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Taking Stock of the New TMNT Movie

by Justin Bozung

The past few months have lead to some rather startling revelations about the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie being produced by Michael Bay and Directed by Jonathan Liebesman. For instance, we now know that they won’t be aliens and their origins will be respected. We have also discovered that the turtles will be created via motion capture technology for the first time ever. However, what we have discovered about the casting choices has been worrying to some fans and encouraging to others. With less than a year until the film finally releases in theaters, let’s take a look at the entire cast so far for this interesting take on the Ninja Turtles universe.

Megan Fox as April O’Neil

While this first casting choice was definitely a hot button issue with most fans, fears and concerns over her role as April O’Neil seem to have let up in the past few months. Shots of Megan on set reveal that she fits the expectation of what we might expect a modern reporter to look and act like. Being that this is a modern interpretation of the TMNT universe, it’s only fitting that April would get an update from her standard yellow jumpsuit/jacket.

Will Arnett as Vernon Fenwick

The second we heard that Vernon was going to be a part of the story, we knew they were probably pulling inspiration from the 1987 TMNT cartoon. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as a lot of fans have been asking for a movie that pulls more content from the much beloved animated series. Arnett seems like the perfect actor for the job, as he’s definitely got the talent and the comedic prowess to make the character work on screen. Few fans really complained about this decision.

Whoopi Goldberg as Bernadette Thompson

This was definitely a shocker. Nobody expected the character of Burne Thompson to make an appearance in this film, let alone for his character to change so drastically to Bernadette! While TMNT fans were shocked, few seemed to be disappointed in the decision, as it further confirmed the role that the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series had played in the creation of this film. Besides which, who doesn’t love Whoopi?

William Fichtner as The Shredder

Now this was straight out of left field. Nobody really expected this, and given the origin of the Ninja Turtles, it seemed a rather odd choice to make Fichtner such an iconic villain. That being said, he is an excellent and capable actor and I’m sure he’ll do just fine. Whether or not fans will ultimately take to him as the new Shredder? Well, that remains to be seen.

Danny Woodburn as Splinter

This seemed like a rather interesting choice at first, and when taking the casting of Shredder into account, it actually makes a lot of sense. Sadly, it would appear the origins of both Splinter and his nemesis may have been altered slightly, or at least made a little less worldly. To be fair, the 80’s were full of Asian stereotypes that made it almost impossible to cast any “Ninja” characters who were not of a certain descent. In a lot of ways, these most recent casting choices reveal how far cinema has come in terms of racial equality. Woodburn is an excellent actor and a great choice for this role. Personally, I can’t wait to see what he’s able to do with this character in terms of acting with motion capture technology.

Mos Def as Baxter Stockman

Honestly, this was a bit of a shocker and it kind of slid between the cracks. Technically, this is our first report of this casting decision. It may also be my personal favorite new cast member. While they have chosen to bring in some elements of the original TMNT cartoon, it would appear they went back to the comic book roots for Baxter and cast an excellent actor for this twisted character. Does this mean we’ll see the Mousers make an appearance? Boy, I sure hope so! While there hasn’t been a lot of buzz about this casting choice, it is definitely one that should instill a bit of hope into the fans.

Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard and Pete Ploszek as The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Not much has been said about these four young men, because not much is known. Of course, not much was known about the four guys who donned the shells in the original TMNT film, either. This time around our heroes in a half shell are going to be played entirely by four dudes in motion capture suits, which has a lot of fans upset. I would implore these fans to remember that some of the most recent films that utilized this technology were King Kong, Lord of the Rings, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Avatar. Of course, in each of these cases they typically chose to cast a well known actor for the mo-cap scenes, but that doesn’t mean that four relatively unknown actors won’t be able to do a good job. Give them a chance and you might just be surprised at what you receive.

