Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014 film)
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jonathan Liebesman|
|Produced by||Michael Bay
|Screenplay by||Josh Appelbaum
|Based on||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
by Peter Laird
|Music by||Brian Tyler|
|Edited by||Joel Negron
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||101 minutes|
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a 2014 American science fiction action comedy film based on the franchise of the same name. A reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film series, the film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman, and stars Megan Fox, Johnny Knoxville, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, Danny Woodburn, Tony Shalhoub, William Fichtner, and Will Arnett.
The film was announced shortly before Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Peter Laird sold the rights to the franchise to Nickelodeon in 2009. It was produced by Nickelodeon Movies and Michael Bay's production company Platinum Dunes, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film was released on August 8, 2014. A sequel is scheduled to be released on June 3, 2016.
April O'Neil is a reporter for Channel 6 news in New York who has been researching a gang called the Foot Clan which has been terrorizing the city. She questions a dock worker about shipments of chemicals that may be linked to the Foot Clan. April eventually learns that something is being brought in by the docks. That night, she returns and sees the Foot Clan unloading cargo. April tries to record footage using her phone, but a shadowy figure arrives and takes out the Foot Soldiers one by one. She tells her coworkers and her boss Bernadette Thompson, but no one believes her story.
The Foot Clan next attacks a subway station. April rushes to the scene, hoping to encounter the vigilante (or at least find evidence confirming his existence). She sees four figures this time, who disappear after defeating the Foot Clan. She follows them to a rooftop and tries to photograph them. The Turtles Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael notice her and delete the camera's images, warning her not to divulge their existence. She asks them who they are as they leave, and they say, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
April runs home and opens a box filled with documents, pictures, and July 1999 videos on "Project Renaissance", which involved her now-deceased father. She notices that the turtles she cared for from her father's laboratory fifteen years earlier seem similar to the Ninja Turtles. She recalls that her father was developing some type of mutagen. She continues researching and eventually realizes that the Ninja Turtles are the turtles from the laboratory.
Once again, she tries to convince Bernadette Thompson that the Turtles are real. Bernadette becomes so infuriated that she fires April. April tries telling her cameraman boyfriend Vernon Fenwick about them, but he does not believe her either. He does agree to take her to the old laboratory, though. There she finds her father's lab partner Eric Sacks.
April tells him about the Ninja Turtles, showing him the photos. Sacks explains Project Renaissance: he and her father were cultivating the mutagen for its healing properties. Sacks theorizes that, when the laboratory was destroyed, the mutagen must have somehow caused the turtles to mutate into humanoids.
Meanwhile in the sewers, the Turtles tell their master, Splinter, that April has spotted them. Splinter orders them to find April and bring her to their lair, as she is now in great danger from the Foot Clan since she made contact with the Turtles.
The Turtles find April and blindfold her so she won't know their lair's location. They take her to Splinter, who explains how she saved their lives years before when she rescued them from the fire and released them into the sewers. April admits that she has told her father's associate about them, unaware that Sacks is actually the adoptive son of the Foot Clan's leader The Shredder.
Meanwhile, Sacks relays the information to Shredder. Shredder and Sacks plan to spread a deadly virus throughout New York, causing a quarantine, in order to seize control by offering the mutagen as a cure. Shredder needs the Turtles to extract the mutagen from their blood.
He and his gang find Splinter and the Turtles in the sewers, and a battle ensues. Although they put up a great fight, they are unfortunately overwhelmed and Shredder captures Leo, Donnie and Mikey and leaves Splinter severely injured. Raphael is (so far) the only turtle left to survive the wreckage of their home while the Foot Clan presumes him to be dead in the riot. April (who has managed to hide during the melee) tries to dig Splinter out from under the rubble. Raphael emerges and helps. April then tries to tend to Splinter's wounds. Splinter instructs Raphael and April to save the other three Turtles before Shredder can extract the mutagen from them. April calls Vernon to give them a ride to the laboratory where the other three Turtles are being held.
When they arrive, April frees the Turtles, who join Raphael in fighting Shredder, but Shredder defeats them (again) and escapes. April, the Turtles, and Vernon escape down a snowy mountain with The Foot and Karai in pursuit, but they manage to get away.
