Everyone’s favorite team of crime-fighting mutant turtles is charging to the big screen again in May of 2014 with the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie. The Michael Bay film is finally in the works, and fans cannot wait to see Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo and Raphael as they face off against their arch-nemesis, the Shredder, in all their CGI glory. Despite its quickly approaching release date, the details of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” are being largely kept secret from the public. However, leaked images and interviews with the creators have been shedding some new light on the long-awaited film.
Development and Filming
In 2009, fans discovered that Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures would create a new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie that would be released in 2012. The date was eventually pushed to 2014 due to problems with the script. However, production and filming are now well underway.
The initial announcement, and subsequent leaked information about an early storyline, did not sit well with many fans. They did not appreciate the expected overuse of CGI and the involvement of Michael Bay in the production, among other things. However, more recent announcements have satiated many fans’ curiosity and unrest.
The title of the film was changed to “Ninja Turtles” during development, a move by Paramount to simplify the long-winded original title. Michael Bay assured fans that this did not change the premise of the film or the characters, as they would still act like teenagers. However, in April of 2013, the title was switched back to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” a move which fans have greatly appreciated.
The film is being directed by Jonathon Liebesman, who has also directed movies like “Wrath of the Titans” and “The Killing Room.” Liebesman has worked on a number of sci-fi/action films, making him a great fit to direct “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” However, Liebesman does have a few box-office flops under his belt, so some fans are understandably wary of how this might affect the film.
An earlier statement led fans to believe that the Ninja Turtles would be re-imagined as purely extraterrestrial beings. This did not sit well with most fans, who believed that the film should be true to its roots. Michael Bay later corrected the earlier statement, explaining that the Turtles would be mutants who rose from the ooze, just like in the original comic.
Filming began on March 22, 2013 in New York. To date, the known filming locations include New York City, Tupper Lake and Jones Beach State Park on Long Island. Leaked photos reveal the Ninja Turtles actors wearing dark motion capture suits complete with large shells.
In February of 2013, the casting of Megan Fox as April O’neill was announced. The actress has worked with Michael Bay before in the “Transformers” franchise, but the two only recently resolved their differences so she could play a part in the new TMNT film. Will Arnett is set to play April’s rival Vernon Fenwick, and Whoopi Goldberg is to play a female version of the character Burne Thompson.
Alan Ritchson is to play Raphael, the leader of the Ninja Turtles. Noel Fisher is set to play Michelangelo, and Jeremy Howard is to fill the role of Donatello. Finally, Pete Ploszek is to play Leonardo. The actors are expected to be lending their voices to the characters and charting their movements with motion capture suits. In June of 2013, it was announced that William Fichtner, known for his roles in the “Prison Break” TV series, “Elysium,” “The Lone Ranger” and numerous other titles, would play the Shredder, an iconic villain in the TMNT universe. Although the original character is a Japanese figure known as Oroku Saki, Fichtner plays a Westernized version of the character.
Appearance of the Ninja Turtles
Leaked images and early promotional art give fans a general idea of what the new Turtles look like. They reveal realistic reptilian details, muscular figures, human-like eyes and proportional bodies. The characters still wield their signature weapons and sport eye masks in their characteristic colors.
Unlike earlier TMNT films, the characters have a much more turtle-like appearance. The advanced CGI models create life-like creatures that do not look cartoonish, stiff or fake. This is likely to create a much more serious film without losing the fun-loving personalities of the original characters.
Fans cannot wait to see if the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie lives up to their expectations. Another burning question is whether there might be more than one TMNT movie in the works. William Fichtner, who is set to play the Shredder, revealed that he signed on for three movies and that he was hopeful about the possibility of sequels. Whatever comes next, dedicated fans and new viewers alike are sure to have a great time with this exciting rendition of the beloved franchise.