Film: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
Crime, violence, and fear have run rampant. Our great city is being destroyed. People want justice restored to this world. People want heroes.
But heroes are not born. They're created.
— Eric Sacks
A new film
produced by Michael Bay
and directed by Jonathan Liebesman
, released by Paramount Pictures
. It's a live-action movie with the Turtles generated through Performance Capture CGI
The story goes right into the origins of the Turtles as reporter April O'Neil finds herself involved in a secret group called the Foot Clan. But opposing them are unlikely heroes, four teenaged mutated turtle brothers who are skilled ninjas
trained by a mutated rat. It turns out the Turtles and the Foot have a distant history and their conflict reaches a boiling point.
As expected with any adaptation, there are some changes. The turtles are quite tall and bulky in comparison to other sources note
and the Foot is more modeled off of modern military.
The movie was released on August 7, 2014. It managed to gross half its production budget back in one weekend, also taking in more in one weekend than the last Turtle movie did in its entire theatrical run.
A sequel has already been announced for June 3, 2016.
See the teaser here
and the second trailer here
People want tropes. But tropes are not born. They're added:
- Adaptation Distillation: April's a reporter like in the 1987 cartoon. She also knew the turtles and Splinter before they mutated, like in the IDW comics. The Shredder is also a lot more imposing, like his Super Shredder form in Turtles II, and wears an armored suit like in the 2003 cartoon.
- Adapted Out: Hamato Yoshi is nowhere to be seen in this story, with Splinter a mutated rat (not Yoshi himself) who learned ninjitsu from reading books on it. Oroku Saki is not named on camera, but the character himself embodies the name of The Shredder. Casey Jones is not in the film as well, despite being in the parallel first movie.
- Adorkable: There are a few times when the turtles really do act like teenagers, treating their own exploits like kids would. A particularly funny moment has the group in an elevator right before the climax and they all start beatboxing and using their weapons as instruments in turn, including Raph and Leo. Another funny moment had Donatello wonder if his telescoping staff had the punch to flip a humvee, and as it does so in slow motion the camera lingers on his glee-filled face.
- All There in the Manual: Paramount released a trailer and website about "The Legend of the Yokai", which told of four kappa yokai who once defended Japan against a horde of fellow monsters, were also trained as ninja, and passed into legend saying they would come again. Though the film itself doesn't elaborate on this further than Eric Sacks displaying a scroll illustrated with kappa.
- Artistic License – Biology: Given, they are mutant turtles, however in the case of great blood loss as the turtles experience, giving them adrenaline would definitely give them short-lived pep but it would be short lived and not last as long as through the end of the movie.
- Badass Grandpa:
- Splinter, considering he lasted longer against Shredder one on one than the turtles did four on one.
- Shredder himself has got to be at least in his 50s (considering he raised Sacks since Sacks was a child), and he's able to fight off all four of the turtles at once.
- Badass Mustache: Splinter sports a truly epic Fu Manchu.
- Badass Normal: April and Vernon went after Sacks and retrieved the mutagen despite neither being remotely skilled and Sacks having a gun.
- Broken Pedestal: April started the film admiring Eric Sacks for publicly opposing the actions of the Foot Clan, until it was revealed that not only is he a member of the Foot Clan, he is the Shredder's right-hand-man. That pedestal was completely obliterated by the end of the film when it was revealed Sacks killed April's father after the later discovered the true purpose of Project Renaissance and tried to stop the former.
- Buffy Speak: April, when she complains about doing "froth" journalism. Oddly enough, there are actually proper terms for what April is describing: puff pieces or fluff pieces.
- But I Read A Book About It: Given that the Hamato Yoshi backstory was adapted out for the Project Renaissance experiment, Splinter teaches ninjitsu from a book he found, instead of getting their Italian renaissance names from one. Shredder lampshades this during his fight that it might not be the best way to learn.Not that it stops him from actually putting up a good fight.
- Caffeine Bullet Time: The film features a different variation of this trope. When Leo, Mikey, and Donny are kidnapped by the Foot to have their Blood and Mutagen extracted to serve Eric Sacks's evil plan, April manages to rescue them by pumping them with adrenaline before they can be killed. The result of which causes them to break out of their tanks and to jumps around blubbering excitedly yet incoherently before realizing that Raph is getting killed by the Shredder.
- Casual Danger Dialog: Often in the film, but particularly on April and Vernon's part as they slide down a snowy mountain in a truck cab - their conversation does not match their dire situation.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- Michelangelo's "Buck-Buck" game which actually comes in handy during the final battle with Shredder.
- Eric mentions the regenerative powers of the mutagen in his conversation with April. These properties are what save Raphael and Splinter.