The Turtles plan to attack Shredder on the rooftop of Sacks' building before he is able to release the toxin, while April and Vernon search for the mutagen and battle Sacks inside the building,with Sacks being killed by the toxins. April finds the mutagen and heads onto the rooftop to give it to the Turtles. With April's help, the Turtles finally defeat Shredder who falls off the roof where he ends up arrested by the police.
That night, Vernon attempts to impress April with a Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, but unfortunately fails when the Turtles come in with a vehicle of their own and accidentally blow it up with a missile launcher. The turtles then offer April a ride home but she kindly turns down the offer. The film ends with Mikey singing a love song to April much to his brothers' chagrin.
- Megan Fox as April O'Neil
- Malina Weissman as young April O'Neil
- Will Arnett as Vernon Fenwick
- William Fichtner as Eric Sacks
- Alan Ritchson as Raphael
- Noel Fisher as Michelangelo
- Jeremy Howard as Donatello
- Pete Ploszek as Leonardo (motion-capture performer)
- Johnny Knoxville as Leonardo (voice)
- Danny Woodburn as Splinter (motion-capture performer)
- Tony Shalhoub as Splinter (voice)
- Tohoru Masamune as Shredder
- Whoopi Goldberg as Bernadette Thompson
- Minae Noji as Karai
- Abby Elliott as Taylor
- Taran Killam as Jim McNaughton
- K. Todd Freeman as Dr. Baxter Stockman
- Paul Fitzgerald as Dr. O'Neil
In October 2009, following the news of Nickelodeon purchasing all of Mirage's rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property, it was announced that Nickelodeon would produce a new film through corporate sibling Paramount Pictures with an expected release date sometime in 2012. In late May 2010, it was announced that Paramount and Nickelodeon had brought Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners Bradley Fuller and Andrew Form on to produce the next film that will reboot the film series. Bay, Fuller, and Form would produce alongside Walker and Mednick. For the script, the studio originally hired Matt Holloway and Art Marcum to write the film for close to a million dollars. According to TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman, the John Fusco version was a little too edgy for what Paramount wanted. A year later, the studio turned to writers Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec to rewrite the script. In February 2012, Jonathan Liebesman began negotiations to direct the film, beating out Brett Ratner. Later in March, it was announced that Paramount had pushed back film's release date to Christmas Day 2013. In early March 2012, Bay revealed at Nickelodeon's 2012 upfront presentation that the film will be simply titled Ninja Turtles and that the turtles would be "from an alien race". News of Bay's creative change was met with criticism from within the fan community.
In response to the announcement, actor Robbie Rist, who voiced Michelangelo in the first three films, wrote to Bay accusing him of "sodomizing" the franchise. Rist later remarked that he could have been out of line since Bay makes more money than he does. In response to the feedback, Bay issued a statement asking fans to calm down since a script had not been revealed, his team was working closely with the creators, and would include all the elements that made them fans to begin with. Both Brian Tochi, who voiced Leonardo in the first three films, and Judith Hoag, who played April O'Neil in the first film, have voiced their support towards the creative change. TMNT co-creator Peter Laird expressed his thoughts on the change asking fans to take Bay's advice and wait until more of Bay's plan is made available. Laird also stated that he felt the "ill-conceived plan" could be a "genius notion," as it would allow fans to have the multitude of bipedal anthropomorphic turtles that they have been asking for. He would point out that while the concept of a turtle-planet backstory made for a great run-of-the-mill science fiction story, it had no real place in the Ninja Turtles universe.
The franchise's co-creator Kevin Eastman stated that he had been invited behind the scenes of the film, and concluded that he was officially on board with the project and that, although he could not say much, he believes it to be "awesome". Via Twitter, Corey Feldman, who voiced Donatello in the first and third films, voiced his support for the film saying that he loves Bay's remakes and he is eager to reprise his role. In response to the backlash, Liebesman stated that he was glad to hear about the fans' response, since he and Eastman had been locked in a room working on ideas that, from his own perspective as a fan, everybody would love. While he would not confirm whether or not Bay's comment did represent the film's premise, he did stress on the ooze itself and its background in the original comic, reminding that the ooze was the product of alien technology. In regards to how the Turtles would be rendered, Liebesman would not say exactly what visual direction would be taken, but he did state that he enjoyed Weta Digital's work in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He also pointed out that the film would not be exclusively about action but will also focus on brotherhood, friendship, and responsibility.
