Music has always been an important part of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film franchise. The songs of the films helped define them as cool, and worked to add something hip and interesting to the ancient art of ninjutsu. Of all the music used in the films, none has been more prominently featured, or become the anthems of the various films, more than rap song. For Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), it was Partners in Kryme that spun the theme; in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II (1991), Vanilla Ice’s “Ninja Rap” became the favorite track; and in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa, and Ty Dolla $ign gave fans “Shell Shocked.”
While the music video for “Shell Shocked” was released prior to the film’s theatrical debut, it was also included on the Blu-Ray edition of the film as an extra. Like its predecessors in the Ninja Turtle rap family, “Shell Shocked” is both drawn from and inspired by the film and the franchise. The song speaks about the brothers, about the ways of the ninja, and even mentions Michelangelo and Shredder. It is, at its core, a TMNT rap song. The actual music (put together by Kill the Noise and Madsonik) provides a somewhat EDM feel, giving the song the sense that it could be used as battle music for this incarnation of the turtles as big bruisers that like to hit hard. In that way, it is very reminiscent of “Ninja Rap” from TMNT II. In that film, the song was actually used as fight music versus the Foot, and the music’s beats reflected the action taking place. “Shell Shocked” feels like it could be used in the same way, if that had been the desire.
The music video itself also reflects the nature of the song as a battle anthem. The scenes chosen from the film are those involving hard hits, battles, and climactic actions. The escape down the mountain, the battle with Shredder, and fighting the Foot under the cover of darkness are all used to showcase the turtles and their ninja abilities, as well as provide action-packed scenes to mark the downbeats and bass in the music video. The remaining video content features the rappers each performing a verse in honor of the brothers and their ninja skills. As a whole, the video is a nice addition to the rap music history surrounding the TMNT film franchise, and showcases why this particular genre is so successful for a succinct portrayal of the film as a whole.
As an extra, the music video is okay. As discussed above, the video itself is nice, and the song is certainly catchy. However, it also suffers from some of the same issues as other DVD extras, and from an issue with media platforms. The official video was released online about a week before the film hit theaters. It was a great way to generate some last-minute hype for the film, but it’s still online right now. If it exists on a free media platform like YouTube, then it is actually one less reason to buy the Blu-Ray. After all, there’s no point in owning the extras if some of them are available for free elsewhere. DVD extras are supposed to be those things that cannot be seen anywhere else, and make consumers want to buy the film in a non-digital medium. In that way, this extra feature failed.
The TMNT Blu-Ray DVD release came with a lot of extras for fans. Each had its own positives and negatives, including the “Shell Shocked” music video. While a great way to hype the film, it wasn’t perhaps best served as a DVD extra. Instead, it could have been replaced with something else, or left off entirely in place of extended run times on some of the others. Whatever the case, the video and song were enjoyable, but any future DVD releases, and the ultimately forthcoming release of the sequel, should reconsider the lineup for extra features.