Review & Comparison! OS TMNT 4 to Nick TMNT

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This is the day I would normally write a review about the newest episode of Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I would go on about the plots, characters, favorite scenes, and if I like or don’t like the changes made to characters in the show.  These are normally fun write ups sharing my inside view of the Nickelodeon series.  And while I wish I could say these are weekly, they’re not.  Nickelodeon every now and then takes a break, making us fans hold our breath just a little bit longer in waiting for the next installment of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  So what do I do?  I re hatch the old series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Today I’ll do a review comparison of the fourth episode of the original series, comparing it to the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant NInja Turtles series.  Hope everyone enjoys this read.

I reviewed and compared the Nickelodeon theme song to the original series theme song.  So I’m not going to start there.  This review will all be about the episode itself.  In this episode the Turtles meet the Neutrinos, learn about Krang and Dimension X.  And go on a mission to help the Neutrinos return home.  We also get to see Rock Soldiers for the first time.  Another key episode put right into the front of the series for us.  As we meet key characters who will be seen again throughout the series.

The Turtles drive up to Baxter’s place as Donatello says that with all of Baxter’s stuff he’s left here they can turn the van into a tracking system that can find the Technodrome. The Turtles push the van up the staircase to Baxter’s lab where Donatello starts to work on it right away. They discuss what’s going on as Don questions why they’re the ones who have to stop Shredder.

This scene is a very unbelievable scene.  It would've been better if Baxter had like a warehouse or something, as we see in the Nickelodeon series “I think his name is Baxter Stockman”.  While it’s nice to see he can’t afford that in the original cartoon, the idea of them bringing the van in the building and up the stairs is just very far fetched.  As a kid I laughed and laughed at this.  Thinking the buildings in New York must have big staircases.  Now I’ve been to New York and have seen just how much smaller everything is inside the buildings there.  It’s hard to carry bags up the staircases in New York, I can’t picture what damage a van would do to those old buildings.  I watch this scene these days and just shake my head at how wrong it is.

Once I get over my little rant of how unrealistic that scene is and remember that it’s just a cartoon. I do find this a fun scene.  As we get to see Donatello start on making the Turtle van.  We get to see Donatello’s first time talking up about not liking it that it’s them having to fight crime when they’re outcast.  This was explored later in the series as well in episodes like “Planet of the Turtleoids”.  It was one of the things I liked about Donatello in the series.

Back in the Technodrome Krang is annoyed that Shredder has not built him his body.  Shredder explains that he’s too busy with turning the punks into mutants to fight the Turtles and Hamato Yoshi.  Bebop and Rocksteady want another crack at taking down the Turtles themselves.  Krang whines that he has an army waiting for him in Dimension X, once he has his body he will call forth his warriors from Dimension X.  Shredder admits he does not trust Krang, though does get the idea to pull the weapons he needs from Dimension X.

Here we get to see Bebop and Rocksteady before they become totally dumb loyal minions.  When standing up for themselves they even call the Shredder, Pal.  As in they’re not totally submissive to him at this time.  I don’t recall them doing this in later episodes as they more refer to Shredder as Master Shredder, or The Shredder.  It has been awhile since I’ve watched the full series, so as I go through reviewing these I may find other episodes where they do call him things like this.  Just don’t remember it happening much to Shredder’s face.

This is an important scene in the episode as Saki gets the idea to pull the weapons from Dimension X.  And I find it interesting seeing the other Mutants that Shredder made, whom we don’t really get to see fight the Turtles.  We do get to see the bat mutant again, but I don’t recall seeing much of the other gang members who were mutated again.  I do wish we did get to see more of those mutants so it made sense that we saw them mutated.  There was a Lizard, bat, dog and one other.  I can’t help but chuckle seeing the dog now since one of the main Foot mutants is Dogpound in the Nickelodeon TMNT series.  We can truly say that the first Mutant dog in the history of Ninja Turtles did not even get to fight the Turtles in one show.

The Turtle Van is done, as Leonardo wishes for a taller roof in the van and Michaelangelo wonders where the pizza oven is.  Donatello explains it can do what they need it to do and has a ton of weapons.  The brothers agree to find the Technodrome and convince April to ride the Turtle van down the stairs.  They safely get down the stairs and pull out onto the street.

