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for the day of the Laird is at hand
July 26, 2006 11:54 AM   Subscribe


 
The teaser debuted at Comic-Con International 2006, where director Kevin Munroe and producers gave up this detailed audio interview about the movie's production and the difficulty of selling the idea to Hollywood. This isn't the first time "Ninja Turtles" was pitched in the CGI format; Rainbow Studios produced a pilot for a television series in 2001.

The 1987 cartoon series popularized the Ninja Turtles, but the behemoth was born in 1984 as an indie comic, initially parodying Frank Miller's Daredevil and Ronin (here are issues 1 and 2 online). That work has continued in numerous incarnations. Co-creator Peter Laird is putting TMNT (the book he writes himself) on hold while he focuses on the film. The other co-creator, Kevin Eastman, sold his TMNT ownership interest to Laird in 2001 and is currently owner and editor of Heavy Metal Magazine, but is reputedly writing for the new film as well.

The movie is set after the first and second live-action Ninja Turtles movies, and so will roughly align with the original Mirage Studios universe of stories. Central is a family dilemma in the turtle clan, which of course occurs while NYC needs rescuing from an enemy who is amassing an army of monsters. More details and possible spoilers are here.

"TMNT" will be released on March 30, 2007 (one might note the proximity to April 1). Imagi Animation Studios is producing the movie, and the Weinstein Company is distributing it via Warner Brothers. The requisite Ninja Turtles video game will be published by Ubisoft.
posted by zennie at 11:55 AM on July 26, 2006


why, dude
posted by Kifer85 at 12:04 PM on July 26, 2006


I like how they've made it more dark, it's sort of got that "omg, real ninjas!" feeling going for it, if you can manage to suspend your disbelief. I was really into TMNT when I was little, so I can, for the most part. I will very probably go see this.

I'm not sure how they did this, if they drew over the CG, or if the CG is just this good now. I have a feeling they must have done at least a bit of work on top of the raw CG, because there are points in the trailer that almost feel rotoscoped, like A Scanner Darkly. It's nicely done. I like.
posted by blacklite at 12:05 PM on July 26, 2006


Teaser for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Anti-Marijuana campaign.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:07 PM on July 26, 2006


What blacklite said. The quality of the CG, at least in the teaser, is the first CG that made me feel like I was watching a comic book.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:13 PM on July 26, 2006


Even more... filmmaker interview video from IGN.

I'm not sure how they did this, if they drew over the CG, or if the CG is just this good now. I have a feeling they must have done at least a bit of work on top of the raw CG, because there are points in the trailer that almost feel rotoscoped, like A Scanner Darkly. It's nicely done. I like.
posted by blacklite


Munroe said that they first lit it as a black and white film, inspired somewhat by "The Third Man," a film noir. You could take stills from it and it would look like a comic book (they may actually do that). That lighting went over the detailed CGI artwork, so maybe that's what produced the effect.
posted by zennie at 12:15 PM on July 26, 2006


No anchovies!
posted by sdrawkcab at 12:19 PM on July 26, 2006


pfffsssshhh... screw drug-free turtles. the TMNT were ALL about the ganj.
posted by Doorstop at 12:19 PM on July 26, 2006


monju_bosatsu writes "The quality of the CG, at least in the teaser, is the first CG that made me feel like I was watching a comic book."

Yeah, it's a really nice effect. It's good to see CG being used to achieve effects other than half-assed photorealism; there's some real artistry there. Kind of like the Saturday-morning-cartoon feel of The Incredibles or the comic-book hyper-reality of Sin City.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:19 PM on July 26, 2006


If the CG is that good throughout and they don't screw up the plot and dialogue, I'm totally falling in love again. Also the video game better be damn good, as its predecessor was pretty much one of the most played games for me on the NES.
posted by geoff. at 12:24 PM on July 26, 2006


Anybody source a non-quicktime version of the trailer? My machine has "issues".
The humiliation I feel for showing interest is outwighed by my desire to see some shell shock.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 12:26 PM on July 26, 2006


Does anyone have a direct link?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:27 PM on July 26, 2006


Direct link to large QT version.
posted by signal at 12:31 PM on July 26, 2006


Speaking as someone who basically grew up watching the animated series, I can tell you that I liked this. I especially like the way the start of the teaser trailer evoked (for a moment at least) the start of the animated series opening credits.

