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What does TMNT co-creator Peter Laird think of the trailer for the reboot?

04.08.2014

It seems like almost everyone has an opinion on the first trailer for Jonathan Liebesman's TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, including Peter Laird, co-creator of the comics. Laird recently spoke with CBM, and shared his thoughts on the first trailer. I think you're going to be very interested in what he has to say.

Laird's first reaction to the trailer:

I was impressed with what I saw of the production values -- if nothing else, it looks like the new TMNT movie will have a lot of stuff going on and looking good (that toppling tower, for example) -- but the changes to the basic design of the Turtles seemed to me to fall into the "fixing what is not broken" category. It's altogether possible that, in the context of this new movie, these designs will work well and not seem so odd, but I still point to what Jim Henson's "Creature Shop" team did with their rendering of the Turtles in rubber and paint as the best translation (in live action, anyway) of the Turtles as Kevin Eastman and I created them.

That being said, so far I have only seen this short trailer with just a few brief glimpses of the Turtles. My opinion could change. One thing that comes to mind if how cool it would be if someone did CGI versions of those same Henson designs, with all the incredible flexibility and seamless action potential available with today's CGI.

Peter Laird was asked if the turtles are over-stylized (Raphael's sunglasses, Donatello's goggles, etc.):

It may just be a personal preference of mine -- and one informed by twenty-five years with the Turtles as co-creator working on those green dudes -- but the extra "stuff" added to the Turtles' outfits just seems extraneous to me, and a bit silly in spots (I mean, thin bamboo armor for a Turtle's shell?). Maybe it will work, but right now, I don't see it. I prefer the simpler versions.

Laird was also asked if he thinks the turtles are too big, and if it concerns him:

A little, but maybe it will work. I'll wait until I see the whole movie before I make up my mind on that one.

On April O'Neil's father and Shredder working together:

I am not sure there is enough revealed so far to allow a conclusive judgement on what connection, exactly, there is between what the Shredder (with or without the involvement of April's father) is doing and how the Turtles became mutated. Something is suggested, but it is not entirely clear what. I do have to say that my gut reaction to having what MIGHT be such a close connection between April and her father and the Shredder and the Turtles's origin is that I am not crazy about it. However, I am open to being surprised by a plot which makes that odd (to me) twist make sense. I guess we'll see if it does when the movie opens.

His thoughts on the Turtles being created by someone, and not from an accident in the reboot:

As you know, in our original conception of the TMNT, the Turtles' existence as mutated beings WAS the result of an accident… or several accidents, if you count
 -- TCRI canister jolted out of truck
-- canister bouncing off head of young guy saving old man from getting run over by truck
-- canister on new trajectory now hitting and smashing open glass container with the pre-mutated turtles in it
-- canister and turtles falling into manhole together
-- turtles crawling around in ooze from canister
-- Splinter (in pre-mutated form) observing all of this, and then getting into the ooze himself as he gathers up the turtles.
I have always found that accidental, somewhat random series of events culminating in the creation of the TMNT to be a significant part of the charm of the story. Somehow, retconning it to make their origin the result of deliberate action seems like a mistake. However, perhaps the writers have found a clever way to make this seems more palatable. We'll have to watch the movie to find out.

Shortly after the first trailer was released, a fan digitally "fixed" a couple of the turtles' faces (image above), and CBM wanted to know Peter Laird's opinion on them.

It's interesting, and well done, and I think it points up one of the big problems (for me, anyway) with the new look created for the upcoming movie -- with those noses and very expressive lips, their faces look too human. Perhaps it is just my own personal preference, but the "noseless beak" look for the Turtles which Kevin and I used in all of our comics, and in pretty much all of the licensed material during the Mirage days (and which was really there from the very beginning, when Kevin drew that first "ninja turtle") is, in my opinion, a great way to immediately show that these guys are not human -- they're mutated reptiles. Creatures.

Of course, I could be wrong about the new design -- maybe in the context of the movie, it will work fine. From what I have seen so far, it is an excellent example of state-of-the-art character CGI. Perhaps it will become more popular than the noseless style which was used for the first twenty-five years. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Peter Laird wraps things up by talking about how the trailer reminded him of when a company wanted to do a live-action TMNT film without turtle masks, and with just green paint on their faces.

I do have to make one further comment about it, though. When I watched that trailer for the first time, and came to that bit near the end where Michelangelo takes off his bandana, revealing his full face to April, complete with human-looking nose, I immediately flashed back to the early days, back in 1984 or 1985 when we were living in Sharon, CT and just beginning to take steps into the world of licensing the TMNT. It was during that time that we received a letter from a small movie company -- I think it was New World -- offering us a deal to do a live-action TMNT movie, wherein they suggested that the way to go was to choose some (at that point in time) "hot" young comedians, dress them up in Turtle costumes, but leave their faces bare… except for a layer of green paint, so their zany comic expressions could be easily visible.

