Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is filled with details and nods that you may have missed.
While the movie carves out it’s own niche in the greater Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lore, but still pays homage to the versions that came before it. There are a ton of details in Mutant Mayhem! From characters to designs and voices, it was a new but familiar world for the turtles.
Here’s every detail we were able to spot in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem!
The opening logos mimic the art style in the movie. You can see the brush strokes and scribble marks in each logo. This is also the fist time in a while we’re seeing the Nickelodeon Splat logo.
The opening scene is a flashback to the birth of the ooze. We see Baxter Stockman’s lab. And in it, baby versions of Bebop, Rocksteady, Mondo Gecko, and Superfly.
Superfly is the big bad in this movie, going a different route with Baxter than previous iterations. There’s no guarantee that he died in the Utrom ambush, but I think the “Mutated giant bug” role will belong to Superfly for the foreseeable future.
15 years later. The Turtles are now established as 15 years old.
The opening scene shows the 4 brothers moving across rooftops with New York City as the backdrop. When they stop on a rooftop, their eyes are whitened out, a nod to the original Mirage comic.
The shot of them posed on top of the rooftop could be an homage to the cover of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, released by Mirage Comics.
This is also our intro to the fantastic score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. I just like pointing it out.
The super serious tone breaks with Leo being made fun of by his siblings for being a bit too serious, with Mikey quipping “Okay, Batman.”
The turtles were featured in a crossover comic series from DC Comics and IDW comics which then turned in to a direct to video film. This doesn’t feel like they know Batman personally here, just that they are aware of his existence in pop culture. Similar to how they keep bringing up Mark Ruffalo playing the Hulk in Avengers.
A good look at the turtles shows each of their belt buckles shows the initial of their first name, a detail not really used since the 1987 cartoon and the Playmates toy line.
There are a few Pizza Hut references, like on the grocery list and the pizza they order. This is an obvious partnership with the brand, who has also had a pizza promotion with the 2014 and 2016 movies as well
The 1990 film had a promotion with Domino’s- if you were wondering.
This is the first movie where the brothers are voiced by teenagers. It’s also the first version of the turtles where they recorded the lines together in the same room. It gives it a more authentic feel because teenagers will talk over each other and roast each other.
They head to a “Movies at the Park” screening of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” a Paramount property. Here they talk about wishing they could go to High School, which is strange because Ferris cant stop talking about GETTING OUT of going to High School.
The brothers head back to the lair where Splinter is waiting for them like an angry Dad whose kids just missed curfew. Because he is. And they did. But, Splinter is wearing a familiar deep purple robe.
We flashback 15 years again! Right away, a moving van goes by screen showing a bright Orange Triceratops. This is a reference to the Triceratons, an alien race of militaristic dinosaurs. The Triceratons are another Mirage creation, predating the turtles themselves!
Splinter finds the baby turtles covered in the ooze. He protects them, but also covering himself in the ooze. The ooze transforms them all…rapidly.
I love the explanation from Splinter here. “I was older, so I became older rat man. You were babies, you stayed baby turtles creatures. If you think about that, it couldn’t make more sense.”I mean, he’’s right.
The feel of the movie is inspired by 90’s hip hop, and it makes an appearance in a few different spots in the movie. Featuring Tribe Called Quest, Blackstreet, De La Soul, it wears it’s influences on it’s sleeve.
The bootleg SpongeBob costume in Times Square- another Paramount property.
The guy who tries to pull the “bad Mickey Mouse costume off Splinter is Mr. Beast.
The trip to the surface inspires Splinter to train in the way of the ninja. This is different that the past iterations where Splinter learns from the Shredder, but I’m ok with it.
Every training video shown can be found on YouTube.
One of the Kung Fu movies they learn from is a Jackie Chan movie.
Our first shot of an adult Superfly takes place in an abandoned TCRI facility. TCRI stands for “Techno Cosmic Research Institute.”
In the 1990 film, it was changed to TGRI to ground the movie. Changing it back to cosmic opens up the possibility of other dimensions and galaxies.
It looks like Cynthia Utrom has managed to rebuild most of Baxter’s research.
While playing with Ninja Stars on a rooftop, one gets away from them and nails April right in the head. Wear your helmet, kids.
April is sporting her classic yellow coat in a more plunked out look.
The brothers enter their first fight. While they might be well trained, they are wildly inexperienced.
Mikey slams through the car, turning on the radio, playing “Ninja Rap” from Vanilla Ice. Featured from the club scene in Secret of the Ooze.
The turtles meet with April on top of the Laird- an homage to TMNT co-creator Peter Laird.
We learn that April wants to be a journalist- and she wants to avoid being on camera. At any cost.
April gets real with the turtles here. She’d be hugely freaked out if the brothers didn’t help her.
Donatello’s plan is hand drawn. I don’t know how they took everyone’s Ninja Turtle drawing from when they were 8 and put it on film, but it rules.
The brothers call April while she’s underground and, as a New Yorker who rides the train every day, what cell service does April have because I can’t get ANY phone calls underground like that.
April has a list of questions, including
-Do you carry Salmonella? Other diseases?
-Have you caught covid? Can you get sick?
-Are you the source of Covid?
-Are the weapons from Hot Topic? Pawn Shop? Self Made?
-How many people has the red turtle guy stabbed? Does he need therapy?