Again... knowing just how much my car has taken by going over a few rocks... the idea of the van coming out of that without any real bad breaks... it’s not all that believable.  It’s a full cartoon skit.  This is something the recent series do try to avoid, the notion of them doing things that can’t be done in real life.  Both 4Kids and Nickelodeon have done real well not to do very cartoony scenes like this.  Which I am a bit thankful for, as my head is trying to wrap around this and just can’t.  While fun as a kid, as an adult I know a bit more about cars and buildings... this just does not work.

Shredder is excited to open the portal to Dimension X for the first time, just thinking of the weapons he will gain.  When it opens two flying cars come through with what seems to be three teenagers.  Rocksteady and Bebop try to shoot them down, but they get away.  Just after the teenagers get away, a flying tank come through as Bebop and Rocksteady are able to take it down.  The Teenagers leave the Technodrome.  And the Turtles are driving to find the Technodrome realizing it’s under the World Trade Center.   April comments that is one way to get a parking spot.

First I have to say, that is my first time to realize where the Technodrome was in this episode.  I did not know of the World trade Center as a kid, and did not pay that much attention to the location through all these years.  This is my first time really paying a hundred percent attention to this episode since 2001 and I have to say a part of me just stared at the screen when I realized.  I can say I know where I was on September 11th, 2001 when the news came in about an airplane hitting the World Trade Center, so to see it in the Turtle show is a bit deep all these years later.  My thoughts still go out to all the lives that were lost there.  It is good to see it in the show, as a spot that will be held in TMNT history other than just a background piece for the skyline of the city, but the spot where the Technodrome was the Neutrinos first came through to Earth.

Here we are seeing a big key moment the Turtles are closing in on the Shredder, as Shredder is gaining access to Dimension X for his first time.  Dimension X will play an important role through the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.  This is the only time in TMNT history we’ve seen the Turtles truly have a hard time tracking the Shredder down.  With the Technodrome Shredder was on the run and the Turtles would have to look for him.  But the 4Kids Series the Turtles knew which building to attack in “Return to New York”.  And now the Nickelodeon TMNT Series in “Panic in the Sewers” we see the Turtles once again just pulling up at Shredder’s base.  At least in the original cartoon there was a lot of thought in how the Turtles found the Shredder.  This is something I can respect.

The Rock soldiers get into a short fight with Bebop and Rocksteady, Shredder stops the fight to try and talk to them.  Though they blow them off having to catch the Neutrinos.  The Turtles see a Subway entrance as the only way down to the Technodrome, though when they go to drive down there the Neutrinos buzz out of the Subway stairwell, and the Turtles decide this is something Shredder is throwing at them and go chasing the Neutrinos.

Once again I look at the impossible because of life experiences.  Subway entrances are not big enough for any of this.  I guess a part of me always liked the idea of picturing these events being able to happen in our world even if the Turtles are not real, nor the Technodrome or even Dimension X.   But when they’re trying to take real stuff and fit into the story, old New York buildings, Subways, The World Trade Center, and even the sewers.  It would be nice to think that they are trying to make it somewhat believable who to those who live around those areas.  I am a child from Michigan I could laugh and enjoy the show with the idea that this could happen if they were real.  But what of the children of New York City?  How many stopped and stared at the Subway entrance near the World Trade Center and asked.. can the Neutrinos cars fit through this?  I know there was one larger entrance to that subway compared to the normal entrances but it was not a side entrance like what they were about to drive down into.

Stepping back a little... pull myself out, this is just a cartoon show.  They don’t have to get everything right... but this many moments in one episode where I’m saying “What?” is distracting me from enjoying this as much as an adult as I did as a child.   I’ll also like to point out the lack of people on the streets during this, or even going up and down those stairs at the subway.  This is something they have in common with Nickelodeon, the lack of New Yorkers.  The City that never sleeps is empty and April feels comfortable enough to drive down subway steps not knowing if bystanders could be coming up from a ride on the subway.

Trying to step back again... sorry everyone.  I do enjoy that we see the Neutrinos arrive and get away from the Foot.  I like that the Turtles do not realize they’re friends when they first see them.  And I like that the Rock Soldiers are so into the mission that they do not give Shredder the time of day, but do think that the mention of Krang may have gotten their heads to turn a little more than it did.  For a Cartoon, it works with comedy and action.  For a fan looking for a mixture of realism and cartoon, this is hard to take in.

