Sunday, December 21, 2003

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Yet another of my child hood programs has a refit for the modern day. This one really isn’t that much of a surprise considering how much of a success it was the first time. By my reckoning it’s also the youngest. The Tutles I watched lasted into the 90s, so this new series isn’t a major overhaul like He-Man has been. The stories have a similar feel with the humour much better than it was before where it relied on the stupidity of the villains.

The first difference you notice if you’re from the UK is it’s actually called Teenage Mutant NINJA Turtles instead of Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles because of some stupid law there was back then making Ninjas and Michelangelo’s nun-chucks illegal. Next is the art style, which is very very nice. Also the characterisation of the Turtles themselves is much better, to me Raphael was a slightly less cooler Michelangelo before, now they seem to have gone with the movie (and quite probably the comic that started it all) version of Raph. All the better for it, in the old cartoon Raph always felt that the character wasn’t adding much now he does. Finally the theme tune, and it’s another bad one, the 80’s tune was much better and that’s saying something. As for Shredder, well my viewing to meet him but judging from the adverts it’s another good improvement. The Foot are proper ninjas now instead of robots that fall apart all the time. No Bebop and Rock Steady, ok I loved them as kids, but really what were they except comedy relief?

So in closing another good update from my childhood. Now if someone will get round to bringing back MASK! Just don’t go doing a Transformers Armada!

Friday, December 19, 2003

Teen Titans GO!

I’ve just watched my first ever episode of Teen Titans (ok so I’m slow, I have to wait till I’m visiting my parents to see it). Overall I impressed, I had a feeling it was going to all nice and fluffy, thankfully it’s not. The animation is pretty good, especially considering I’d just watched an episode of Static Shock and that animation is dire! The characterisation of Robin is spot on (assuming they are going for the Dick Grayson Robin as it looks like they are) as seems Beast Boy, who should be called Changeling like in the old comics but never mind. Cyborg is pretty good character as well, I’m not sure if he’s that similar to the comic version or not due to my limited exposure to both. Raven didn’t appear enough for me to make a judgement.

The choice of Slade as the main bad guy is a damn good choice as well. He’s not the Slade Wilson we know from the comics but with his relationship to the Titans in them it makes perfect sense.

I do have some qualms about it though. Starfire is a complete wimp. I don’t have a problem with them tweaking characters so they work better (which I think is what they did Cyborg and definitely for Slade), but they completely and utterly inverted Starfire’s personality. Next the intro, whoever decided on that song deserves shooting. This from the same people that brought us Batman, Superman and Batman Beyond whose intros were fantastic. The animation to go alongside it is good though and a nice step away from the CGI intro they tried for Justice League.

And now my biggest gripe. This is purely personal preference. It doesn’t relate to what has come before. Batman, Superman, Batman Beyond and Justice are all the same continuity, one that started in 1991, but isn’t required knowledge. Suddenly it’s abandoned for this one. The Robin can’t be the Dick Grayson or Tim Drake from the Batman cartoon. I know it sounds silly but it bugs me.

Update - 20 December 2003

Well I’ve now heard the Japanese sung intro and I no longer hate it. Much better! Raven is another character that falls into the “tweaked to suit the cartoon better” and well done too. Aqualad makes a guest appearance, and quite a good one too. But why call him Aqualad, that just ties him into Aquaman and to my knowledge there has been no tie into the other cartoon’s continuity, why not call him Tempest, one to separate him and two it does sound a damn sight better. Oh and Marv Wolfman is writing it which takes it up a few places in my books.