Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem - 4K Ultra HD Blu-rayOverview -
After numerous cartoons, games, and films, the heroes in a half-shell have plenty of pizza-power in them with the action-packed and poignantly hilarious Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem written and produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, this new animated TMNT adventure does for our fearless foursome what Into the Spider-Verse did for Spider-Man breathing new exciting life and energy into an old franchise. Now on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, the film oozes with a lovely Dolby Vision transfer and near demo-worthy Atmos mix. Highly Recommended
After years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtle brothers set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers through heroic acts. Their new friend April O’Neil helps them take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them.
- TEENage Mutant Ninja Turtles— For the first time the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are voiced by actual teenagers! Hear how each Turtle was cast and how having all four boys record together helped create the authentic camaraderie seen on screen.
- The Mutant Uprising— Get to know the Turtles’ mutant antagonists, led by the wild and original character Superfly, voiced by Ice Cube.
- New York, New York: The Visual World of MUTANT MAYHEM— Take a deep dive into the breakthrough visual style of the film’s characters and environments and how they evolved over time.
- Learn to Draw Leo—Try your hand at drawing the Turtle leader with this fun tutorial!
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
Why does Hollywood love to revisit its beloved franchises again and again? As we’ve seen many times in the last few years, when it goes wrong, the “new” version can suck on toast. But as we’ve also seen (perhaps less often), when it goes right, it can be genuinely amazing and fans eat it up like a fresh-baked double cheese and extra pepperoni. So how do you reignite the aged Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise after six films and countless video games, a live-action television series, and too-numerous-to-count cartoons? Apparently, all you needed was writer/producer duo Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg with co-writer and director Jeff Rowe and Kyler Spears to rock our favorite Shell-Shocked Pizza Kings.
For Michaelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, and Donatello (Shamon Brown Jr, Nicholas Cantu, Brady Noon, and Micah Abbey respectively), life in the sewers can be a pretty big adventure. You get a lot of privacy. Virtually every tunnel is a rock’n halfpipe waiting to be shredded, and you can even get a pretty good Wi-Fi single. While everything is fine and good down in the muck, the brothers long to rise to the surface and live among the humans. Maybe I didn’t mention that part, these boys are turtles. Teenage, mutant, ninja, turtles to be precise and they’ve lived underground with their mutant rat father Splinter (Jackie Chan) their whole lives. Through a chance encounter with the burgeoning school reporter April O’Neil (Ayo Edebiri), the boys will have their chance to become heroes when the giant mutant Superfly (Ice Cube) and his gang of critters threaten all of New York City.
At 41, I’ve been a TMNT fan going on 36 years now. I remember being wowed by every episode of the classic series every day after kindergarten. After hunting every toy store in town for ages, I remember finally finding my first actual Turtle figure (Leonardo) in a toy bin at a mom-and-pop hardware store, of all places. I remember going to Pizza Hut and hearing that classic theme song blast over the restaurant from the giant four-player arcade machine where I lost uncountable numbers of quarters. I still remember opening that NES arcade port on Christmas morning (I’d asked Santa for the actual arcade machine but I guess that didn’t fit on the sleigh). Through every movie, through every series reincarnation, I’ve been right there for it. Okay, well maybe not the live-action show, which just got weird when they gave Venus turtle boobs, just the same I never stopped being a Turtle fan.
After the last two live-action films produced by Michael Bay that ranged from “pretty damn bad” to just “alright,” I only hoped for a “decent” TMNT movie to come along. I didn’t expect or even want it to cater to my nostalgic middle-aged man-child want for those badass Jim Henson puppet suits. I just wanted it to feel true to the characters Eastman and Laird birthed in Dover, New Hampshire so many decades ago. Thanks to Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and co-directors Jeff Rowe and Kyler Spears, I got what I wanted to see in a new Ninja Turtle adventure with Mutant Mayhem.
The film was a blast from start to finish with a new take on the classic origin story for our half-shelled heroes and a big new villain with Ice Cube’s Superfly. The voice cast of actual teenagers is a huge highlight. Shamon Brown Jr, Nicholas Cantu, Brady Noon, and Micah Abbey make each turtle their own giving the sibling teenage dynamic plenty of vigor. After years of Shredder and the Foot Clan, it was a big breath of fresh air for the franchise to not rehash old ground right out of the gate. Superfly and his cohorts Rocksteady, Bebop, Leatherhead, Wingnut, Mondo Gecko, Ray Fillet, and Genghis Frog (John Cena, Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Natasia Demetriou, Paul Rudd, Post Malone, and Hannibal Buress respectively) have a real mission that’s a threat to the city giving our boys their best hope to become heroes.
We see a new Baxter Stockman (Giancarlo Esposito) as the catalyst for our heroes’ creation with a malevolent corporate overlord Cynthia Utrom (Maya Rudolph doing her best Helen Mirren) lurking in the background. The film even offers up a hilariously brilliant switcheroo for how Splinter and the boys became sewer-dwelling martial arts masters. Recasting Ayo Edebiri’s April O’Neil as a high school-aged student reporter was a fun move making her friendship with the Turtles more impactful and relatable as a gang of social misfits. Not to leave everything to character development, the action sequences are exciting and the final showdown is a true hoot. Throw in an excellent Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross score and you have a visually and auditorally stunning flick.