The Rock Soldiers are running through the Technodrome trying to find where the Neutrinos went.  Krang sees them, and freaks out.  When they realize it’s Krang, they turn their head to not disrespect him asking where his body is.  Krang explains how he lost it when he was banished here.  Shredder comes bursting in saying that the others blasted their way out of the Technodrome.  The Rock Soldiers are upset, as Krang realizes that there are Neutrinos here as they describe what Neutrinos are to us. Hate War, refuse to join any army and encourage others to have fun.

This is one of few times where it truly is realized that Krang did lose a body being sent here.  There are other times where this is mentioned.  And even an episode where Krang makes clones as they grow their bodies.  But there is also one flashback where Krang is shown as what he is in Dimension X with other Brains.  Though Traag took notice of the missing body he also knew it was really Krang.  Does this mean that Traag has seen this before?  One would have to wonder about the history here.

Krang seems so small next to the Rock Soldiers when they turn to hear that the Neutrinos escaped.  I know he’s small, but the sizing seemed a little off to me here.  Other than that this was a good scene, just giving me more thoughts of what could’ve of been done in the original cartoon series.  The Archie Comics and this series is the only two areas that made it so Krang lost his body so far.  In the 4Kids and IDW series Krang is an Utrom, and 4Kids barely had him in it he was just a joke that went through one scene.  In the Nickelodeon series we have a full race named Kraang.  This is just how they look.  No excuse of a lost body, they are not brains... they have brains inside of them.  Even the Mirage Comics had Utroms.  This is one of the big differences between the original cartoon Krang from the others.

The Turtles are chasing down the Neutrinos as Donatello is tracking them with the Turtle Van.  Once they catch up the Turtles use “The Turtle Launcher” from the Turtle Van to be flung up to the flying cars and work at forcing the Neutrinos to land.  Once the Neutrinos land the Turtles learn that they are not working for the Shredder.  April catches up to them when she is told they’re cool.  The Turtles get the Neutrinos to a fun place where they can play games.  April is the only one still confused and trying to figure things out.  She asks what Dimension X is, as the Neutrinos now inform them about Dimension X.  April is worried about what else may have come through that portal from Dimension X.

What gets me here is that they act like all Neutrinos are young, that only kids don’t fight in the wars.  But later in this series we see adult Neutrinos.  Which conflicts with what is said here.  It’s not youth that makes them difference, it’s what they are.  When I first saw this I thought they meant the adults to Neutrinos was Rock Soldiers, that’s what they changed into when they got older.  That would’ve been a cool and interesting touch to the show.  This scene did establish their personalities and that they live where there is a lot of war. Getting the Turtles to care for the characters and realize how bad they have it.  It also brings the realization that other really bad things are still coming from Dimension X.

Just at that moment the Arcade the Turtles are in with the Neutrinos is attacked by the Rock Soldiers.  They call the Neutrinos out.  The Turtles get into the Turtle van with April as the Neutrinos run back to their cars and the fight starts off.  They take down the Technorover.   As the Rock Soldiers get out and ready to battle, the Turtles turn around to face them off.  Till the Police showed up.  The Turtles start to think about why Shredder has a gateway opened up to another Dimension and realizes that the Stone Warriors is only the beginning.  They get out of there before being caught, with the Neutrinos to go fill Splinter in about all they have learned.  While the Rock Soldiers have all the police coming up on them, Traag decides to use Krang’s

Weather Satellite, to create weather that could destroy the City.  Then they head back to the Technodrome.

Is it bad that every time I see this scene I remember Oprah?  They used the part of April driving as a clip to show April O’Neil in the cartoon show while Oprah was interviewing the Coming Out of Their Shells Tour Turtles in October 1990.  Since then, every time I see this scene of the episode, I think of the clip they showed.  There are so many better examples of April in the cartoon series, like her fighting the Mousers in “A Thing about Rats”.

