This year marks the 13th anniversary of the debut of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to audiences around the world. Many of us grew up reading the comics, playing the video games, watching the cartoon on TV, and seeing the original live-action film series in theaters. Although society has changed somewhat in the past three decades, the elements that made the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles popular in the late 1980s and 1990s are still there in the latest live-action film.
What do the Turtles need to be what they are? Well, they need to be Teenage, they have to be a Mutant, and they need to be Ninja. They should also have souped up skateboards, snarf a lot of pizza, emit quib one-liners that often include over-use of the word “dude,” and they need to combat bad guys under the command of Shredder. Are all those things present in the current Michael Bay-produced rendition of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Check, check, check, check, check, check, and check. All present and accounted for. For those not up to speed on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle history, the Toronto Sun can help you out.
For this film, though, technology and real-world acting took center stage. The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles features the same four humanoid turtles with ninja skills and pizza chomping predilections, but with several nuances that fans may or may not enjoy. First, the film was made with live-action stunts involving actual actors playing each mutant turtle and voice actors putting the words to the teenage ninjas.
Those who’ve seen the trailer will have noted that the foursome have distinct physical traits to match their personalities — Raphael is big and muscular, Donatello is thin and tall, Michelangelo is smallest of the group, and Leonardo is athletic. So more than voices and colored bandanas note their individuality.
In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, this personality for the characters comes through like it couldn’t have in the 1990s thanks to advancements in CGI and the ability to blend live acting with computer additions for the final character on-screen. Physical actors wearing jumpsuits fitted with makeup dots played out the scenes in the film and were then overlayed by computer animations of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as we see them on the big screen now. This creates a very new and much more appealing realism for the four mutant turtles and the other ninja they face.
Several details had to be accounted for during filming, of course. According to News Day, for example, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle actors wore ping pong balls over their heads so that the humans they interact with in the film would be looking upwards to account for their taller size on-screen.
For those wondering what the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might be missing, this Inquisitr article outlines what was cut.