TMNT appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 and in a fullscreen version on this double-sided, single-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. Though usually excellent, the picture was a little less consistent than I’d like.
My only minor concerns related to sharpness. For the most pat, the flick seemed accurate and well-defined. However, wider shots occasionally appeared a bit soft. These issues weren’t major, but they didn’t create the expected level of rock-solid delineation I expect from CG animation. At least no jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge enhancement. Source flaws also created no concerns in this clean presentation.
The film’s palette went with a cool, almost sepia tone at times. The hues consistently looked fine within those parameters. The colors seemed clear and accurate throughout the flick, and when they embraced more natural tones, they were quite vivid. Blacks were also deep and dense, while shadows offered good definition. Despite some light softness, this was a strong visual presentation.
As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of TMNT, it also worked well. The movie presented a fairly engaging soundfield. Not surprisingly, its best moments related to the mix of action scenes. These helped open up the spectrum pretty nicely. Otherwise, we got good stereo impressions from the music along with solid environmental material. The latter reverberated in the rear speakers to positive effect, and some unique action material popped up there as well.
No problems with audio quality occurred. Speech was always concise and natural, and I noticed no edginess or other concerns. Music seemed bright and lively. Effects showed good distinctiveness, and they offered nice low-end when appropriate. The track wasn’t quite immersive enough to merit an “A”-level grade, but it was very pleasing nonetheless.
In terms of extras, we start with an audio commentary from writer/director Kevin Munroe. He offers a running, screen-specific chat. He discusses the project’s origins, characters and story issues, cast and performances, visual design and animation, various references and influences, and a mix of other production topics.
Munroe sounds genuinely enthused to record his track, and that comes through from start to finish. He offers a nice balance of technical and creative elements as he talks. That means we learn a lot about the production in this interesting, lively chat.
An Alternate Opening runs three minutes, while an Alternate Ending goes for one minute, 16 seconds. Both come in rough form and provide commentary from Munroe. The “Opening” gives us a little more backstory for the characters, while the “Ending” focuses more on Casey and April. I like the “Opening” but am glad they cut the “Ending”.
More cut footage comes from ”Mikey’s Birthday Party” Full Sequence. This shows all three minutes, 15 seconds of that character’s intro and offers a fun piece. It might’ve been too long for the full film but it’s enjoyable to see, although I wish we could watch it without Munroe’s commentary; his notes are good, but he talks over dialogue. ”Raphael’s Rough House” Fight Test fills one minute, 40 seconds with a pre-viz version of the Leo/Raph battle. Here Munroe’s comments prove more effective, as he gives us the ins and outs of this early footage.
The two-minute, 49-second Monsters Come Alive provides a film to storyboard comparison for that scene. Munroe provides more good info as we check out the original art created to plan the sequence. For Donny’s Digital Data Files, we get notes from Munroe and producer Paul Wang. This one-minute and 55-second featurette offers rudimentary info about computer animation techniques used to bring the characters to life. Some of the material is good but it’s way too brief to satisfy.
Another deleted scene comes with Roof Top Workout. Presented first as storyboards and then as pre-viz, it lasts five minutes, 33 seconds. This looks like a fun scene, but again, we don’t get to hear much of the dialogue. Munroe’s commentary remains useful, but I’d like to be able to hear the lines as well.
“Still Wanna Fight?” Temp/Scratch Test takes up three minutes, eight seconds with another cut scene. Despite the “temp/scratch test” disclaimer, this one actually presents fully rendered animation, which means – as Munroe tells us – that it got the boot late in the game. Once again, although Munroe offers nice insights, I hate that I can’t hear the scene without his remarks.
The two-minute and seven-second Splinter Gets Cake additional scene shows more of Mikey’s return home after his birthday party performance. It’s pretty fun even without access to all the basic audio. (Have I made my point that I don’t like the “commentary only” presentation?)
Next comes the three-minute and 50-second TMNT Internet Reel. This essentially acts as a long promo that originally popped up on the Internet. It takes various bits from the final movie and re-introduces the main characters. It’s moderately interesting as a 10-cent synopsis of the film.
After this we find a featurette called TMNT Voice Talent First Look. In this five-minute piece, we get comments from Munroe, Wang, producer Thomas K. Gray, and actors Patrick Stewart, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Laurence Fishburne. It’s a basic puff piece that recaps the story and tells us the movie will be awesome. It provides no greater depth than that.
A few ads open the DVD. We get promos for Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, The Last Mimzy, GameTap, Fred Claus, TMNT: The Video Game, TMNT toys, Space Ghost and Dino Boy, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio and Droopy: The Complete Theatrical Collection. No trailer for TMNT appears.
With TMNT, fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles find their heroes in a pretty decent big-screen adventure. At no point does the movie threaten to become great, but it keeps the viewer reasonably engaged across its brief running time. The DVD offers very good picture and audio along with a few interesting supplements. This is a worthwhile purchase for Turtles fans.