This is a nice action scene with the Turtle van.  Seeing April as a real part of the team.  I really like this as a great example of the action that we could get in the original cartoon.  Each of the Turtles were doing a part as the Neutrinos were helping out.  I also think it was good that it took them getting a moment to breath in the fight before realizing this is only the beginning of what Shredder is up too.  I also like that Traag had one of Krang’s inventions on him, but found it bad that the other Rock Soldier was in the dark on what it was.  True that was to explain things to the viewers, but never been a fan of that reason to explain stuff at us.

The Rock Soldiers get off to the side realizing they need to get to Krang before the Neutrinos find and attack him.  They see a truck and try to get it started with no luck, as the police surround them and have them get out of the car.  Once out of the car the police open fire, without being able to hurt the Rock Soldiers.  The Rock Soldiers take off to get to Krang’s protection.

This scene gets to me for a few reasons. When the police told them to get out of the truck they listened and got out.  There was no fight from the Rock Soldiers side, they showed no threat to the cops.  They just stood there.  Then the police open fire?  What is that telling us about the NYPD?  They knew something was going on, but at this point these things have not attacked them, usually Police would want to try and tell them to come along peacefully.  But there was no such line here, it was just open fire.  I do find it interesting that the Rock Soldiers find them as no threat, they do not even bother to get upset at the Police for attacking, they just have concern about Krang and leave.  Do the Police not follow to try and find a way to hurt them?

Down in the Turtles lair Splinter is now part of the group as they’re talking to the Neutrinos.  The Neutrinos inform them of Krang and how he was banished so he is now just some way out brain.  Michaelangelo points out that he saw a brain.  As the Turtles realize that Krang is the reason Shredder has this portal.  They ask how many Rock Soldiers Krang has and is told Zillions.  The Neutrinos and the Turtles swear to stop them from bringing those Rock Soldiers here.

This is when the Turtles realize just how serious their fight with the Shredder is.  This is no longer just a battle to stop Shredder and get Splinter back human, this is now to save the World.  The battle just grew much larger.  The Nickelodeon series just went through an episode like this, where the Turtles realize that the world is in danger of an alien takeover.  In the episode TCRI, the Turtles even get to fight Traag.  With this, we see that both the original series and the Nickelodeon series share this mission.  The 4Kids series did not have this threat from Krang or even the Shredder, while they did fight alien take overs it was outside enemies.  The IDW Comics is also showing that Krang is a threat that is planning to take over with his Rock Soldiers.  Making these the three areas of TMNT History that keep Krang as a threat to the entire Planet.

The Turtles leave the lair and come up through an elevator into a phone booth.  There’s snow, at this point April points out that it’s June.  The Neutrinos point out Krang’s weather maker.  They get into their vehicles and go hunting the Technodrome.

Even more of a reason to be annoyed that one Rock Soldier did not know about the Weather Satellite, seeing as how the Neutrinos even know what it is.  I do like that we get a month that this takes place.  With how close these episodes are placed together we now know what time of the year it was aimed for.  I think it’s a cool fact that could be used in some TMNT fan trivia.  The only problem I have is, Dimension X has the same weather as Earth to have a Weather Maker that makes the weather that Earth knows of?

The Turtles drive straight to the Technodrome.  They realize they can not get the Turtle Van into the Technodrome, having April wait outside they ride with the Neutrinos in the flying cars up into the whole that they blasted their way out through.  They go straight to the portal room, Leo and Don stay there as the other Turtles go to face off against Krang.   Bebop and Rocksteady come in attacking Leo and Don.  Donatello finds a button that makes part of the floor disappear, causing Bebop and Rocksteady to drop out of the fight.  While Raphael and Michaelangelo get to see Krang with Shredder and the Rock Soldiers, when they try to attack a shield blocks them.  The Neutrinos, Mike and Raph return to Leo and Don to help Leo fight the Foot Soldiers.

Setting up the fight so where we can see where all the players are.  At this time Bebop and Rocksteady were treated a lot more serious, so getting them off the screen was easier for them to focus on the Rock Soldiers and the big threats on hand.  What surprised me was they could drive right up to the Technodrome.  Why would Shredder keep the Techondrome under the World Trade Center when he knew the Neutrinos blasted their way out at that location.