I also liked the way that the Turtles were depicted in their prowess during their run across the roof-tops. You almost get the sense that between the four of them they could kick anyones arse. And then Mikey falls into the dumpster; pure turtles humor. Excellent.

So yeah, I may go see this. It gives me hope.
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:32 PM on July 26, 2006


It's okay, NT. They are, after all, heroes in a half-shell. We understand. Here's a kind of pixellated in-flash version.
posted by blacklite at 12:33 PM on July 26, 2006


For fans of the old 1987 cartoon, here's the 2007 teaser remixed with the theme song, starting with that shot of the moon. [WMV]
posted by zennie at 12:37 PM on July 26, 2006


Thanks signal, but I tried that to play it in VLC, but they've done some funky forwarding. That file is 4KB.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 12:38 PM on July 26, 2006


blacklite: you devilish handsome thing you.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 12:42 PM on July 26, 2006


FWIW - the game looks like it may rock.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:43 PM on July 26, 2006


BOSSANOVA!
posted by Greg Nog at 12:44 PM on July 26, 2006


Nice-looking animation, sure, but this feels like four slightly different Spider-Man teasers superimposed.

And I must say that "roughly align[ing] with the original Mirage Studios universe of stories" isn't necessarily a good thing. I recently re-watched the first live film at a midnight show and it's pretty much the Platonic ideal of a trivial film. It's like someone combed over the screenplay and systematically removed anything of substance.

Kind of like Magnolia, come to think of it.
posted by gramschmidt at 12:44 PM on July 26, 2006


signal: Direct link to large QT version.

That's actually just to the reference file. Link to actual large QT version here
posted by christy at 12:44 PM on July 26, 2006


It is reported that Mako had been signed to voice Splinter.

Unfortunately, he died Friday.

.
posted by Guy Smiley at 12:55 PM on July 26, 2006


Am I the only one wishing for the more hardcore, less child friendly turtles from the comic books? Before they all got differently coloured masks and got extra silly? I had high hopes, until that little slapstick at the end.
posted by eurasian at 12:57 PM on July 26, 2006


And I must say that "roughly align[ing] with the original Mirage Studios universe of stories" isn't necessarily a good thing. I recently re-watched the first live film at a midnight show and it's pretty much the Platonic ideal of a trivial film. It's like someone combed over the screenplay and systematically removed anything of substance.
posted by gramschmidt


Apparently, the the director of this movie feels about the same about the live-action films. He mentioned going for the "the visceral memory" of the first film, recognizing the mental filling-in-the-blanks that makes something from childhood seem better in your memory than it actually was.

However, making it more Mirage-like is definitely not a bad thing, IMO.
posted by zennie at 12:57 PM on July 26, 2006


This looks really cool, if the trailer is anything like the movie, these turtles can expect to see my duckets passing through their green hands. Wowsers!
posted by mk1gti at 12:57 PM on July 26, 2006


All I care about is whether or not we are going to get the sweet, sweet theme song.

