Thursday night, as I entered a sorta-sketchy Cleveland movie theatre about 500 miles from my Illinois home, I wondered what exactly I was getting myself into. Ten minutes before showtime, and with no pre-flight entertainment showing on the screen, there was just one other person in the place as the latest iteration of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES was about to light up the room. Much to my own delight, an audience of about 30 strong piled in just as the first of only a few trailers began playing, and we'd soon be experiencing the live-action opus that Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon had prepared for us... one that inspired my own #TMNTweek right here on THE ROCK FATHER. Much like this summer's TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (which could take place in the same world), TMNT is a fun, yet flawed entry into a summer filled with big screen heroes...

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When it comes to action figures, I've always been a big fan of the 3 3/4 inch varieties (which STAR WARS started) and the 5 or 6-inch figures like MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE or TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES. I might be wrong, but I don't recall bigger options being available when I was little, but large scale figures seem to be more commonplace these days, and I'm really surprised to see just how well they go over with my girls and the Neighborhood Testing Panel. For the release of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon's new TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES film, Playmates Toys has released all four TMNT characters as 11-inch figures - two of which we have here (Leonardo and Raphael). While I'm about to show you some hands-on action captured here at Rock Father HQ, the fact that the neighbor kids had a set of their own just a couple of days after trying ours should vouch for how much they loved them.

Here's a little food for thought: Halloween is less than three months away. In fact, September 2 is "Orange Tuesday," which is the kick-off to Halloween (think of it as a spookier Black Friday), and if your family is thinking of getting in on the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES action, now is the time to do it. Regardless of Halloween coming soon, I'm always preaching the Gospel of dress-up and imaginative play, and with a few weeks left before Back-to-School, there's plenty of time to let the imagination run wild, and when it comes to TMNT, my friends at BuyCostumes.com are getting all the new styles in - not only for kids, but for grownups, too! They've even got styles from both the Nickelodeon animated series and the new Paramount Pictures live-action film. Personally, I could see both of my offspring running around fighting evildoers in those girls TMNT tutu sets they're selling. Preview some of the new styles below...

Even as a kid (and later "Adult Collector") of action figures, I'd always had mixed feelings on the so-called "Deluxe" assortments. They present options that need to be considered carefully - especially if you can only have "one" - meaning, either the basic, or the deluxe. On one hand, the deluxe option may have a cool action feature that you have to have... but on the flip, that might mean sacrificing some poseability, and that might equate to a deluxe figure not being able to fit in your favorite vehicle. For Nickelodeon and Paramount's new TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES movie, this applies, as Playmates toys is offering all four turtles as Deluxe "Combat Warrior" variants - each in standard size to match the basic assortment, but with impressive battle features. Here at Rock Father HQ, we have Donatello and Michelangelo - both sent to us for review. While they do have to lose some articulation, they're quick with the wrists to wield their "Triple Terror Twist Nunchucks" and "Smack-Down Spinning Staff."

At the centerpiece of the toy world when it comes to TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, one company has been there since the beginning, and that's Playmates Toys. Starting with an initial run of figures back in 1988 (for which the original cartoon series was actually created), there have been hundreds - if not thousands - of individual figures released since then, along with some of the craziest - and coolest - vehicles and accessories to ever hit the action figure aisle. While I'd admired the figures myself, I never had any before becoming a parent, and it's all been fueled by the latest incarnations of the TMNT saga - Nickelodeon's hit animated series, and Paramount Pictures' brand-new, live-action film. A few weeks back, the folks at Playmates Toys sent us an assortment of goodies based on the new film, and they've fast-become a part of daily life here at Rock Father HQ. Today we'll take a look at the basic movie figures assortment, and the fantastic Turtle Assault Van.

"I don't want to hear another word about Ninja Turtles," declared my wife tonight shortly after I returned from the gym and started messing around with a couple of "baby" (they're actually "Ninjas in Training") figures that Addie picked up at Toys "R" Us today. I told her that she wouldn't have liked me much back in 1990, as I was all about the first big-screen TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES film, and my wife is so anti-turtle. In fact, earlier tonight she was going on about how our girls should be learning about famous artists from other sources instead of painter-named reptiles or something... but it is #TMNTweek here on THE ROCK FATHER, so the exploits of our sewer-dwelling friends can be a little overwhelming - and... odd. Prime example? The new music video from acapella act PENTATONIX, "We Are Ninjas."

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