High on action but low-brow for everything else
It's like a chewed-up piece of gum, with a face!If a film makes enough money, it will get a sequel, even if said film is devoid of merit. Sad but true. And such is the case for the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, sequel to 2014’s Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which was high on nostalgia but low on everything else. And it’s sad to say this second instalment follows the exact tried and tested path: fan service, action and low brow scripting. The fact that the Turtles themselves have changed out of all recognition from their original envisages seems not to matter – action, spectacle, (terrible) humour and over the top visuals sell this feature; it plays like a kid's film, it looks like a kid's film and there is nothing to raise the stakes from a kid's film. It is an ADHD-fast-cutting-nonsense script that relies on convenience to get from one over the top action sequence to the next with no regard for character or motivation. And yet...The story is a near carbon copy of the first film, save that Shredder has to escape before he can wreak havoc on New York; only this time he does it with Krang, an alien from another dimension who wishes to take Earth for himself, cue violent confrontations, backstabbing, mayhem and outrageous action sequences as the Turtles have to ‘come out of the shadows’, i.e. make themselves known to the world, so they can save the day. There are a number of ‘new’ characters introduced in this film, taken from the comics, of course, such as Krang, Casey Jones, Bebop and Rocksteady (desperately annoying those last two) with the return of everyone from the original. The film is rubbish, but, and this is the odd thing, I didn’t hate it, there was some charm to the piece, good character moments between Leo and Raph, and the visuals were quite spectacular. I don’t think I’ll go back for more though.
Picture QualityTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows was shot digitally using Arri Alexa XT Plus cameras at a resolution of 2.8K and finished using a 2K Digital Intermediate, which presumably formed the basis for this Ultra HD Blu-ray release. The film was upscaled to 3840 x 2160p and presented as widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The disc uses 10-bit video depth, a Wider Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR), and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec. We reviewed the Region free US Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadowson a Panasonic 65DX902B Ultra HD 4K TV with a Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
There is sharp detailing throughout; skin (both real and digital) has a good texture (Fox’s make-up is really caked on!) while clothing (again, both real and digital) has discernible weaves, while distant shots have keen edges well into the background, with the New York skyline looking particularly fine. Of course, the same could be said for the Full HD Blu-ray (included in the set) and a close examination between the two images shows only a modest improvement with regard to actual detail.
The use of WCG and HDR significantly improves the perceived picture
It is, however, a very different story when it comes to the WCG and HDR which significantly improve the picture quality in terms of depth, black level and colour; indeed there are colours present in the 4K image that simply are not in the Full HD Blu-ray. At its most dramatic - the Turtle’s enhanced dump truck (when they try to stop Shredder’s rescue) on the Blu-ray shows the lights on top of the cabin as a huge white expanse, bright and clean, but the 4K shows what is there; a number of distinct lights that all beam out of the screen with a natural radiance, referencing information that is clearly missing on the Blu-ray. Cityscape shots, both night and day, as well as the many overhead street shots demonstrate the improvements of the 4K image; the combination of higher resolution with HDR and WGC gives a depth to the frame, a definition to the edges and a colour landscape that looks natural and bright, something Full HD cannot compete with.
Digitally there are no compression issues of edge enhancement, though there is still a wee bit of banding, occasionally. The original digital source is obviously pristine and this 4K image follows suit.
Sound QualitySimon Crust reviews the audio on a standard 5.1 surround set up – A very aggressive sonic assault just about sums up this surround track. The main culprit is the amount of bass pumped through the sub, just about everything has some sub input, with the sub specific LF effects rocking the foundations; the destruction of Krang’s ship is definitely a highlight with some hefty, tight, deep, deep action, but for enough pressure to blow your windows out, the destruction of the police cars surrounding Shredder during his rescue was pure bass heaven. The surrounds are used extensively to provide ambience and even more for the myriad of effects which leaves you pummelled from all sides. Dialogue, luckily, sits well in the mix, is always audible, sounds very natural, is dominated by the frontal array but given plenty of directionality when needed. The score is well layered and, again, makes full use of the surround environment. It’s not a subtle track at all, and it plays quite loud, but if you are after a full-on surround experience, the Turtles have got it covered.
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack is a definite step up from the one on the previous film
Steve Withers reviewed the audio on a 7.2.4-channel Dolby Atmos setup – The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film was an early example of a Dolby Atmos Blu-ray, so it seems only appropriate that the sequel should also boast an Atmos soundtrack on both the Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray releases. Whilst it is a great mix, subtle is not a word that could ever be used to describe it. Almost every shot seems to be punctuated by a hefty dollop of bass, making even the slightest action feel over-the-top. However if you love your films to take full advantage of the LFE channel and bass effects in general then this is the film for you. When the additional bass energy is really needed, the sound designers kick your teeth in with some low frequency effects. The surround and overhead channels are also kept busy, resulting in a highly immersive soundtrack. Despite all the sonic mayhem and thunderous bass, dialogue remains clear and centred, except when it need to be deliberately directional and the music is nicely layered within the mix. Overall this is an impressive Dolby Atmos immersive audio mix that is sure to please fans of bombastic soundtracks – just try not to wake the neighbours!
ExtrasWe Are Family – Spend just under 10 minutes with Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek and Alan Ritchson (the actors behind the turtles) looking at theirs, and the turtles, relationship and camaraderie; lots of video capture too!
Whoa! Expanding the Turtleverse – A 15 minute feature looking at characters introduced in this sequel; such as Casey Jones, Bebop, Rocksteady and Krang.
House Party – 5 minutes looking around turtles' underground home, set design and production details.
It's Tricky: Inside the Van – The same, only this time in the dump truck.
ILM – The Effects Beneath the Shell – A 3 minute montage of footage showing varying stages of CGI, progressively getting better with each pass.
Did You Catch That? Turtle Eggs! – Director Dave Green, screenwriters André Nemec and Josh Appelbaum, props master Diana Burton and producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form discuss the 'Easter Eggs' placed throughout the film.
Deleted Scenes – Three scenes in total (titled Promotion, Career Opportunities and Kiss Me).
Ultra HD Blu-ray VerdictTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is the (once again) Michael Bay produced sequel to the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and pretty much follows exactly the same path; a wild over-the-top spectacularly visual feast that is high on action but totally low-brow for anything resembling a coherent film and plays to the lowest common denominator. And yet, I didn’t hate it, there were enough nods to the actual Turtles (even though the characters were totally different) and the action was completely outrageous, but plays with a twinkle in its eye, even if the script is throwaway and has nothing to get your teeth into. You know, it's a Michael Bay film, but without that awful groan inducing contempt. Think Battleship rather thanTransformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
The film plays to the lowest common denominator, and yet, I didn’t hate it
As a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc, the set from Paramount is pretty good. The picture is dripping with goodness, being detailed, bright with excellent blacks and a depth of frame to die for, the detail is barely a step up from Full HD, but the WGC and HDR really make the difference. The sound, on the other hand, is incredible; a sonic assault to win any bass hound's heart. The extras, found on the Full HD Blu-ray included in the set, are a bit throw-away; much like the film itself.
You can buy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows on Ultra HD Blu-ray here
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