I will even settle for a nu-metal remake of the Vanilla Ice song.
posted by mckenney at 12:58 PM on July 26, 2006


zennie I think I love you
posted by Skorgu at 1:18 PM on July 26, 2006


I don't know if I can get back into the story of TMNT, but I was deeply, deeply impressed by the trailer.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:28 PM on July 26, 2006


Sweet. Looks great in 1080p.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:12 PM on July 26, 2006


If you like that style of computer animation, there's a newer version of Appleseed (the anime, not the John Clute novel) that has a similar look.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:16 PM on July 26, 2006


Yeah that was cool, until one of them spoke.
posted by papercake at 2:17 PM on July 26, 2006


Damn, ROU_X...When I saw "Appleseed", I about shit my pants. I'd love to see the Clute novel done up right.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:21 PM on July 26, 2006


Yeah, that was really really nice. I'm going to be really interested to see this (although I wish they were doing old stories I was more familiar with).
posted by Brainy at 2:29 PM on July 26, 2006


Sweet.
posted by delmoi at 2:34 PM on July 26, 2006


Appleseed CG trailer at Apple Japan
posted by blue_beetle at 3:17 PM on July 26, 2006


Oh, I'm down. But then again, the phrases "remember that episode of Turtles," and, "remember that time in my choldhood," are roughly synonymous to me.

I've gotten to work and party a lot with most of the voice cast for the current cartoon - also overseen by Peter Laird - and they're some of my favorite people. By the looks of imdb, they don't have the movie turtles cast yet (so don't worry, papercake, Michelangelo is just a temp-voice) but I really hope these guys get the gig.

And as a fun fact, Leonardo in the current cartoon is also Dean Venture in Venture Bros.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:39 PM on July 26, 2006


"choldhood" should read "childhood," but you knew that.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:40 PM on July 26, 2006


The quality of the turtles voice acting in the current cartoon is outstanding. They've had years of relaxing into the roles, and know the characters inside out. I'd be far from disappointed if they were cast in the movie.

I gave Mike some slack - the guy just fell off a building!

And IMDB is worth crap until after movies come out.
posted by zennie at 3:54 PM on July 26, 2006


ROU_Xenophobe: the anime, not the John Clute novel

Bah, I misread that as 'the John Clute novel, not the anime' and my heart did a tiny backflip of joy before I realised.

This Turtles movie looks a hell of a lot better than I'd have expected. There's a sort of cartoon quality about the CG - particularly the way they're not afraid to have the characters deform when they're moving fast - that gives it a really nice, unusual feel. I'd never have thought I'd be saying this if you'd asked me ten minutes ago, but I'm actually quite looking forward to TMNT. Weird.
posted by terpsichoria at 4:54 PM on July 26, 2006


> I'd never have thought I'd be saying this if you'd asked me ten minutes ago,
> but I'm actually quite looking forward to TMNT. Weird.

I am too. Very nice! I did not grow up watching the cartoons (my oldest kid did, the others are too young for Turtle nostalgia) but I absolutely adored the third live-action movie, the one where they get magically teleported back to medieval Japan. I will never again be able to watch Shogun without seeing ghostly guys in turtle suits running around in the background of every scene. If this one has that sort of cleverness in addition to the cool graphics it will certainly be worth seeing more than once.
posted by jfuller at 5:16 PM on July 26, 2006


PS, can any of you Turtleologists tell me anything about the fourth movie? Set in China? I swear it exists, my local video joint had it, or anyway they had the empty box, and I requested it and whoever had it out didn't return it -- so they said. I am intensely curious!
posted by jfuller at 5:26 PM on July 26, 2006


PPS,

> Appleseed CG trailer at Apple Japan

Thanks for link! Movie looks great. But that babe doesn't look a thing like the Appleseed chick. What have they done to her? She looks like THIS:


posted by jfuller at 5:41 PM on July 26, 2006


I had high hopes, until that little slapstick at the end.

Oh, I had the exact opposite reaction. For most of the trailer I was like, "Oooh this is really cool, looks great! But where are the Turtles I remember? Where's the silly?"

Then Michelangelo fell in the dumpster and all was right with the world. "Ah, there it is!"
posted by LeeJay at 6:05 PM on July 26, 2006


Oh man Mako died... I am totally bummed. He was really one of my favorite voice actors. I was hoping to meet him someday to tell him how much i enjoyed his work :(
posted by MrLint at 6:10 PM on July 26, 2006


Am I the only one wishing for the more hardcore, less child friendly turtles from the comic books?