In late March 2012, Bay posted on his website explaining the title change and stressing that nothing had changed regarding the Turtles. He stated the reason the title was shortened was a request by Paramount to make the title "simple". He continued that the Turtles were the same as fans remember and regardless of the title change they still act like teenagers. He urged everyone to give everybody who was involved a chance, as they had the fans interest at top priority and would not let anybody down. On June 12, 2012, Eastman revealed some of the things for the film stating that April would not be 16 years old like in the 2012 cartoon series, he feels Ken Watanabe would make a great Shredder, he would like to bring Reyes back as a Foot lieutenant, and martial arts wise they are looking at Fist of Legend and The Raid: Redemption. Three days later, it was reported that production for this project has been shut down. While the release date has been pushed back five months, the work stoppage for the film was said to be "indefinite". However, other sources said that the film would be released on May 16, 2014 due to problems in that script that need to be corrected. In July 2012, Eastman called it "easily the best Turtle movie yet". Kevin Eastman stated that the movie is creating its own story but has to be true to the source material or else they will get "murdered".
In August 2012, an early version of the script, dated 1/30/12, titled "The Blue Door" and written by Appelbaum and Nemec, was leaked online. It featured major changes to the origins: the Turtles hail from another dimension that consists of turtle warriors, Splinter is an alien from the same dimension as well, Shredder is "Colonel Schrader", a government agent who is secretly an alien who can grow blades from his body, "The Foot Clan" is just "The Foot", an elite Black Ops unit led by Col. Schrader, Casey Jones is an 18-year-old security guard/amateur ice hockey player that finds the Turtles and is the focus of the film, April is also 18 and is having relationship troubles with Casey because she is moving to New York due to an internship at CBS, Raphael is the comic relief instead of Michelangelo, and Michelangelo falls in love with a turtle woman from his home planet. A cease and desist order was sent by Paramount Pictures to a website that was hosting the script. Peter Laird read the script and commented on his blog that "all true TMNT fans should be grateful to the new 'powers that be' that they did not allow this wretched thing to go any further." In response to The Blue Door, Bay stated that the draft had been written before he and Platinum Dunes joined the project and was promptly rejected some time before. On January 12, 2013, Production Weekly revealed the film would start filming in April 2013 in New York. The following month, the studio pushed back the film's release date until June 6, 2014, and a new writer, Evan Daugherty, was brought on board. On August 15, 2013, Paramount postponed the release date to August 8, 2014 in order to avoid competition with other family-friendly films released in June 2014 as well as one of Paramount and Michael Bay's other releases, Transformers: Age of Extinction.
In mid February 2013, actress Megan Fox had been reported to be cast as April O'Neil, reuniting her with Bay after he fired her from Transformers: Dark of the Moon at behest of Steven Spielberg for comparing Bay to Hitler, an allegation Spielberg himself denied. Bay confirmed Fox is back in good terms with him as early as April 2011 but it was said by a close source that Fox had to personally apologize again to get the role of April. Jessica Biel had expressed interest in playing the part. In regards to Fox's casting, Laird commented that he felt there were better choices to play April, but that he would prefer not to get too worked up over the issue.
A month later, it was reported that Alan Ritchson, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard and Noel Fisher were cast as Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo respectively. In early April, Will Arnett was cast in a role that was being kept secret until leaked photos revealed that he had been cast as April's cameraman and rival, Vernon Fenwick. Soon after that, actor Danny Woodburn joined the cast as Splinter.
In early May, William Fichtner was cast in the film as a lead with iconic stature in the Turtles' mythology, marking his third collaboration with Bay following Armageddon and Pearl Harbor. That same month, former Saturday Night Live star Abby Elliott was cast in the film. Also, it was revealed that Whoopi Goldberg appeared on set, and that she is portraying Bernadette Thompson, a female version of Burne Thompson. On June 22, 2013, Fichtner revealed to the Huffington Post that he is playing a character named Eric Sacks. On August 3, 2013, Kevin Eastman posted on his Facebook page that he was heading to New York to shoot a cameo in the movie. In October 2013, William Fichtner revealed that Bebop and Rocksteady would not be appearing in the film. In March 2014, it was revealed that Abby Elliott would be playing April O'Neil's roommate. In April 2014, Abby Elliot revealed that her character will be named Taylor, and on April 3, actors Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub joined the film as the voices of Leonardo and Splinter respectively.
