Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. After the spotty visuals of the first movie’s Blu-ray, I hoped the sequel would provide stronger picture quality. And it did, though the transfer still seemed erratic.
Grained remained an issue. While it was substantially less prominent than with the prior flick, Ooze still suffered from grain levels that appeared excessive at times. Nonetheless, this wasn’t a huge issue, and it didn’t mar the proceedings to the degree I saw during Turtles.
This meant the ramifications of the heavy grain weren’t felt to the same degree. For one, colors improved. The hues of Ooze looked pretty bright and peppy much of the time. A few shots were a little flat, but the tones usually appeared lively. At least we can actually tell the difference between orange and red masks; they looked virtually the same in the first movie.
Blacks remained fairly dark and deep, but shadows showed growth. Again, the lessened levels of grain helped in this regard, as low-light shots were better able to demonstrate greater clarity. Those scenes could still seem a bit murky, but they were usually fine.
Sharpness also demonstrated improvements. A few shots – especially during interiors – looked somewhat soft and fuzzy, but the movie usually provided good definition. While I didn’t think it showed excellent delineation, the image was generally positive. Source flaws were modest; a few specks appeared but nothing serious interfered. I thought this was a “C+” transfer.
That was a definite improvement over the picture grade for Turtles, and Ooze marked an even bigger step up when I examined the film’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. The original flick suffered from boomy, muddy audio that lacked good placement. While Ooze didn’t offer a killer soundtrack, it certainly worked much better than its predecessor.
Audio quality showed substantial improvements. Bass response was appropriate and demonstrated nice warmth and depth. The mix lost the super-heavy low-end that overwhelmed the first film; instead, we got clean tones that matched the material well.
This meant the rest of the audio was able to succeed. Speech was natural and concise, while effects offered good clarity and accuracy. Music was also pretty full and rich, though it could appear a little wan at times.
As for the soundfield, it provided much better localization. Music showed nice stereo imaging, and effects cropped up around the room in a logical, well-integrated manner. The surrounds added solid involvement but didn’t overwhelm us like they did in the first movie. While this wasn’t a great soundtrack, it merited a “B”.
Only one disc-based extra appears here: the film’s trailer. However, the “25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition” – which is currently the only way to get this flick on Blu-ray – includes a few non-disc-based components.
Of most interest, we get a comic book. This offers a black and white adaptation of the first Turtles movie. Done by Turtles creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, it’s a fun way to experience the film’s story.
We also find Photo/Biography Cards for eight characters, a sketch “signed” by Laird, and a “radical” beanie. The cards are nice; they look good and they have nice biographies on them. The sketch is less interesting, and since I’ll assume the signature is just a reproduction, it loses impact. As for the beanie… if anyone actually wears one of those in public, I’ll be shocked.
Produced literally as soon as its predecessor showed box office life, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze feels like an extension of the first flick. Take that for better or for worse, but at least the sequel doesn’t disappoint; if the original entertained you, I expect you’ll enjoy Ooze as well. The Blu-ray works better, at least; it provides generally good picture along with very nice audio. Extras remain insubstantial, unfortunately. Still, this is a fairly positive presentation of the film.
Note: the Ooze Blu-ray currently appears only as part of a “25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition” boxed set. This also includes 1990’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1993’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles in Time, and 2007’s TMNT.