Nope.
posted by juv3nal at 6:25 PM on July 26, 2006


PS, can any of you Turtleologists tell me anything about the fourth movie? Set in China? I swear it exists, my local video joint had it, or anyway they had the empty box, and I requested it and whoever had it out didn't return it -- so they said. I am intensely curious!
posted by jfuller


The 2007 movie will be the fourth movie.

Er... might you mean "Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation"? It was a live-action 1997 TV series that had a female turtle character who grew up in China.
posted by zennie at 6:53 PM on July 26, 2006


Am I the only one wishing for the more hardcore, less child friendly turtles from the comic books?

Nope.
posted by juv3nal


The turtles are not all that hardcore, IMO. They might possibly ask for a beer or use a PG-13 swear word. They're ninja, so violence is already part of the equation. The only thing noticeably different would be using lethal force more overtly in the comics, whereas in the movies and animation it's hidden. So do people just want to see more gore?
posted by zennie at 8:10 PM on July 26, 2006


okay, confession time. when the first movie came out, my punk rock friends and i waited in the rain for the tickets to become available... manic panic hair dye ran off of our faces and into the gutter. we ended up seeing it several times, though with a bit of disappointment as the movie seemed to drift far from the graphic novel roots. at least by the look of the animation here, it might just be a return to the original concept. i'm embarrassed to be geared up for a comic derived film (fighting off nerd-dom) but this looks awesome.
posted by moonbird at 9:11 PM on July 26, 2006


Okay, full geek confession as well...

I was certainly younger than moonbird when the first TMNT movie came out, but I still remember it like it was yesterday - my mom taking me to the theatre on a wednesday night when tix were half-price, and her enjoying it almost as much as I did. My parents even took me and my two best friends to see the TMNT musical tour, and got us front row seats! During a bizarre and inexplicable depression that lasted through a good part of my fourth-grade year, I used the episode, "What Is Michelangelo Good For?" as the touchstone for my own existential dillema. When I had to do a survey project for social studies, of course I jumped on "who is your favorite ninja turtle?" (Michelangelo won with over 80% of the vote.)

I recently spent a year working on a light-hearted kids cartoon, a Japanese import, but there were constant internal questions about the show's habit of tossing heavier themes (domestic violence, the dangers of over-parenting, grieving, etc.) into the background without really changing the otherwise zany tone of the cartoon. Personally, I loved it, while others thought that it would alientate the kids who were just hoping to have a good time, thus hurting toy sales. I went to a party in the midst of all this, and a group of us escaped to the roof to get some air, and I brought up the issue at hand. Out of nowhere, a ngirl I didn't know said, basically, "Well, It's like that episode of Ninja Turtles where Michelangelo is wondering what his place is, you know?"

I was floored, and everybody present remembered the episode like an old, forgotten light switch had just been flipped. So I shall love the turtles til my dying day, in any incarnation.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:26 PM on July 26, 2006


PS - these "turtles" don't look like turtles so much as they look like frogs with shells.

Maybe that's the "mutant" part of the thingy.
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:29 PM on July 26, 2006


The turtles are not all that hardcore, IMO. They might possibly ask for a beer or use a PG-13 swear word. They're ninja, so violence is already part of the equation. The only thing noticeably different would be using lethal force more overtly in the comics, whereas in the movies and animation it's hidden. So do people just want to see more gore?

It's not so much what I'd want to see added as me wanting to see the silly stuff removed. The freaking "turtle van" from the cartoon has to go. The obsession with pizza. The "cowabunga" tagline. Krang (evil utroms in general), bebop & rocksteady too.

