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Back in the 1980s, the 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' were one of the biggest hit franchises and a firm favourite with kids all over the world, but can those heroes in a half-shell have the same impact in the new millennium?

Starting as a cult comic book and then becoming a cartoon, a video game, toys and three hit live action movies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a phenomenally successful franchise. But kids' trends tend to fade away over time.

You cannot keep a hero down, however, because they will always come fighting back. Now is the time for Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo to return with a new big screen adventure.

With their archenemy Shredder dead, the Turtles now face a new threat that could bring about the end of the world.

Immortal warlord Max Winters has been waiting three thousand years for a portal to another dimension to reopen so he can free his generals from their stone prison and unleash the monster army waiting on the other side of the portal. With New York and the world under threat, it is up to the Turtles to save the day, but the problem is that they are not getting along. This plot gives the filmmakers the chance to combine action with character development.

Unlike the three previous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, the fourth film takes the franchise back to animation, but this time our heroes are all computer generated. This allows the filmmakers to remove all of the shackles of live action and show the Turtles and the world they inhabit in its full glory.

Now the Ninjas have the whole of Manhattan as their playground and the world is beautifully realised and designed to create a fantastic looking movie. Animation is quite simply superb with the character and environment design being as good if not better in places that anything that has graced the computer animation genre as of late. The freedom also allows the filmmakers to create action sequences that are as good as any live action movie could with absolutely no restrictions.

TMNT is a joy to watch. Fans of the heroes in a half-shell should rejoice at their return to the silver screen and for those who are too young to remember the Turtles, this is an excellent introduction to the reptilian ninjas. With exceptional vocal performances from an all-star cast and action sequences that will enthral you whatever age you are, this is a brilliant animated movie that is destined to become a cult classic.

Cowabunga, Dudes!


Jamie Kelwick

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