Principal photography commenced March 22, 2013 in Tupper Lake, New York. Shooting began in April in New York City and at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh on Long Island, New York under the code words "four squared" (4SQ). On April 20, 2013, the film was renamed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. On April 29, 2013, Michael Bay retracted comments that the turtles would be aliens. Early set photos were made public showing the turtles' actors in black and grey motion capture suits, complete with life-sized turtle shells, with each actor wearing arm bands and accents of their corresponding turtle's signature color. Production for the film wrapped on August 6, 2013. Additional filming occurred in January and April 2014.
The release date was moved around several times until it was set for August 8, 2014. The film premiered on July 29, 2014 in Mexico City. Premiere events also occurred in Los Angeles and New York City.
A teaser trailer for the film was shown at Cinema Con on March 24, 2014 before its public release on March 27. The trailer reached over 31.4 million views on YouTube in its first week. On April 13, 2014, the first TV spot for the movie was released. A second version of the teaser trailer was released on April 30, 2014. Footage of the film was shown at CineEurope with an introduction from Megan Fox. On June 18, 2014, Playmates Toys announced they have a new product line of toys based entirely on the film, including action figures, vehicles and role play gear. Nickelodeon Consumer Products also announced a complete merchandise lineup of movie-based products that will be available in all major retailers from July 2014 through the holiday season. On June 23, 2014, Paramount gave fans the opportunity to see new posters and a new trailer by voting for their favorite turtle on Twitter. The following day, Paramount released a new trailer which includes the single "Reptile's Theme Song" by Skrillex. A second TV spot for the film was released on July 3, 2014. On July 7, 2014, Pizza Hut announced a new advertising campaign for the film, which included the return of the chain’s Cheesy Bites Pizza, social media contests themed around the film, and a television advertisement featuring the new movie incarnations of the characters. On July 10, 2014, four motion posters of the turtles were released and new TV spot debuted that day as well. Another new TV spot was released on July 15, 2014. An extended behind-the-scenes featurette was shown after the 2014 Kids' Choice Sports Awards. On July 21, 2014, a single titled "Shell Shocked" by Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa, and Ty Dolla $ign featuring Kill the Noise and Madsonik was released, as it is part of the movie's soundtrack. An extended TV spot debuted the following day. Paramount promoted the film on July 24, 2014 at San Diego Comic-Con International. Five new TV spots were released that day as well. The music video for the song, "Shell Shocked" debuted on July 28, 2014. On August 1, 2014, Paramount debuted eleven new TV spots for the film. On August 4, 2014, Pentatonix released a new song titled "We Are Ninjas" and a music video as part of the promotion for the film.
In Australia, a poster was released which featured the four turtles jumping from an exploding skyscraper as promotion for its September 11 release. The poster offended many people since the World Trade Center was destroyed back in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. Paramount apologized and removed the poster.
The film was met with generally negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 20% based on 98 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads: "Neither entertaining enough to recommend nor remarkably awful, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may bear the distinction of being the dullest movie ever made about talking bipedal reptiles." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 34 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a B grade on a scale of A to F.
Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave the film one out of four stars, saying "The comedy-action mash-up is as weird as if the Dark Knight took a break from belting the Joker to plug Pizza Hut and bang out a hiphop beat on his nunchucks." Sandie Angulo Chen of the Washington Post gave the film two out of four stars, saying "While this reboot is fun, it's also forgettable and occasionally infuriating." Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News gave the film zero stars, saying "Even youngsters may wonder why any hint of charm or fun has scurried away. Those new to the franchise may withdraw their head into their neck, turtle-like." Rafer Guzman of Newsday gave the film two out of four stars, saying "Rougher and slightly funnier than the 1990 original, but still harmless junk at best." Peter Howell of the Toronto Star gave the film one and half stars out of four, saying "Not much of an effort is made to differentiate the personalities of the turtles, who all frankly look as grotesque as a Terry Gilliam cartoon." Nicolas Rapold of The New York Times said "Attached to this movie, the title no longer sounds zany; it looks like a series of keywords." Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times said "There is something half-hearted about the entire film, as if those behind it were involved not because they wanted to make it, not because they should make it, but just because they could." Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C+, saying "Too-brief thrills only shine a harsher light on the film's laborious pacing and cringeworthy one-liners spilling from the maws of the ninja teens."
Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a positive review, saying "Liebesman relies on his genre-film resume to keep events moving at a brisk clip and the motion-capture process employed to facilitate live-action integration with cutting-edge VFX looks superior onscreen." Justin Chang of Variety said the film is "Neither a particularly good movie nor the pop-cultural travesty that some were dreading." A.A. Dowd of The A.V. Club gave the film a C+, saying "What the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lacks is not fidelity, but a spirit of genuine boyish fun -- the sense that anyone involved saw more than a very specific shade of green in the freshly digital scales of these 30-year-old characters." Soren Anderson of The Seattle Times gave the film one out of four stars, saying "If ever there was a movie that should not have been made, this is that movie." Drew Hunt of Chicago Reader said "The light, comedic tone is weighed down by unimaginative pop-culture references and half-witted one-liners." Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic gave the film two out of five stars, saying "It's just kind of a mess, as unfocused and immature as the four mutant turtles at its core. Stuff happens, stuff blows up and this is probably a good time to mention that Michael Bay produced the film." Alonso Duralde of The Wrap gave the film a negative review, saying "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a movie that takes its characters and its premise seriously, until it doesn't, and that operates at two speeds: tortoise (ponderous) and hare (head-spinning)."
Nancy Churnin of The Dallas Morning News gave the film a B, writing "The turtles (engagingly voiced by Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Johnny Knoxville and Jeremy Howard) look terrific" and "The best part is that the film has heart". Adam Graham of The Detroit News gave the film a B-, saying "There's enough turtle power to please kids and fans of the original series." Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film two out of four stars, saying "The kind of cliched, misfit crimefighters-versus-demented villains scenario that Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird happily parodied when they came up with the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic books way back in the 1980s." Tom Russo of The Boston Globe gave the film one and a half stars out of five, saying "The repartee, as ever, is weak. Even with all the extra layers of digital detail, it's still tough to keep these four straight." Cliff Lee of The Globe and Mail gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying "For having gone to the trouble of making a self-descriptive movie called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, its producers seem ultimately unsure about its most basic concept." James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles doesn't so much provide brainless enjoyment as it pummels the viewer into submission. "Shell-shocked" is a reasonable description of the experience." Chris Cabin of Slant Magazine gave the film one out of four stars, saying Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles only leaves one with the dim afterglow of forced normalcy, of a film so overworked to ensure mass-market appeal that it loses the charming oddness and loose goofiness that has allowed these characters, and their "frothy" appeal, to endure."
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has grossed $128,809,806 in North America as of August 21, 2014, and an estimated $67,500,000 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $196,309,806.
During its opening day, the film grossed $25.6 million, including $4.6 million from Thursday night showings. In its first weekend, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opened in first place with $65.6 million, which exceeded Paramount and box office analysts's predictions of a $40 to $45 million opening, and achieved the fourth highest weekend debut for the month of August. The movie remained at the number one spot in its second weekend by grossing an estimated $28.5 million (down 56.5%).
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Score|
|Soundtrack album by Brian Tyler|
|Released||August 5, 2014|
|Brian Tyler film scores chronology|
- Track listing
All music composed by Brian Tyler.
|1.||"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"||4:45|
|2.||"Adolescent Genetically Altered Shinobi Terrapins"||4:31|
|3.||"Splinter vs. Shredder"||6:25|
|7.||"Rise of the Four"||3:34|
|8.||"The Foot Clan"||3:17|
|14.||"99 Cheese Pizza"||1:49|
William Fichtner revealed in an interview that he has signed on for three TMNT films. Noel Fisher also revealed in an interview that all four of the turtle actors have signed on for three films as well. Liebesman and Fuller had confirmed that Casey Jones as well as Bebop and Rocksteady will appear in the sequels. There are also plans for Krang and Dimension X in the sequels as well. On August 10, 2014, Paramount announced that a sequel will be released on June 3, 2016, with Michael Bay returning as producer and Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec coming back as screenwriters.
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