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Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Opening credit takeaways

Yesterday, Nickelodeon showed off their opening title sequence for Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here!

So far, we have seen character designs and some of the art style. There are interviews out there with the creators and people behind the cartoon. But this is the first time we’ve been able to see the turtles in full action! So lets break it down…

The Music

The song they chose sounds familiar, but I’d never heard the song before. It sounds very close to the theme for the 2012 animated series (at least the before they remixed it for later seasons). The chanting of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is in the same beat as the song for that show. If anything, it almost sounds like a newer, pop-punk band covered the 2012 song. Describing each turtle takes place in the same part, but slightly changes the description to match their personality in this version. The song makes me wonder more if this is a prequel to the 2012 animated series. It would be an interesting take, as it’s a version we’ve never seen before. Check it out here to see for yourself.

The Animation

I love animation. While I see a lot of value in 3D computer animation, traditional 2D is where my heart lies. It looks like the animation itself is in great hands. It’s fast and frantic, but your focus easily switches between characters. The city and vehicles look like 3D models still, but I don’t mind. Anything modeled in 3D on a computer usually appears to be more solid than traditional animation, so it adds a bit of fluidity to the characters movement. The neon highlights throughout are a really nice touch. Even if none of the characters are on screen, it’s obvious which version of the Turtles we’re watching.

The Turtles

We’ve been able to see their new look, but seeing them in action is where it matters. Individual designs are great, but seeing how they move and behave is how we really learn about their personality.

“Raph is ready for a fight Leo’s making a scene…”

This is our first real glimpse of their new roles. Raph’s character stays true to the hothead we all know and love. Toward the end, he fist bumps himself to channel an extra energy. It looks like the turtles will have more powers than just Ninja skills!

Leo also gained a possible magic sword. at about 22 seconds, we see him swing at an enemy, miss, but open a magic portal! He falls in to it as the next turtle shines, but this and Raphael’s new abilities seem like they could add a new element to keep the turtles exciting.

However, this seems like Leo’s first venture in to a more comedic role. With Ben Schwartz as the voice, it makes a lot of sense. He’s a comedic treasure who’s been slowly infiltrating our lives for years. As the obnoxiously lovable Jean Ralphio on Parks and Rec and getting his feet wet as an established improviser at UCB Theatre, it’s sure to be different from the Leonardo we all know. This opening highlights that. Our first real glimpse of Leonardo is him falling upside down on his face on the hood of the car. This immediately shows us the new dynamic.

“Mikey’s got mad skills Donnie does machines…”

To be fair, I have no idea what comes between “Donnie” and “Machines”. Fights? Rides? I’ve listened to the line 40 times and have no idea. But this gives us a great idea for how those machines come in to play.  Donnie rides off in a jetpack after a battle on the new turtle van (we’ll talk about that in a minute). April only has a few moments in the opening. She’s next to Donnie in the new Turtle Van, and she rides on the back of Donnie’s shell as he rides off.  Mikey seems to be the same character we all love. He rides his skateboard and seems to be less of a silly counterpart, but more a cool turtle with more style than in the past.

The turtles show much more of an individual personality this time around. The show seems to want to showcase how the characteristics of each character can change the story. Donatello has some great strengths, but maybe a few weakness’ that could be countered by Raph. Leo being a bit of a klutz is a good counter to Mikey’s stylish pro-Skater charisma.

The Turtle Van

The new Turtle Van looks really cool! The outside seems more toned down than the shell patterned version from the 80’s. The coolest part of the new van is that it looks like it breaks apart to become 2 motorcycles. It’s a very cool touch that could change a lot of stories on the show.

Supporting Characters

As I said before, April is here but she isn’t a focus. She looks to be paired with Donnie in much of the trailer. Knowing their relationship in past incarnations, I wonder if this is the direction they’ll stick with in the show.

The minions are still dressed in all purple, so my hunch is these are early versions of future Foot Soldiers.

We get a good look at the big bad in this series. Baron Draxom, voiced by John Cena, is huge and dwarfs the turtles. We get some good looks at Meat Sweat as well. I particularly like this character. He feels like he has the right amount of grossness to fit in with some of the TMNT toys of the 80’s and 90’s.

Oddly though, I didn’t see any glimpses of Splinter this time around. I wonder how large his role will play.

End Shot

The last image shown in the trailer is a great full image of Baron Draxom towering over the other characters. The most interesting this here though, is the character’s placement. It looks great, but Raph and Leonardo seem to be fighting for center stage. Not literally, but it seems like this could lead to a story. Some (including myself) have wondered if this version of the Turtles is a story of them before they become the TMNT we all know. This, along with April’s age, seems like it could be a prequel to the turtles we know in every other version. This could be a story of Leo’s uprising to become the leader. He and Raph are right in the middle, with neither character taking the lead. I think this cartoon will be a story of Leo getting his stuff together and becoming leader. Raph is still a hothead and quick to act, which aren’t great qualities for a leader. I think eventually, we’ll see these turtles morph in to the turtles we know.

 

I love what they showcase here.

It’s a lot to take in, and it’s VERY different. But this intro gives me a good feeling about the show. I think it’s a good mix. There is a LOT of new information here. It looks like magic and superpowers come to play, which is an interesting new take. But the turtles themselves seem interesting. And the animation style is faster and more frantic than usual, but this seems like a great way to keep kids interested as well as not draw comparisons to other versions. I think they are doing it right. They’re making an exciting version for new, young fans to get in to. Our versions individual versions of the turtles will still be there, but this is a great way to keep the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles alive and interesting.

The Author

Kyle Tobey

Kyle Tobey

Currently lives in NYC with his fiancee and 2 tiny fur creatures. Performs and studies comedy at UCB Theatre. Also loves comics, Star Wars, and pizza. Slept on Ninja Turtles sheets as a kid. Advocate for weirdos.

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