As you probably know, we turned that one down. Remember, this was well before the first animated TMNT series was even a glimmer in anyone's eye. It's intriguing to contemplate what the history of the TMNT might have been had we accepted that first live-action movie offer.

So it appears Peter Laird's issues with the reboot are the same as most fans, however he still sounds optimistic about the film.The action definitely looks like it'll be bigger than anything we've seen before in the previous TMNT films. I'm not expecting TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES to be exactly the same as the cartoons, the live-action films or the comics, but it still might be a fun film to check out.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES will be in theaters on August 8th, 2014.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: CBM

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2:35AM on 04/09/2014

They look like deformed human creatures

I think the new turtles look less turtle like and more like a deformed human like creature.
I think the new turtles look less turtle like and more like a deformed human like creature.
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10:55PM on 04/08/2014

Turtle Power? No..

I like what Peter Laird has to say..because I agree with it....the guys who rebooted this franchise have really ruined the great key elements of the Turtle story...it angers me that they have a free license to change things they way THEY WANT, not paying enough respect to the comics, the cartoons and the original back story..is sad and kind of asshole-ish....I know they want to put their new spin on things, but those new spins shouldnt be as dramatic as they are shown so far....but like Laird,
I like what Peter Laird has to say..because I agree with it....the guys who rebooted this franchise have really ruined the great key elements of the Turtle story...it angers me that they have a free license to change things they way THEY WANT, not paying enough respect to the comics, the cartoons and the original back story..is sad and kind of asshole-ish....I know they want to put their new spin on things, but those new spins shouldnt be as dramatic as they are shown so far....but like Laird, I will save total judgement, until I see this movie in full.
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4:45PM on 04/08/2014
the faces just weird me the fuck out
the faces just weird me the fuck out
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2:37PM on 04/08/2014

Eater egg

"canister bouncing off head of young guy saving old man from getting run over by truck" That's Daredevil's origin.
"canister bouncing off head of young guy saving old man from getting run over by truck" That's Daredevil's origin.
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6:05AM on 04/09/2014
The original Mirage comics were full of awesome little Easter eggs and tributes like that. Hell they parodied Frank Miller before the guy wrote Sin City!
The original Mirage comics were full of awesome little Easter eggs and tributes like that. Hell they parodied Frank Miller before the guy wrote Sin City!
2:36PM on 04/08/2014
wow this movie looks terrible. CGI is reversing what Jim Henson dedicated his life to advancing. Horror, ACtion STAR WARS,,, was ruined by CGI..and now TMNT. :((((
wow this movie looks terrible. CGI is reversing what Jim Henson dedicated his life to advancing. Horror, ACtion STAR WARS,,, was ruined by CGI..and now TMNT. :((((
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2:49PM on 04/08/2014
Nobody is complaining about the CGI. It's what they did with it. Who complains about the paint? It's the painter's fault. Did you really think that we would forever use the same puppetry techniques from the early 80's. If that were the case, they would just be making the same film from 1990, and what would be the point of that. I don't like their look either, but the CGI itself is phenomenal looking.
Nobody is complaining about the CGI. It's what they did with it. Who complains about the paint? It's the painter's fault. Did you really think that we would forever use the same puppetry techniques from the early 80's. If that were the case, they would just be making the same film from 1990, and what would be the point of that. I don't like their look either, but the CGI itself is phenomenal looking.
3:24PM on 04/08/2014
I don't think CGI ruined any movies, even bad CGI - I can look past it and judge the movie on it's own terms. The prequels of Star Wars sucked because of the poor writing and lack of interesting characters, not the cgi.

Also one could say (though I never would) that using puppets etc also sucks.

Ray Harryhausen is my idol, yet stop motion is almost dead - I think what Harryhausen and Henson wanted was to create amazing creatures with the technology at hand.

I agree though that stop
I don't think CGI ruined any movies, even bad CGI - I can look past it and judge the movie on it's own terms. The prequels of Star Wars sucked because of the poor writing and lack of interesting characters, not the cgi.

Also one could say (though I never would) that using puppets etc also sucks.

Ray Harryhausen is my idol, yet stop motion is almost dead - I think what Harryhausen and Henson wanted was to create amazing creatures with the technology at hand.

