviews they already had, at which point I wrote up an article about the movie and tried to start spreading the hype.

Needless to say, I have been following Turtle Power for quite some time, and it’s been a blast to watch the progress it has made. What started out as a small group of turtle fans trying to make sense of the phenomenon they’d grown up with eventually became one of the most informative and entertaining pieces I have ever seen about the Ninja Turtles. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the TMNT, and this documentary proved me wrong, as I have no doubt it will do for several fans of our heroes in a half shell.

There were several things I expected when I started watching the documentary; I saw them all and so much more. I was excited to see what was one of the last interviews with James Avery, the man behind the voice of The Shredder. Little did I know that this interview would reveal the wonderful spirit of a man who was really a master of his art, just having fun and playing it up for all the kids who were watching. He will definitely be missed, and I’m not sure there will ever be another voice or character portrayal of Shredhead that was quite like his.

I was also excited to see the archival footage taken by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, creators of this amazing and unexpected franchise. Not only was it great to see their younger selves getting excited about the success of the turtles, but it was also amazing to see the care with which they treated their creations, even though they were characters that had essentially been created on a whim. What started out as a joke eventually became something that shaped their lives and the lives of so many others in the world. Watching this footage was like going back in time and experiencing a group of artists who were on the verge of something big and didn’t even know it.

What I had no way of knowing was just how deep down the rabbit hole this documentary would go. I knew that the turtles were inspired by a lot of independent work done in the late 70’s and early 80’s, but I never really understood what that meant. Having seen Turtle Power, I can honestly say that I now genuinely see and feel the impact that these magazines and comics made on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – and for a turtle fan, that kind of experience is worth any price. I’m not sure whether it was Kevin and Peter’s in depth explanation of the roots that did it, but I know that it definitely helped to see the two digging in and really exposing themselves as artists for the sake of this movie.

If I’m being honest, I can’t say that this movie is perfect. Unfortunately, they kind of gloss over the TMNT era spanning from the mid 90’s to the mid 2000’s, which is incredibly significant for a lot of fans. This is somewhat troublesome, but I think it’s worth noting that this movie really does take on the task of exposing the roots of the Turtle Power phenomenon, and that era in Ninja Turtles history simply didn’t have a lot to do with those roots. It was significant and important, especially the 2003 series, but I guess even the best documentary in the world can’t touch on everything. And let me be clear, this is in no way the “best documentary in the world.” It’s an amazing film, but it isn’t the greatest thing you’ll ever see.

That being said, if you’re a shellhead who has always wanted to really see where the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came from, this is an invaluable documentary. Turtle Power sheds light on the creation of the turtles that you’ve probably never seen or heard of before. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the inspiration behind these characters, discover how Shredder got his voice, find out who added the eyeball to the technodrome or learn about how the incredible toys came to life, you owe it to yourself to watch this film.

Turtle Power is readily available on DVD and VOD services. Do yourself a favor and check it out. If you’ve seen the movie, tell us what you thought in the comments below or sound off in our forums!

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1 comment

SKR Imaging August 30, 2014 - 9:56 pm

I saw the documentary and it was great.. I must say though that including more extra interviews about the cinematic turtles would have been amazing for fans.. seemed like it was breezed through pretty fast near the end.. maybe Paramount Pictures had something to do about that.. who knows.. still great to see Turtle lore anyday..

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