- The 'Hashi' punishment Splinter puts the turtles through becomes more of a training exercise for when they have to hold up the tower near the end of the film, with Shredder beating on Leo trying to make him break focus. Good thing he didn't have a cheese pizza on hand.
- Chickification: Karai gets hit with this pretty hard, in every adaptation prior, that she has appeared in, she has always been a Badass who had skill equal, if not greater, to the turtles, to the point that if the Shredder disappears she became the next Big Bad. But in this movie, with the turtles being mini Hulks, Karai barely even counts as an Elite Mook and her biggest role is yelling at foot solders.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Mikey has April on his mind in pretty much every non-action scene where they interact. He even apologizes for how creepy his "We will find you" line sounded when she first meets them.
- Chronically Crashed Car: The Fenwick Express. No matter the incarnation, whenever one appears it will always be destroyed before the film is over. Even if he just got it brand new.
- Color-Coded Characters: The brothers, naturally. April is also codified by her Yellow jacket.
- Leonardo: Blue
- Raphael: Red
- Donatello: Purple
- Michelangelo: Orange
- Comically Missing the Point: When April sees the turtles for the first time, Michelangelo thinks she was more scared by their bandanna masks than the fact that she sees giant talking turtles standing before her.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: The Turtles dread the 'Hashi', where they have to perform balancing acts while simultaneously doing another task for hours on end.
- Leonardo: doing the splits on cinderblocks while balancing eggs on single chopsticks and on his head.
- Raphael: maintaining a crane stance on a tricycle while knitting.
- Donatello: standing on a balance board while keeping ping-pong balls in the air. He's starting to get nauseous.
- Michelangelo: doing a handstand on a swivel chair. He was actually starting to enjoy himself until Splinter brings out a pizza and starts listing off the impossible list of ingredients.
: I'm not gonna break, I'm not gonna break, I'm not gonna break... Splinter
: Oh really? Not even for the legendary... 99-cheese pizza? Michelangelo
: Okay, I'm breaking a little! Donatello
: Mikey, it's a trap! A pizza with that variety of cheese is a culinary impossibility!
- Cool Board: Mikey has a jet propelled skateboard.
- Cool Old Guy: Splinter, if his speech about how family is the strongest power of all is anything to go by. If not that, then going up against the Shredder alone definitely makes him qualify, even if he does get beaten.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Per canon, Michelangelo, who even manages to kick ass on accident. It's Mikey who suggests playing a game of "Buck-Buck" on Shredder. Vernon also qualifies due his driving skills and confrontation with Sacks.
- Curbstomp Battle: Each of the turtles properly get their asses handed to them when facing Shredder, even as a team. Splinter is the only one able to really give him much of a fight.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Sacks has a building in downtown Manhattan, a mansion home outside of town, helicopter, resources to have labs - but he's evidently not rich enough. He wants to be "stupid rich", by poisoning the city and selling the cure.
- Deadly Gas: Eric Sacks plans to release a powerful toxin his company created into New York. After wiping out a good percent of the population, he plans to rise up as a hero with an antidote he created with mutagen.
- Distinctive Appearances / Divergent Character Evolution: The individual turtles are much more visually diverse than in any past incarnation. It goes beyond color coding their masks and weapons, to major clothing differences and physical stature.
- Raphael is incredibly muscular compared to the other three. On top of that, his mask is a bandana fashioned like a do-rag, and he's covered in training bandages. He also has a character scarred onto his right shoulder.
- Leonardo sports shoulder guards and other samurai style armor garments. He's also the most "average" build of the four.
- Donatello is decked from head to shell in various gadgets, including goggles mounted on his forehead and stereotypically taped Nerd Glasses. He's also the tallest and thinnest of the brothers.
- Michelangelo has a puka shell necklace, sneakers, and a hoodie around his waist. Even when he's serious, his general facial composition still makes him look dopey. He's also the shortest and roundest turtle.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Vernon when struggling to control a speeding 18-wheeler down a steep mountainside. April leans out the window trying to capture footage of the Turtles fighting the Foot Clan, with her rear end prominently displayed.
- Human-Focused Adaptation: The film still centers around the turtles but there's a heavy emphasis on April.
- Idiot Ball: April picks this up when she goes to her editor with a bizarre account of mutant turtles and absolutely no evidence to back it up. She actually did have evidence, but was too sleep-deprived and probably jacked on caffeine to remember that she had the photo on her phone.
- Immune to Bullets: The Turtles' shells are bulletproof, which they were quite delighted to learn.