-Can you check my apartment’s p(lumbing)
-Unrelated: How much toilet paper is too much for the sewer to handle?
-Can you be good ninjas if I’ve seen you? Will you have to kill me now?
-She takes note of the 3 fingers
-Does sunlight cause you to burst in to flames?
-Do you have Superhuman (Turtle) strength?
-What do you eat besides pizza? Are there spots you’d recommend?
-Does your blood have acid like properties?
-What’s your life span?
-Do your shells molt?
-Does your rat dad molt?
-Do you have ears?
April brings the turtles to Eastman High- an homage to the other co-creator, Kevin Eastman.
When they enter, Donatello geeks out over an Attack on Titan drawing, showcasing his love of Anime and Manga early on.
Mikey geeks out over an Improv club. The board features other clubs like Anime club, Chess club, Model UN, LGBTQA+ awareness, and others. There is also a sign up sheet featuring other names. The names include-
-Kellan Jett, an illustrator working on visual development at Nickelodeon.
-Thomas Eichacker, Visual Development artist at Nickelodeon.
-Jules Itzkoff- Background Painter at Nickelodeon.
-Chalky Wong, Visual Development at Nickelodeon.
-Taught by…potentially Stavros Halkias? Look it up.
We find out about April’s gross history with on camera reporting.
April has a board where she’s been looking for Superfly, trying to figure out who he is. I think there’s a stylized Sad Keanu meme on the board?
The montage of the turtles taking down the different bosses is great. The turtles are figuring out how to use their ninja skills.
The sequence feels like a side scrolling video game.
The turtles get their human clothes and Mikey gets something similar to Vacation Mikey.
Donatello has an anime hoodie from Jo Jo’s Adventure.
Bebop, Rocksteady, and other mutants make their debut. Most of the mutanimals here have never appeared on the big screen. Debuts include Mondo Gecko, Wingnut, Leatherhead, Ray Fillet, Ghengis Frog, and Scumbug.
Mondo Gecko still features a roller skate on his tail, a feature dating back to his debut.
Donatello gets over his self consciousness over having a “big stick” when it proves to be very useful.
Bebop and Rocksteady drive a giant monster truck type vehicle. They do this is video games and previous movie versions as well.
“6 in the mornin’ police at my door” is the opening line from Ice-‘s “6 ‘N the Mornin’
“Now he’s mollywhopping me!” Is a line that always makes me giggle.
We get a meeting with Cynthia Utrom, who I am still convinced is an android body holding an Utrom inside her. The color scheme and glasses are very Kraang.
The turtles are now captured and getting milked! When they get electrocuted, you can see their skeletons. This was featured back in the TMNT arcade games when you would get electrocuted by a laser.
Master Splinter’s mug has changed from #1 Dad to #1 Sad.
Splinter shows off his brutal fighting skills. He has mastered all 4 of the turtles weapons.
Splinter doesn’t want to be like Superfly. He sees how wrong he was.
Superfly transforms into a giant mutant whale creature. It can’t move very fast, until it flops in to a zoo. Now it’s made of horses, giraffes, fish, a lobster claw.
April and the turtles devise a plan to get an anti-mutagen into SuperDuper Fly, And it works! On 1 horse.
Seth Rogan and Director Jeff Rowe said the battle was inspired by playing with your toys. Throwing cars around and causing true chaos.
The turtles are hated. But Leo finally shows the true leader he is.
Donatello figures out a solution from his love of Anime. The plan is ripped right from Attack on Titan.
The pizza van. I love it.
April broadcasts on Channel 6 News, April’s long time news broadcast station dating back to the comics, cartoon, and movies.
April almost gets over her camera fright. Almost.
Splinter and Scumbug is…horrifying. Scumbug is voiced by Gravity Falls creator and friend of the director Alex Hirsch.
I love how when the turtles are down and Splinter is smacked away, the city of New York comes together to save the day.
Kevin Eastman is the first delivery person to take the anti-mutagen. He’s the TMNT version of Stan Lee. He offers Splinter help and says “I got this.”
This is absolutely a New York Movie. All of New York, Mutant or not, came together to stop the mutant. Skaters, delivery drivers, emergency workers, and people in their apartment all come together. It really showcases New York as the perfect backdrop for the turtles.
The turtles stop Superfly. They get cheered on by a crowd of people. In the same spot where their Dad was attacked for being different 15 years ago.
Ray Fillet, voiced by Post Malone, can finally just sing.
The mutanimals are moving in! Wingnut gets really excited about the complete Akira Manga set. Honestly, I get it.
Bebop and Rocksteady are moving in as well, marking the first time the duo are friends with the turtles.
The brothers are heading to High School. And ditching the masks.
The end credits show some drawing of other versions of the characters. A few throwbacks to toys and bedsheets.
“Introducing Paul Rudd”
Each brother is fitting in well at High School! Each has found their outlet to fit with their personalities.
April has another board. She’s looking in to the TCRI. On the bottom right of the board we see a Mouser. This exact drawing looks to be taken from the original Mirage Comic.
And the big reveal for the next movie. Cynthia Utrom knows where the turtles are. But to capture them, it’s time to bring out- The Shredder.
That’s it! That’s every detail we noticed in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.” Did you spot something we missed? Let us know in the comments!
You can pick up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem Digitally now.