Turtley Awesome Extras – “Turtle Rock” and “Making of ‘Shell Shocked’”
The vast majority of the extra features on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Blu-ray/DVD release have been underwhelming, and certainly have not made the film worth buying, if the extra features are suppose to be an incentive to own the physical media. The “Shell Shocked” music video is a repeat of what was online a month before the film premiered in theatres; the evolutionary mash-up tried to make tenuous connections between the turtles and ninjas, and was not very convincing; and the discussion with the actors could have been much richer and longer.
So it came as no surprise when the “Making of ‘Shell Shocked’” featurette also disappointed. This extra consists of 90 seconds filled mostly by images from the music, and three lines from Wiz Khalifa about his being such a big fan, and that’s why he was asked to perform the song. Throw in a couple of quick shots of him in a recording booth, and that is the feature in its entirety. It was perhaps the single worst feature on the Blu-ray disc, and certainly not worth paying anything to see. A much better choice (and one that actually shows someone making this music) was a video uploaded by Madsonik not long after the film premiered in theaters. This video shows him and Kill the Noise working together to put down the EDM beat for “Shell Shocked,” and while not professionally edited as a DVD extra, it does show the actual process, and how collaborators take the time to create tracks. You can watch that video HERE.
“Turtle Rock,” however, was much more of what a Blu-ray extra should be. The entire featurette discussed creating the music for the movie. Brian Tyler, the composer for the film, discussed how he created the main themes for the characters before any film had actually been shot. About 20 minutes of music was written before the movie was done, and then was used in the film. Tyler talks about his influences, especially John Williams and his great masterpieces, and how those came into play in his creation of the music. “When you’re writing music, you have to really bob and weave,” Tyler said, when discussing how to achieve what others have done so successfully and evoke just the right emotion at the right time with the right score.
What “Turtle Rock” had that the other features failed to do was to stick to a single aspect and make the viewer feel like he or she learned something new and interesting about the film in the process. This is what “It Ain’t Easy Being Green” could and should have done, and certainly what “Making of ‘Shell Shocked’” failed to do on every level. Learning from the composer about how he was influenced to create the score, where he took motivation, and when in the whole process he actually went about making some of the music are all pieces of information that make the experience much deeper and more meaningful. That is what an extra feature on a film should do, so it was worthwhile to see that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles disc had at least one such piece.
Though there are still a few more pieces to look at, the extras for the fourth live-action film the franchise have been slightly more than disappointing. While some have had good ideas, the execution was less than ideal, and others were simply awful additions. It’s nice to have extras on a DVD, but only if those added materials actually add something to the film experience. If they are a waste of an effort, then fans will think of them – and, perhaps, the film – as such.