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TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Is there an audience for this?
TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
A Scene from the Animated "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles".
OPENING WEEKEND: $15,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $50,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

October 2nd, 2006: After the defeat of their longtime arch nemesis Shredder, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have suddenly found themselves without a sense of purpose. The foursome begins to drift apart, leaving their rat sensei, Master Splinter (voiced by Mako), deeply concerned about the state of this strange, but wonderful family. He grows even more worried when a new villain appears in New York City. Tech-industrialist Max Winters is preparing to take over the world with his army of ancient monsters and with additional help from the mysterious Foot Clan. The Turtles must once again band together. With the help of their old allies, April O’Neil and Casey Jones, they’re the only team that can thwart Winters and his plot.

What to Expect: First came the comic book that started it all. Then came the incredibly popular animated series, which ruled television on Saturday mornings and later practically everyday in reruns for over ten years. Inevitably, a live-action movie followed and eventually spawned two sequels. For one season, the Turtles returned in another, less successful animated television series called “Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.” That cartoon made the mistake of actually introducing a fifth, female turtle. For the past three years, a third series has been airing, but will soon be replaced by a fourth one called “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Fast Forward,” which will take the action heroes 100 years into the future. I almost forgot about the many video games and toys, with a whole new line of accessories also in the works. Needless to say, the Turtles have been through the ringer. After so many years, can another revamp actually make a blockbuster impact?

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Writer-director Kevin Munroe has been on this project since October 2004. He’s been working on the film since the very beginning and is responsible for the original treatment and the eventual script, which takes over where the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles feature left off. Admittedly, Munroe has completely ignored the disastrous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles in Time, but I would argue that the second part, dubbed The Secret of the Ooze, was not that much better. He could probably forget the original live-action films ever happened and it wouldn’t make that much of a difference. In a way, that’s sort of the approach that Munroe is taking. While this film will act as a sequel to the second live-action feature, it will represent a major Turtles overhaul. For the first time, the Turtles will be neither live-action or animated, but rather computer generated. The good news is that one of the two original creators of the Turtles comic book, Peter Laird, has personally approved the story, the characters, and Munroe as the director.

Character-wise, not much will change in the new film. Leonardo is still the leader of the pack and is still the most committed one. Raphael is still constantly searching to find his own self. Donatello is still the brightest one and the one that fights hardest to keep the Turtle family together. And Michelangelo is still the lovable party dude. Shredder will not appear in this flick, but he is likely to return if any sequels will follow. Max Winters is the main villain this time around, with the familiar Foot Clan aiding him along the way. Casey Jones and April O’Neil return as well and rumors are that the story will further push their budding romance. No celebrity voices will be used in the new film, although Oscar nominated actor Mako (The Sand Pebbles, Pearl Harbor, Memoirs of a Geisha) has been announced as the voice of Splinter. Sadly, Mako passed away just this past July, but he did finish recording the majority of his part.

Kevin Munroe has promised that the film will derive its tone from the original comic book and will be far grittier than the previous films as a result. Consequently, CGI appears to offer the best approach and the most versatility with the material. Munroe has also promised to return the Turtles to the way the fans remember them by taking full advantage of any nostalgia factor. Additionally, he wants to create a new world that will seem almost realistic. He has assured that the story will not be more serious necessarily, but rather more believable and that the characters will carry more depth. There will be plenty of action and adventure that will be intense enough even for adults. The film will be rated ‘PG,’ but Munroe is going for a “hard” PG rating, meaning that he is looking to push it as far as it can go. There will not be any blood, gore, or cursing, but there will still be plenty of movie violence. He wants to make it just barely appropriate enough for kids so that the story does not pander to them. Admittedly, Munroe made a deal with the studio and promised them that the film would be rated PG. At the end of the day, a “hard” PG doesn’t really exist and it will be real difficult for him to achieve the level of intensity he appears to be describing. Munroe is not likely to be able to please everyone while making a film that will not appeal to most adults. However, he has continuously stressed that the single most important element in the film for him will be that Turtles family dynamic – plenty of humor and bickering amongst the foursome.

The big debates between fans have already started – animation, live-action, or CGI? In my opinion, the older, live-action films that featured actors in Muppet-like costumes do look a bit silly today, but the new CGI Turtles look too much like some sort of lizards. Obviously, CGI is the better way to go because of the many possibilities it offers, but maybe it is the Turtles themselves that are the problem. I don’t believe that a group of crime-fighting green mutants that chow down pizza can ever really be taken seriously enough to be anything more than an amusing adventure for kids. Sure, they’re great for a silly cartoon, and for my money, the original television series was as good as this franchise could ever get. Any feature film that attempts to treat the subject any more seriously than that has little chance of reaching out to more mature crowds. There’s only so far that this premise can be taken. The Turtles are not destined to achieve the same status that Spider-Man or Batman have been able to attain. They are, however, ideal characters for a new series of lunch-boxes for nine-year-olds.

In Conclusion: I think this film may have some fun in store for die-hard fans that still remember the Turtles, but I’m not sure that there really is an audience out there for this. I honestly thought that this franchise died down significantly years ago. To me, the new incarnation of the Turtles seems somewhat inappropriate in the sense that I cannot imagine them as anything else than the original cartoon. Even a little bit of nostalgia doesn’t fill me with the urge to go see this movie. The CGI is probably the best thing that this movie has got going for it as far as marketing is concerned, but I would personally prefer to sit through three classic cartoons in a row than see this. I’m not taking a stance of opposition, but one of total indifference. The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie strikes me as a major miscalculation and could easily become a flop.

Similar Titles:
March 23rd, 2007 (wide)
August 7th, 2007 (DVD)

Warner Bros. Pictures

Kevin Munroe

Patrick Stewart, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Chris Evans, Ziyi Zhang, Kevin Smith, Mako, James Arnold Taylor, Mikey Kelley, Mitchell Whitfield, Nolan North

Total: 289 vote(s).

Action & Adventure, Animation, Fantasy

Click here to view site

Rated PG

90 min

English, French




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