All of the great action, story direction, and writing in Mutant Mayhem wouldn’t be worth a gallon of pizza grease without a talented team of art designers. Woodrow White, Julez Itzkoff, Adel Sabi, Justin Runfola, and Garrett Lee under the art direction of Arthur Fong and Tiffany Lam Almack did an amazing job bringing this new iteration of the Turtles to life. An homage to the gritty unpolished vibe of Eastman and Laird’s original comics, the film also feels like the kind of drawings and doodles my friends and I would do when we were kids. When we should have been paying attention in class, we’d be creating our own new mutant characters with stubby worn-down-tooth-marked pencils.
Sure, the greatness of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem could be endlessly debated among the legion of fans out there, but for this OG fan, I was more than satisfied with it. In fact, it’s in my top three Turtles movies next to the first two live-action films. At my age, it starts to feel a little weird catching these films alone in theaters (in 3-D too) without my son in tow. He’s in a Godzilla phase right now and the Turtles aren’t his thing, yet. Essentially, this is a kid's movie but the 40-plus-year-old fans that spawned said kids can enjoy it too. A modest success in theaters, I hope Paramount really does get to work on a sequel so this series doesn’t prematurely die out. We didn’t need a third Michael Bay-produced film - we needed this. Give us more of this! Also, I wouldn’t mind a Sony Spider-Man-styled video game for this version of the Turtles. Just saying, I’d play the hell out of that game.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD
The secret of the ooze may have made these chosen few, but Paramount brings TMNT: Mutant Mayhem to 4K Ultra HD. A Single-disc UHD + Digital release, the film is pressed on a BD-66 disc and is housed in a standard black case with identical slipcover art. The disc loads to a static-image main menu with traditional navigation options.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem slices its way onto 4K disc with a terrific 2160p Dolby Vision (HDR10 too) transfer. Now, in theaters, I saw this in 3-D and the art design and animation really lent itself to that viewing experience. While I’m sad to see there isn’t a 3-D Blu-ray out there in the world yet (please get us a 3-D disc Paramount!), this 2-D 4K transfer is fantastic. Each of our human and mutant characters offers up terrific clarity and fine line details. When Superfly takes his “final form” in the last act, it’s a hoot to just pause the film and look at all the critters and creatures in those scenes. The Dolby Vision HDR grade also does wonders for this film giving the dynamic colors plenty of life while paying extra care and attention to black levels. The film overall has a dark brown and heavy magenta/purple feel to the color scheme so getting a little extra separation in shadows and colors helped make the visuals pop off the screen. Even without a 3-D Blu-ray, I felt there was a terrific sense of depth to the image, especially for the really big intricate action sequences. We don’t have a standard 1080p Blu-ray available for comparison, but I’m more than pleased with this 4K release.
On the audio side, Mutant Mayhem works up some sonic mischief with a dynamite Dolby Atmos audio track. This is a BIG-sounding film letting those front, side, rear, and height channels get plenty of attention. At times the soundscape feels pretty front/center focused but the side, rear, and height channels kick in to give the Reznor/Ross score room while adding some extra ambient atmospherics. Between echo effects and dripping water sounds in the sewers to punching up the great classic and contemporary funk songs, heights are almost always engaged in some function. When the action starts, there’s plenty of hyper-active pin-point activity throughout the soundscape. LFE also puts plenty of rumble in the subs. I mean, it has a score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross so that’s expected, but explosions and big heavy impact effects really land. It might not be on the scale of something like Top Gun: Maverick but if you want a damn fun flick to show off your audio system for, this is a good candidate.
On the extra features side, things might be a bit slim, but there are some small meaty pieces here to enjoy. Most of these extras are the basic EPK talking-head segments covering various aspects of the production without much depth. The coverage on actually using teenage actors for the voices and the design work of the mutants and the world is really cool, I just wish there was more to it than a few soundbites. The longest and probably the most “fun” of the pack is the Learn to Draw Leo featurette from Art For Kids Hub - which only makes you ask why they didn’t do this for the other three turtles, let alone all of the other mutants!? It’s still an awesome extra and one I definitely could have used about 33 years ago even if all they teach is how to draw the head.
- TEENage Mutant Ninja Turtles (HD 6:14)
- The Mutant Uprising (HD 8:34)
- New York, New York: The Visual World of Mutant Mayhem (HD 5:57)
- Learn to Draw Leo (HD 21:21)
In a year of underperforming blockbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem felt like the perfect IP relaunch not enough people saw or gave a chance. Now streaming and on 4K and Blu-ray discs, I dearly hope that changes. After a few lackluster TMNT films, Mutant Mayhem was the perfect opportunity to introduce Mikey, Donny, Leo, and Raph to a new generation of fans and sell some really cool new toys. Turtle fans young and old need to check this movie out. Now three times through, I still get a kick out of this flick with the great voice cast, terrific art direction, fun action, and great humor. Sure, I’ll cop to 36 years of nostalgia influencing my opinion, but I wouldn’t say that about the last two films, so that’s got to count for something. A visually and auditorially stunning 4K release, I only wish this set had more meaningful extras. But if you aim to grab this for the 4K shelf, all the same I’m calling it Highly Recommended
Order your copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
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