The Rock Soldiers get in the room as Donatello get the portal working.  Michaelangelo learns that his chucks don’t work against rock, as Don points out a barrel of Silicone Lubricant for Mike to tip over. Mike tips over the barrel, then Mike and Don push the Rock Soldiers on the Lubricant through the portal.  Shredder and Krang watch this annoyed from a view screen.  Don tells the Neutrinos it’s their turn, they don’t want to go but realize they have to carry on their fight in Dimension X.  The Neutrinos say good bye and go through the portal.

How did Donatello know that was Silicone Lubricant in the barrel?  It was not labeled.  Now it feels like the fight is being rushed, while it’s all good action, the threats are all being taken out of the picture real fast.  It’s a rushed pace, while still giving us each of these main threats in the fight.  I find it interesting that the Neutrinos say they don’t fight they just try to have fun, but then their reason to go home was to keep fighting Krang in Dimension X.

The Turtles turn to face the Shredder, but an earthquake reminds them of the Weather maker.  They agree to take Shredder out first, but he split out of the fight.  So the Turtles take the Neutrinos car that they left behind and go after the Weather Maker.  Their car can not get close enough and Don can not seem to hit the weather maker with the weapons, so Leo jumps out of the car and slices it with his sword.  Donatello catches him as the weather maker is broken and the day is saved.

This is one of those scenes you just remember in the series.  Leonardo jumping high in the sky to cut that weather maker in half.  Showing just how heroic he is.  Even though I still find it odd that the weather maker had Earth weather, it was still an interesting weapon.

Shredder now sees that he is going to need Krang’s help in stopping the Turtles.  As he agrees to build Krang his new body.  Krang is very happy that Shredder has finally decided to see his way.

These touches show that Shredder had to be pushed to this level.  He never trusted Krang from the beginning, just wanted to use Krang.  Though now everything they have done has failed.  It is time for him to break down and do as Krang wishes.  All this to destroy the Turtles and Splinter.  I’ve often wondered, if Shredder did not trust Krang this much, how did they meet?  Why did Krang trust Shredder with all of the technology?

Back in the lair the Turtles are going to bed, all in their bunk beds as April is reading the Tortoise and the Hare to them.   As she finishes reading they ask for her to read it again, with very sleepy voices.  She says she read it five times and gets up from where she was sitting as Leonardo walks in the room, the only turtle not in bed.  When she calls the others sleepy heads, Leo’s reply is “They’ll need their rest, because tomorrow we will find the Shredder, and finish him”.

A nice wrap up to show that they do get some sleep before their big battle with the Shredder.  I do still find them in bunk beds funny since we know about those other bigger beds they got built into the sewers.  This is my first memory of the Tortoise and the Hare being used in TMNT, though it’s not the last time as we’ve seen plenty of other mentions of that famous race.  But there is none more memorable than the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie where Don and Mike are watching it as a cartoon on TV and Mikey yells “Ninja Kick the Damn Rabbit! Do something!”  This was a nice wrap up to a fast paced episode.

They really did cram a lot into this episode, it could've been made into a two parter to put a better pace on things and a more serious fight scene. Though with only five episodes approved at the time, they did the best they could.  Give the Neutrinos their introduction to the TMNT realm, letting us see the Rock Soldiers and bringing the Turtle Van into the series as the awesome van that it is.  Giving it moments to show how strong Donatello made it, going down stairs, chasing down Neutrinos, and standing up against the Technorover.   In the Nickelodeon Series this episode can be compared to “The Gauntlet”, mainly for the fast pace with some wonderful scenes.

Of course I truly do enjoy this episode.  Even though I pick on all the unrealistic stuff to it, I can stand back and say this is only a cartoon.  Get my laughs where they are meant to be and use this as a fun outlet for entertainment.  It is not my favorite of the first five episodes, but being in the first five episodes the events that happened here impact the rest of the series from the rides, enemies to their friends.

Have you seen "Hot-Rodding Teenagers From Dimension X"?  What is your thoughts on this episode?  Do you compare it to any of the other medias out there of the Ninja Turtles?  Please share reviews, comments and questions below!

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Comments

The weather in Dimension X may differ between planets, of course.

Good review. Sorry if anyone thought I was picking on anyone last time. I was in 10th grade Journalism class when it happened. That teacher was from NYC and she had people affected by this. Thanks for filling us in until the next episode.


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