The Ninjabot

Comic-Con Panel Recap of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

Posted on July 25, 2014 at 8:41 am by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-comic-con-slice

I continue to go back and forth on Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I loved the Turtles when I was a kid. I adored the show, had all the figures, and even appreciated, “go ninja, go ninja, go.” An important thing to remember is that Michael Bay and company aren’t extracting that love from my head, I can still remember that time fondly, but I think most people would prefer that Turtles be a memory instead of something to look forward to. Sadly for the haters though, this film is happening and it may end up being pretty good regardless of where you stand on the subject. Here’s a recap of yesterday’s Comic-Con panel.

Panel Highlights

  • The panel began with a brief video about the Turtles origin as comics’ creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird explained how they came up with the idea and the surprising, massive success that followed.
  • teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-raphael-poster-404x600Eastman then came on stage to the music of the 90s TV series.  He told the moderator that he and Laird never expected to sell one TMNT comic and then the 30 years of success have been a blur.  Eastman also says he was brought on early in the development of the reboot because they wanted him to be part of the process.
  • Then director Jonathan Liebesman and producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller came on stage.  Form said one of the first things they did was call up Eastman and asked him questions for hours about Turtles.  They heard fun anecdotes about what to name the characters like Shredder, who was almost dubbed “Grater” because Eastman almost slipped on a cheesegrater.  Laird suggested “Shredder” would be better.
  • After we were shown some footage, Megan Fox (April O’Neill) and Will Arnett (Vernon Fenwick) took the stage.  When asked how they joined the film, Arnett quipped, “Well, Megan and I interned at Channel 6 for eighteen months.”  Jokes aside, Fox said she watched the show because she was born in 1986, so she was part of the key demographic, and was aware of April and her different iterations.  Arnett says he was a bit too old when the Turtles started to become popular, but he had a younger brother who liked it.  Arnett became more aware of the property because his kids are fans.

Audience Q&A

  • In order to adapt the Foot Clan into something more believable, Liebesman said they were re-imagined as a paramilitary organization, although they’ll still do martial arts.
  • teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-william-fichtner-shredder-600x252When asked about their favorite Ninja Turtle, Arnett, Fox, Liebesman, and Eastman all said Michelangelo (Eastman said Mikey was “near and dear” because he was the first Turtle he ever drew); Fuller said Leonardo; and Form said it was a tie between Raphael and Leonardo.

Footage

  • The first footage we saw takes place ten minutes into the movie.  April O’Neill knows there’s a vigilante group fighting against the Foot, and she’s hot on their trail, but she doesn’t know they’re turtles.  When she sees a bunch of people fleeing the subway, she rushes in to see what’s causing the commotion.  Once inside, the Foot Clan, who are taking hostages and setting explosives, immediately captures her.  However, the Turtles are watching the surveillance footage on a panel of TV screens (although one TV has Keyboard Cat playing chopsticks with chopsticks), and decide to spring into action.  The Turtles manage to rescue the hostages while staying incognito because the lights in the tunnel mostly go out except for an occasional flicker where we see the Turtles beating up the Foot Clan.  Afterwards, they go to celebrate on top of a building, but April follows teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-megan-fox-will-arnett-600x399them, snaps a picture, and we get a whole thing where the Turtles try to figure out how to deal with her because they want to keep their identities a secret.
  • But mostly, this character scene is about quickly establishing their personalities: Leonardo is the stern leader, Raphael is the hothead (but not in a fun way; his fellow Turtles make fun of his “Batman voice”), Donatello is the brainy one, and Michelangelo is the goofball who also thinks April is hot.  If there’s any humor that’s working, it’s in capturing the camaraderie between brothers who are constantly bickering and ragging on each other.
  • Near the end of the panel, we got another scene.  This was a big set piece on a snow-covered mountainside where April, Vernon, and the Turtles are on the run from the Foot Clan, and I just couldn’t get into it.  It never feels like the Turtles are really there.  Perhaps in a finished film I’ll buy them as characters and forget they’re CGI, but in these brief scenes, I was always aware that they’re nothing but pixels.  It’s made worse by action scenes where they don’t seem to have any weight.  All of the Turtles look like bodybuilders, but they’re remarkably agile when the scene calls for it.

The crowd reaction was mixed. There was a lot of cheering, but the detractors were making sure everyone heard them as well. All in all I think it was a good presentation, and it looks like the Turtles are going to each have the unique and charming personalities we know and love; and that just might melt the hater’s Grinchy little hearts.

Follow Snackbar on Twitter @snackie_cakes for all your Geek News

    • TrickorTreator

      Im sure the whining bitches made themselves heard. They like to be a buzz kill. This attitude of ” Nope.. not good enough for me ” and ” It’s different than my pathetic childhood ” makes me sick lol. I cant wait for this movie to do really well and have a sequel or two! FUCK THE HATERS!!

    Sharing the Legacy on Flickr

    See all photos

    Tweets