In just a few weeks, fans of the 80s cartoon “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” will have a chance to watch their childhood half-shell heroes again when the 2014 “TMNT” movie opens in cinemas nationwide.
Expectations are high for this one as the turtles’ fans have been waiting to see a modern take on heroes Raphael aka Raph (played by Alan Ritchson via voice and motion-capture), Don aka Donatello (Jeremy Howard), Michelangelo aka Mike (Noel Fisher), and their shelled leader Leonardo (voiced by Johnny Knoxville). On top of that, this sort of live-action adaptation of the popular comic will see interactions between the turtles themselves and human faces like Megan Fox (who plays April O’Neil), Will Arnett (who plays Vernon Fenwick), and William Fichtner (who plays Shredder).
While you wait for the movie to be released, here are some top 5 gems from the TMNT history books to pique your interest further:
1. The first turtle, ever
The idea for the original comic came from a drawing by Kevin Eastman during a casual brainstorming session with friend Peter Laird in 1983. The doodle showed a masked turtle brandishing nunchucks and the two were struck by the contrast of a slow reptile with the fluid grace of a ninja. From there, they funded a single-issue comic in 1984 with money from a tax refund and a loan from Eastman’s uncle, and meant it to serve as a parody of 4 popular comics at the time – “Daredevil”, “New Mutants”, “Cerebus”, and “Ronin”.
Well, little did they know that the comic would give rise to a full-blown phenomenon.
2. The “Daredevil” and “TMNT” connection
The connection between “Daredevil” and ‘TMNT’ is particularly striking. “Daredevil” had existed for 20 years before the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles showed up in the 80s. In the Marvel comic, Matt Murdock saves a blind man from a speeding car and is struck in the side of the head by a radioactive canister, which blinds him but makes his other senses more powerful. According to the Turtles’ backstory, the same radioactive canister then rolls into a sewer and bathes them in glowing, green goo, transforming them into the masters of ninjutsu we know and love today.
Ooh. And the plot thickens!
3. On the contrary, “TMNT” was dark before
The Turtles may seem like a fun-loving bunch in the light-hearted movies and on TV, but once you’ve checked out the source material, you’ll see them in a totally new light. The original comics published by Eastman and Laird’s Mirage Studios were filled with graphic violence, including blood spray, stabbings and ritualistic suicide. There’s even a smattering of alcohol consumption and cursing for good measure.
Also, Shredder actually dies in the first issue!
4. There once was a female turtle
Except for a few minor changes, the Turtles’ line-up has remained fairly consistent from series to series. But “Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation” on Fox Kids, which ran from 1997 to 1998, broke that tradition with the introduction of a female turtle named Venus de Milo. The name is derived from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty.
At some point during the series, the character mysteriously vanishes from the storyline and no official explanation is given for her disappearance, but there’s some indication that co-creator Laird wasn’t happy with the female turtle.
5. The 1990 “TMNT” was a big headache
Although it all looks pretty seamless on screen, the live-action 1990 movie was an ordeal to film. The suits that the actors wore were unbearably hot and were in a constant state of disrepair, requiring frequent touch-ups by the Jim Henson Creature Shop. Plus, their complicated animatronics often went awry and voices had to be dubbed in later, resulting in film dailies that were a “mess”. In addition, most studios wanted nothing to do with the movie and the crew filmed for the first few months without a deal. Eventually, then-independent New Line Cinema signed on to distribute and the film was released in 1990.
It earned a total of over $200 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing independent film of all time, though it was later surpassed by ‘The Blair Witch Project”.
How will everyone’s favourite anthropomorphic turtles look like in the upcoming “TMNT” movie? Here’s a first look at their newly released poster:
In addition to the new poster, there’s a new music video to listen to as well!
Wiz Khalifa’s “Shell Shocked” featuring Juicy J and Ty Dolla $ign pays tribute to Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael in the form of an ear-busting new track. “Shell Shocked” is an EDM-infused hip hop track that was produced by Kill the Noise and Madsonik and includes lyrics where Wiz, Juicy J, and Ty rant about brotherhood, dotted with plenty of TMNT references i.e. “All this green in my pocket, you can call it turtle power.”
Oh, and yes, this song will be included in the movie, of course. Listen to it here:
Excited? We can’t wait! “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is slated for a 7th August release.