The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have maintained a somewhat consistent presence since 1984, when the comic book series by Kevin Eastman and Robert Laird was initially introduced. Many fans of the series have stuck with it since that time and seen a number of TV and film adaptations along the way, though the 2014 Michael Bay production ventured into territory that left a lot of fans frustrated.
With the arrival of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows, things looked more promising. A new director had arrived in Dave Green (Earth to Echo), who was a Ninja Turtles fan and had been since childhood. What’s more, this time around the decision had been made to focus more on the turtles and less on the human element - unlike its predecessor.
Whether or not the end product delivered what anyone was hoping it would is a matter of opinion, but one element of the movie that has received praise from both its co-stars as well as critics has been the motion capture CGI and technical ability of the four Ninja Turtle brothers: Michelangelo (Noel Fischer), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), Leonard0 (Peter Ploszek), and Raphael (Alan Ritchson). Now, a new featurette courtesy of Paramount Pictures gives fans insight into what exactly went into bringing the four ninja brothers to life.
“All that mo-cap gear has really become a second skin at this point,” says Ploszek on the process that turns him and his three co-stars into what audiences recognize as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. By shifting from mo-cap strapped actors, to slightly animated turtles, to the completed version of the onscreen heroes, the featurette illustrates how phenomenal the technology used in the film is. What’s more, by documenting the transformation of the actors, fans of the film are able to come away with a greater appreciation of exactly what these performers bring to their prospective roles. At one point, Howard explains how the performance draws a fine line between what his reactions are as an actor and what will translate best to the finished CGI character.
TMNT 2 has received a rather mixed bag of reviews, but from a purely technical perspective, the challenges that the four actors face to turn the Ninja Turtles into real life heroes is worth considering. Given the stunning worlds and characters that modern day CGI and motion capture regularly bring to life on screen, it’s easy to fall into the trap of disregarding the hours, weeks, and months of work that go into creating these sorts of characters and movies.
At the time of this writing, TMNT 2 holds the top spot at the box office. It’s hard to say whether that position will continue in the upcoming weeks – especially with other effects-laden films on their way. But, for TMNT fans there’s every chance that a third movie is possible. Given the improvement in effects quality from 2014 to now, a third installment would likely see further upgrades in the technology, making the Turtles and their enemies that much more realistic.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows is in theaters now.
Source: Paramount Pictures