I don't know how much more violence they could get away with presuming that they're shooting for some kind of pg rating, but I'd like to see the turtles fight more ninja and fewer (preferably no) silly looking mutants.
posted by juv3nal at 2:06 AM on July 27, 2006


I have to say... without Mikey falling into the dumpster at the end, this movie didn't have me hooked. Now I must see it.
posted by antifuse at 2:11 AM on July 27, 2006


Name a 60's or 70's TV show off the top of your head- and Mako probably appeared in it at one time or another.
posted by wfc123 at 6:15 AM on July 27, 2006


. for Mako. Surprised his death is not an FPP.
posted by cass at 8:36 AM on July 27, 2006


I shall miss mako too, his recent turn as Aku in Samurai Jack was fantastic, and my son liked it so much I ended up learning to mimic his voice just so I could play along with it.

.
posted by longbaugh at 9:06 AM on July 27, 2006


Oh, I had the exact opposite reaction. For most of the trailer I was like, "Oooh this is really cool, looks great! But where are the Turtles I remember? Where's the silly?"

Then Michelangelo fell in the dumpster and all was right with the world. "Ah, there it is!"


A character injuring himself and then weakly calling out “I'm okay!” has become an unforgivable comedy cliché.
posted by skryche at 9:52 AM on July 27, 2006


Many people are missing Mako; he's well-loved, and has left a lasting impression on several generations. They may still use Mako's work in "TMNT." Dan Berger, who runs the Mirage Studios site, issued this statement:
Several people have written in with the tragic news that Makoto "Mako" Iwamatsu passed away this past Saturday. Mako was a revered actor throughout his long career, from playing prominent roles in major feature films to providing voices for numerous animated characters. Mr. Iwamatsu was cast as the voice of Master Splinter for the upcoming computer animated TMNT movie. The major part of his dialog for the Turtles film was recorded, however, the ADR (Additional Dialog Record) was not. ADR recordings are used for any extra lines that writer/director Kevin Munroe might want to add or for retakes of existing recordings. At this time we don't know how they will handle the ADR tasks. Mirage Studios extends our sincere condolences to all friends and family of Mr. Iwamatsu. (July 25, 2006)
It's not so much what I'd want to see added as me wanting to see the silly stuff removed. The freaking "turtle van" from the cartoon has to go. The obsession with pizza. The "cowabunga" tagline. Krang (evil utroms in general), bebop & rocksteady too.

I don't know how much more violence they could get away with presuming that they're shooting for some kind of pg rating, but I'd like to see the turtles fight more ninja and fewer (preferably no) silly looking mutants.
posted by juv3nal


The movies are set in something closer to the Mirage Studios universe, which is very different from the 1987 cartoon universe in which Krang (who is not an Utrom), Bebop, Rocksteady, and the infamous Turtle Blimp exist. These days, things from the 1987 cartoon only show up as parody or tribute, partly because Mirage doesn't own the rights and partly because it's better that way.

The mutants from the second movie probably won't be making much of an appearance either. Tokka is exploring his artistic side, and Rahzar is apparently still high on candy. Plus, the running gag with the pizza is tired, and the New York sewers haven't echoed with "cowabunga" or "turtle power" for ages.

The TMNT people have practiced "getting away with things" for the past four years of the current cartoon series (where Mirage owns 1/3 and Laird was very involved). One episode didn't make it past the sensors because it featured Baxter Stockman falling apart a la Jeff Goldblum in the "The Fly" and because of the disturbing way he goes nuts and goes after April. Another episode that actually aired featured Donatello in a dark alternate reality, where he leads a suicide mission, sees each of his brothers die, and then kills the Shredder by essentially sucking him into a blender. Not to mention the one where a severely maladjusted Leonardo drags an enemy off-screen, followed by the sound of a neck snapping. Just a few of many examples. Bear in mind that this show is rated as suitable for young children (TV-Y).

On preview, skryche: I think the use of cliché is what made it so genuinely Mikey.
posted by zennie at 10:11 AM on July 27, 2006


I've been playing too much City of Heroes lately. I wanted to play that trailer instead of just watching it.
posted by crunchland at 10:37 AM on July 27, 2006


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