I agree though that stop motion, puppets - do add some "soul" to the characters - but that's just my opinion - I still love the cgi in the hobbit etc.
5:18PM on 04/08/2014
Also, did you notice that Jim Henson's own company, run by his son, Brian, is using CGI to tell their story? Sid the Science Kid and Dinosaur Train are two examples of shows created by Jim Henson's production company and made entirely with CGI. It makes me wonder if Jim would have went the same route if he were alive.

I really am tired of people complaining about CGI. For as bad as it can be sometimes, practical effects don't look much better, and were used because the filmmakers had no
Also, did you notice that Jim Henson's own company, run by his son, Brian, is using CGI to tell their story? Sid the Science Kid and Dinosaur Train are two examples of shows created by Jim Henson's production company and made entirely with CGI. It makes me wonder if Jim would have went the same route if he were alive.

I really am tired of people complaining about CGI. For as bad as it can be sometimes, practical effects don't look much better, and were used because the filmmakers had no choice. There are also some impressive examples of CG animation. What confuses me is why anyone would think that the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles looked any less ridiculous as giant puppets. The problem is the design, not the medium.
-4
2:11PM on 04/08/2014

I know what he thinks...

He is wondering how a very bad comic and cartoon is still being watched and worried over by grown men, he thought he would have avoided all of that when he purposefully labeled the property Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but had no idea grown men would still give a shit about such a shitty property.
He is wondering how a very bad comic and cartoon is still being watched and worried over by grown men, he thought he would have avoided all of that when he purposefully labeled the property Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but had no idea grown men would still give a shit about such a shitty property.
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3:32PM on 04/08/2014
*slow clap* -- Wow, you nailed it buddy. Good work. You're taking a moment to point out how ridiculous movie fans are getting over a movie discussed in an article on a movie fan website. A place where passionate fanboys collectively get together to read about and explore content from upcoming anticipated movies. Thumbs up for missing the point!
*slow clap* -- Wow, you nailed it buddy. Good work. You're taking a moment to point out how ridiculous movie fans are getting over a movie discussed in an article on a movie fan website. A place where passionate fanboys collectively get together to read about and explore content from upcoming anticipated movies. Thumbs up for missing the point!
12:17AM on 04/09/2014
So, I'm guessing your not a fan?
So, I'm guessing your not a fan?
6:23AM on 04/09/2014
You mean the guy who continued making Turtle comics till 2008, and whose non-turtles creative work he always chose to fold into the Turles universe - that guy thinks his comic is bad, and doesnt get why adults like it? Okay then.
You mean the guy who continued making Turtle comics till 2008, and whose non-turtles creative work he always chose to fold into the Turles universe - that guy thinks his comic is bad, and doesnt get why adults like it? Okay then.
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1:05PM on 04/08/2014
I absolutely agree. I was actually interested in the idea of this movie, but the changes don't work for me. not because they are different, I enjoy seeing new takes on old ideas, just that the changes don't work for the material. he is absolutely right, making the turtles look more human seems to be an ego driven endeavor by the filmmakers to show how well they could execute the idea with modern technology. great, you did it, but it was a bad idea that is well done but looks horrible for the
I absolutely agree. I was actually interested in the idea of this movie, but the changes don't work for me. not because they are different, I enjoy seeing new takes on old ideas, just that the changes don't work for the material. he is absolutely right, making the turtles look more human seems to be an ego driven endeavor by the filmmakers to show how well they could execute the idea with modern technology. great, you did it, but it was a bad idea that is well done but looks horrible for the characters.

and all the armor and outfit details is indeed extraneous. again, it looks like ego showing how much more cool stuff they can add to the concept of ninja turtles rather than whether those details make them look better. congratulations, you created something new and different. but if all the kids who love the current show, and all the nostalgic adults who loved it in the 90's, don't recognize the characters, or they don't represent what those fans think of the characters, than the changes are not what the audience wants. time will tell.
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12:23PM on 04/08/2014
What he really wanted to say about the trailer. "What a major piece of shit."
What he really wanted to say about the trailer. "What a major piece of shit."
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12:44PM on 04/08/2014
he basically said that in the nicest, most PC way you could!
he basically said that in the nicest, most PC way you could!
11:39AM on 04/08/2014
I'm open to seeing a different take on their story, like someone pointed out before, why go see a movie that you already know the story to (from the cartoons and previous movies). Just give this movie a chance first. Plus, remember the original movie didn't make all that much sense....they had a rat learning karate, a rat learning karate...and that's before he mutated.
I'm open to seeing a different take on their story, like someone pointed out before, why go see a movie that you already know the story to (from the cartoons and previous movies). Just give this movie a chance first. Plus, remember the original movie didn't make all that much sense....they had a rat learning karate, a rat learning karate...and that's before he mutated.
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10:12AM on 04/08/2014

uncanny valley

This is whats wrong with their faces. They don't like "right" any every child in a movie theatre is going to know how wrong they look even though they can't tell what exactly is wrong. The way that eye mask guys straight across Michealangelo's face looks ridiculous.