- Interspecies Romance: Michelangelo has a crush on April O’Neil. However, it is not acknowledged by April. Michelangelo tells his brothers that he has dibs on April after they meet her and he refers to her as his girlfriend when he realizes that she is the hogosha. Mikey is always trying to flirt with her and be romantic, though her safety is his biggest concern when they are in danger.
- Jive Turkey: Mikey talks in a more 'urban' slang style than the 'surfer' slang he's usually been associated with. Interestingly enough, this is not only a modernization but a Development Gag from the 87 show before it was ultimately decided they should be Totally Radical.
- Knife Nut: Shredder as per usual. His Powered Armor has several retractable blades per arm, and he can even pull them out to make a double-edged blade. The suit can also fire the blades, and bring them back with magnets...
- Lightning Bruiser: The greater size and weight these incarnations of the Turtles possess don't seem to do much in slowing down their traditionally acrobatic abilities. Special mention goes to Raphael, who has shoulders bigger than truck tires but is flipping and ninja-ing with the best of them, and even manages to sneak into the back of the Fenwick Express without April or Vernon hearing him. The Shredder's Powered Armor also allows him to retain his swift fighting style.
- Race Lift:
- It was initially suggested that Eric Sacks was a new incarnation of The Shredder/Oroku Saki. However, this proves to have been a Red Herring, as Sacks is seen speaking to a man shrouded in shadows, evidently Oroku Saki himself, about developing a new suit of armor for him. Interestingly, Sacks is the Shredder in the 3DS version of the movie, as well as earlier comments by Fincher himself, leading some to speculate that Sacks was originally Shredder but was changed to avoid any further fan backlash.
- April's boss Burne Thompson is now an African American. Also an example of Gender Flip, since Thompson is now a woman and her first name is Bernadette.
- Reality Ensues:
- April is a reporter who goes to her boss with minimal evidence, ranting about mutant turtles who are also ninja's, after being told once before she needed real evidence, and promptly gets fired. She doesn't miraculously get her job back at the end either, choosing not to expose her new friends.
- Splinter and the Turtles are self-taught from a karate book that got tossed into the sewer. Though competent against mooks due to their size and speed, Shredder is out of their league since he's better-trained and wearing Powered Armor that makes him a physical equal.
- The sewer-surfing scene is getting to be a tradition for this franchise, but then a slight mis-timing causes all of them to reach the narrow drain at once instead of one after another. At least it's Played for Laughs.
- Super Strength: The Turtles have this here. As stated under Fastball Special above, Donnie is able to throw Raph with enough force to bash in a Humvee and send it rolling down a hill, and flip another truck over with only his bo staff himself. Earlier when hyped up on adrenaline they all broke through their unbreakable glass cages.
- Technology Marches On: An amusing contrast in a comparable sequence with the 1990 film. A foot ninja had to track Raphael through the maze of sewers. In this film, a sonar mapping system does the trick for them.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Taken to the apex with the Shredder Powered Armor. Not only does it have at least 3 massive blades on each arm, it is designed to launch those blades in a fanning motion and has a magnetic return system, letting him recover "ammo" almost instantly. Although towards the end it started backfiring, as the Turtles started deflecting those blades back at him. Played straight with Leonardo, who chucks a katana at Shredder and impaled his shoulder.
- Title Drop: Played with:
Leonardo: We're ninjas.
Raphael: We're mutants.
Donatello: Technically we're turtles.
Michelangelo: Oh, and we're teenagers, but we can still have "adult conversations".
April: Ninja, mutant, turtle, teenagers?
Donatello: When you put it like that, it sounds ridiculous!
- Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: One has to wonder how mutated lab animals who spent years underground managed to find so many ninja weapons. Not to mention the equipment Donatello has, including but not limited to: retinal scanners, thermal goggles, and a wrist-mounted computer with a holographic display.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Shredder passes up opportunities to kill: April, Splinter, and Raphael when no one could stop him. He also decides at a pivotal moment to attack the only person capable of resisting him.
- Worthy Opponent: Shredder was actually impressed by Splinter's skill during their fight, although he didn't think much of his students.
- Would Hit a Girl:
- While the attacks aren't like full on punches to the face or anything, Raphael does slam Karai into a wall in their first encounter, and is the one that takes out the jeep she's in, and it's questionable if she survived the attack or not.
- Likewise, Shredder clearly had no problem killing April and would have done so repeatedly if the Turtles hadn't kept distracting him.
- You Have to Believe Me: April actually seems to go out of her way to look like a raving nutcase when she first tells her boss about the Turtles. Actually mildly justified as she said she was up all night going over everything. Nerves + lack of sleep + the sheer nuttiness of the tale = not being at your best.
- You Killed My Father: Said word-for-word. Eric Sacks was the one who killed April's father in the past.