JoBlo.com Checks out an Early Glimpse of the Comic Con footage for TMNT!
Are you ready for TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES? While the trailer is exciting some yet concerning others, there is still a ton we don’t know about the film. This afternoon however, a handful of journalists gathered together to get further inside the pizza loving (yes there will be pizza!) teen turtles in a half shell that happen to have ninja powers. Introduced by director Jonathan Liebesman, producer Andrew Form and President of Paramount Film Group Adam Goodman, we sat down for approximately sixteen-minutes of the new film. Happily for this fan, much of what I’d hoped to see in this flick was on display, and that is fun times with a cool sense of humor. As far as action is concerned, the footage we witnessed had a ton of it.
For all of you heading to Comic Con this year, you will get to see the footage we were presented with on Thursday, July 24th from 3:00pm to 4:00pm at the hallowed halls of Hall H. In order not to spoil anything, I will briefly say that we were shown two scenes including April O’Neil’s (Megan Fox) introduction to the turtles as well as a very narrow escape in what is being called “the snow chase sequence” featuring Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo along with their new gal pal and Will Arnett as Vernon Fenwick. While watching only a couple of scenes from the film won’t give you a full appreciation of what is going to be on display, it did help reinvigorate my personal excitement for the upcoming release. For a little more in-depth look inside the footage, you can check out our recent article on this very subject.
One thing that you get a sense of from the coverage is the energy and fun. The use of modern ideas including the internet and YouTube is addressed in a natural and funny way, at least from what we witnessed. When it came to the relationship between the brothers, the humor and bonding is already a blast to watch. After getting used to the look of the turtles themselves, the CG is actually quite solid. The detail is impressive, whether they are kicking ass are awkwardly hitting on April, the finished product looks to be better than I had hoped.
What makes TMNT so much fun is the personalities of these four unlikely heroes. And I’m happy to say that that aspect does not appear to be lost in all the CG. While I’m still waiting to see what Shredder and Splinter look like – I’ve heard they are badass – I have a feeling Liebesman and company have done them justice. And as for Megan Fox, the more I see of her as April, the more I buy into it. It sure helps that she is smoking hot!
After the presentation, we all gathered outside the Stella Adler Theatre on the Paramount Lot for what else?? Pizza! Yet in-between food, soda and candy, Jonathan and Andrew took time out to chat about the film, the footage and the expectations of the fans. Here are some of the highlights of this informal Q & A.
In regards to the tone of the film, Andrew had this to say:
That was the hardest thing about the movie, the tone. I don't know if everyone knows what the tone of the movie is yet. You guys now see the tone. We show you the setup. You get to meet the turtles. They interact in a snow chase. They're doing their action. That's why we picked these pieces to show. We really want to show the tone of the movie. As Adam was saying, it's amazing how well the personalities come through in these characters.
Will we see the origin of the Turtles?
AF: Yes! You don't have to come to this movie knowing anything about "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles".
Jonathan Liebesman: That was important to me when I was reading the script. I was like, "Where's the part where they turn into Ninja Turtles?" That's all I gave a s-t about two years ago. It's super-important.
And just so we are clear:
JL: William Fichtner isn't Shredder. He's Eric Sachs. Shredder is played by another actor. He's not all CG. You see him without his armor on. When he's in the armor, there's an actor, but he's been augmented. Like in "Iron Man," it's CGI.
There have been so many different interpretations of the turtles before. What did you take the most inspiration from? It seems like this borrows very heavily from the original cartoon series, maybe even more so than the 89 and subsequent movies did.
JL: I was super-familiar with the cartoon. That's what I saw in South Africa. Again, there was a huge amount of inspiration from the original black and white comics. Then another huge inspiration from -- like I said, the property was, for me as a kid, sort of off my radar. I went back and looked online at what kind of fan art had been done over 20 years. There was a lot of amazing stuff that sort of extrapolated off the original Eastman and Laird things. For me, a big deal was getting inspired by Kevin and Peter's stuff and getting inspired by fan art. That was sort of the visual aspect. From a tonal aspect, it was the cartoons that I grew up with. I wanted to honor Michelangelo. There's an awesome pizza scene we didn't show you.
AF: Pizza is definitely in the movie.
JL: Yeah, I was online and saw someone asking, "Is pizza in the movie?" You'll see the world's most operatic pizza scene committed to CGI.
In regards to how much of the actors’ performances are motion capture:
JL: Literally what they'll do with performance capture is try and slate the tracking suits into software. Then you have to re-target points on the face and parts of the turtles' anatomy. It doesn't always match, so the animators are adjusting the points. Then the shot is technically animated. Just about every shot has to have an animation pass. Sometimes you're also picking up a performance from one take and blending it with a performance from another take. The animator has to meld those together. Or you've got a stunt guy and you want to put a performance of your real actor on the stunt guy. Technically, every single shot goes through some animation to get it where you want it to be.
Are we going to hear a pop music tune in this, or the theme song?
AF: As a matter of fact, you're going to. You might even hear some of that theme somewhere! We have a very, very fun song at the end.
How modernized is this going to be in regards to YouTube, Instagram, etc.:
AF: Donatello's the guy. You see him with all his gadgets and gear. He's the guy that's very, very tech-savvy. JL: Yeah, I think he's just your typical teenager -- well, not typical, but he's still a massive geek who lives in his basement and has the most powerful internet connection in all of New York City. You can't tell in what you saw, but he has these Nintendo keypads that he's rigged into this little miniature holographic thing. He's totally geeked out and invented his own equipment. In my head, he's got these solar powered sort of ninja outfit. It's solar powered so it can power all the gear on his back. He has a whole bunch of stuff. He's basically got this rig of kitchen technology all over that gives him the most powerful walking internet connection in New York City.
Now with only about three and a half weeks before the film’s August 8th release, I am officially pumped! It appears that we may have a blast of fun action-comedy goodness. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES hits theaters on August 8, 2014.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming flick?
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