Well, there you have it. We’ve taken a look at all of the main actors and actresses that have been cast for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. When taking it all in at once instead of focusing on one or two questionable decisions, these casting choices have actually been pretty darn good. It’s doubtful that anyone was expecting the cast that we actually got for this film, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that this TMNT film will be bad. For the first time on the silver screen, we’ll see more of April’s workplace story with characters like Vernon and Bernadette Thompson making an appearance. We’ll also get to see not only The Shredder, but also Baxter Stockman, which suggests further inspiration from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Animated Series. All in all, I’d have to say that we might actually be in for quite an awesome movie. What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments below.

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tyron July 22, 2013 - 5:24 pm

this movie is gonna be crap it’s not respecting the source material for once id like to see the mirage comic get a serious and mature live action movie, a serious and mature cartoon like dc and marvel dose with characters, a rated m video game, and a proper toy line like the canceled neca figures. when will the mirage turtles get something all they got is a reprint in b&w and in color a short cameo in turtles forever and sold out neca figures that are hard to find.

Dayna July 29, 2013 - 2:28 am

Ya know. The live action 1990 movie was quite faithful to the scource material. Storyline wise. The only big differences is that April was a Reporter again, and Raph was hurt instead of Leo. It was very well done. And it was done as a serious movie. It’s as close as we are gonna get.
I agree what Michael Bay is planning for our beloved Turtles is an insult. Absolute Garbage. I’m positive it wont do well with any age group of fans.

tyron July 22, 2013 - 5:28 pm

and why in the hell is shredder white.

heaton July 22, 2013 - 5:50 pm

and Micheal bay is a moron, Megan Fox can’t act to save her life, when i read his original plan i thought he was deliberately trying to angrier the fans.

steven July 22, 2013 - 6:04 pm

shredder was white in the original cartoon just Japanese

jcard July 22, 2013 - 11:53 pm

they actually brought back the neca turtles changed them a bit there head bands are there cartoon colors now

Fred July 23, 2013 - 11:26 am

I think this movie will be great and even awesome, Micheal Bay is a great director, some fans we’re mad with the changes he made with the Transformers franchise, but the films turned to be awesome, he put his vision of a story and I think its ok, so let see in 2014 if he can do as great with TMNT, and can’t wait for Transformers 4 😉

Bryan August 4, 2013 - 2:55 am

I think we should remember that we are all Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans here and that having a new movie that is good would be awesome.

Unfortunately, we only have one horse to back right now and that is this Michael Bay produced curiosity. Yes, the news about this whole reboot thing has been…worrisome for most fans -justifiably so- but I’m still holding on to hope. Granted, this reboot is sizing up to be the “Batman and Robin” of Ninja Turtles movies, but…

Deep down I think we want this to be good, and even if it isn’t, oh well. No harm. No foul. If this thing doesn’t measure up, we’ll still have the two original movies, the cartoons, the original comics, the IDW comics and “Turtle Power” from Partners in Kryme.

Really, Mos Def as Baxter Stockman? Cool…

Poison G August 20, 2013 - 1:08 am

I hate to start on a negative note, but I think we all know that Michael Bay is not an “artistic” director. He makes big budget action movies with lots of explosions and generic fight sequences. He is not known for relate-able characters, well thought out story lines or intellectually stimulating pieces.

It seems fitting that he would pull most of the material from the original 80s cartoon (which I loved as a child, it will always have a place in my heart, but watching the episodes now they were just 22 minute commercials for whatever new toy was coming out that week). The cartoon was pretty ridiculous, and it fits in with Bay’s style.

While I would LOVE to see a darker, grittier version (like the 90s movie) that played up on the turtles fighting street crime and partnering with Casey, I would TRULY be worried to see that movie directed by Bay. He should be right at home with this sort of trivial (yet visually impressive) plot.

Yes, an American playing Shredder, a little-person playing Splinter and Megan Fox playing April all seem like…less than inspiring choices… this is not a movie that we’ll see because we think it’s going to be a great story.

We will see this movie because we love TMNT.

A new generation will see this movie, enjoy the effects, and at least some of them will seek out the comics and original movies. If there’s one thing this generation needs, it’s some damn Turtle Power!

One other bit of silver lining before I wrap it up like a Foot Ninja’s head… If we all have incredibly low expectations going in, it’s going to make the movie seem that much better. Right?

– G

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