Nothing anthropomorphized in children's entertainment looks like this. It's awful.
This is whats wrong with their faces. They don't like "right" any every child in a movie theatre is going to know how wrong they look even though they can't tell what exactly is wrong. The way that eye mask guys straight across Michealangelo's face looks ridiculous.

Nothing anthropomorphized in children's entertainment looks like this. It's awful.
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12:15AM on 04/09/2014
Pretty much what the problem is exactly. I can't understand who looked at the designs of the new turtles and thought that it would look good in the film. I don't understand how people think that the turtles look anything but weird.
Pretty much what the problem is exactly. I can't understand who looked at the designs of the new turtles and thought that it would look good in the film. I don't understand how people think that the turtles look anything but weird.
10:07AM on 04/08/2014
The way the Turtles look is giving me Shyamalan Appa vibes: [link] Waaay deep in the Uncanny Valley. That it immediately reminded Peter Laird of a pitch with comedians painted green (the horror, the horror) is worrying to say the least.
The way the Turtles look is giving me Shyamalan Appa vibes: [link] Waaay deep in the Uncanny Valley. That it immediately reminded Peter Laird of a pitch with comedians painted green (the horror, the horror) is worrying to say the least.
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10:04AM on 04/08/2014
It never even occurred to me before about the turtles having a more "human" nose, but seeing them side-by-side, the fan edit definitely looks way more authentic.

Also, given Laird's dissenting opinions, I'm guessing he's receiving zero royalties from this film, which is a shame.
It never even occurred to me before about the turtles having a more "human" nose, but seeing them side-by-side, the fan edit definitely looks way more authentic.

Also, given Laird's dissenting opinions, I'm guessing he's receiving zero royalties from this film, which is a shame.
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6:19AM on 04/09/2014
Which is weird because he had a huge role in the creative direction of the 2003 Turtles series that lasted till around 09, as well as the comic itself from a bit earlier till 08. The two of them never had huge roles in the film versions of their property, but I've never heard him sound so much like an outsider
Which is weird because he had a huge role in the creative direction of the 2003 Turtles series that lasted till around 09, as well as the comic itself from a bit earlier till 08. The two of them never had huge roles in the film versions of their property, but I've never heard him sound so much like an outsider
+4
9:41AM on 04/08/2014

its funny...

how the co-creator of TMNT has to wait until the movie is released to watch it. shouldn't this guy get like some VIP screening access?
how the co-creator of TMNT has to wait until the movie is released to watch it. shouldn't this guy get like some VIP screening access?
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12:44PM on 04/08/2014
It's possible they don't know he is the creator.

I am serious. When Peter Cullen was doing the voice work for Prime he mentioned he also did the voice for Ironhide, which surprised the film makers!
It's possible they don't know he is the creator.

I am serious. When Peter Cullen was doing the voice work for Prime he mentioned he also did the voice for Ironhide, which surprised the film makers!
9:20AM on 04/08/2014
I'm sure the film will be fun, but the film and trailer are just raising too many question marks so far.
I'm sure the film will be fun, but the film and trailer are just raising too many question marks so far.
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9:14AM on 04/08/2014
Working with him? Ok I'm confused, is William Fichtner Shredder or not?
Working with him? Ok I'm confused, is William Fichtner Shredder or not?
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9:09AM on 04/08/2014
I'll hold my judgment until I see the actual movie. Just like Optimus Prime has moving lips but then we got to see his face plate activated once he's in battle mode. I'll wait and see.
I'll hold my judgment until I see the actual movie. Just like Optimus Prime has moving lips but then we got to see his face plate activated once he's in battle mode. I'll wait and see.
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8:51AM on 04/08/2014
Giving the turtles large lips and noses is just so fucking stupid.
Giving the turtles large lips and noses is just so fucking stupid.
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9:15AM on 04/08/2014
Don't understand their take on making them more human like
Don't understand their take on making them more human like
9:21AM on 04/08/2014
I agree with Leadhand83.....don't fix what ain't broken.
I agree with Leadhand83.....don't fix what ain't broken.
8:47AM on 04/08/2014
Sounds like he's kinda walking the line with what he's saying, but thats probably the right thing for him to do. The fan edit version does look much better than the movie version though.
Sounds like he's kinda walking the line with what he's saying, but thats probably the right thing for him to do. The fan edit version does look much better than the movie version though.
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7:38PM on 04/08/2014
It just... looks so much better! [link]
It just... looks so much better! [link]
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