They have three toes, the end is nigh!

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G.Silver
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They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by G.Silver »

So there's a new Ninja Turtles cartoon out, and apparently I'm watching it. Is anyone else? Let's talk Turtles.

My interest in the turtles is certainly not what it was, I used to be completely obsessed with them until Sonic came along (probably not hyperbole) completely changed the course of my life, but it's still kind of interesting to see what they're doing with it, especially since this version is totally Eastman and Laird-free, if I understand correctly. I really didn't give the other recent cartoon a fair shot, mainly on account of it appeared to be trying way too hard to be taken seriously (I loved the "Turtles Forever" crossover movie, though). I almost completely shut this one out because of the horrible 2D anime-style emotion effects (it's as bad as you might think) but somehow I am watching the show anyway. It's streaming on Nickelodeon.com, why not?

Anyway, what I find most interesting about the new series is that they seem to be trying to make each turtle as individual and utterly adorable as possible. Don (now, oddly, voiced by a former Raphael!) has a gap tooth, Mike has freckles, Leonardo idolizes their universe's version of Captain Kirk, and Raph has a pet turtle that he talks to. In the old cartoon (and in general) they seemed pretty well-defined enough by the song ("Does Machines" etc) but it seems to me that they are really pushing for a kind of on-going redefinition of the characters, even if they still have the same "jobs." Character development and Ninja Turtles just isn't something I associate together unless it's Raphael being all pouty in the corner.

I like their new Splinter, but find it completely implausible that he is actually content living in the sewer with the turtles. In this version, the origin story takes the surprising twist that Hamato Yoshi is the one who bought the four turtles as babies. I guess they weren't comfortable with the Daredevil reference? Seriously though, the dude's well-dressed and doing fine in New York, and then suddenly he gets lonely(?), buys some turtles, walks down the wrong alley, and now he has to live in the sewer. What a day! At least in the old cartoon we were given the impression that he was already living in the sewer because, I dunno, he liked it there? The new Splinter is like a totally cool martial arts dad, but I just don't buy it. The Shredder is introduced more like the serious villain from the comics, but you don't get the impression Splinter actually harbors any deep-seated need for revenge towards him, and yet when he explains that he as given the turtles "all the skills they'll need to survive on the surface" he is referring to ninjitsu pretty much exclusively. I can't tell if I'm just getting older or if the new show actually IS more ridiculous. I mean, obviously it ISN'T, but it's like uncanny valley--the more believable the characters, the more unbelievable they are.

The new role for April is really strange to me, and makes me realize how strange the old cartoon's April is, and I don't just mean in that her clothes made no sense, and also, how much the times have changed, apparently. New April is also a teenager, and according to her bio on the back of the action figure (yes I looked ok) she "doesn't fit in at school." Are us outcast nerds actually supposed to... identify with her?! Before, she was like this unattainable kind of hot-mom damsel role. Despite the outfit, she was nobody's love interest--it seemed natural to me at the time (I was nine) but maybe that was more by design than I thought? And Casey Jones was there in other shows to keep the Turtles at a romantic distance. Now, newly-attainable teenage April hasn't been on screen for 5 seconds before Donatello says (I may be paraphrasing here) "I want a piece of that." Is.. is that ok? Remember how everyone freaked out when a human girl seemingly-innocently re-enacted the wake-up scene from Snow White in Sonic 2006?

How times have changed! It used to be that even though none of the turtles were allowed to actually even use their weapons, the nunchucks had to be replaced with a ridiculous "turtle line" in later seasons due to parental outrage and now Mike's nunchucks have a secret button that turns them into bladed sickles. Really? (Leo and Raph still hit guys with the butts of their weapons a lot, though.)

Despite these sorts of observations (or perhaps because of them) I think I'm kind of digging the new cartoon.

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by Dr. BUGMAN »

I caught the premier and the Lewis Black episode, but I'm behind so I can't talk plot.
G.Silver wrote:Don (now, oddly, voiced by a former Raphael!)
This trips me up so fucking much. 'Though, Samwise as Raph fits; Astin seems to have that kind of acrebic disposition. And Pie Fucker as Leo works, too. Beast Boy Mikey just makes the out-of-place uwaa-ness more grating. (Not that I have anything against Teen Titans.)

And I can't be the only one bothered by how they roll back their eyes like fucking great white sharks when they go into kickass mode. I haven't read any of the comics, but the previous cartoons had it one way or the other, and the crompromise is really off-putting to me, like they're having seizures.

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by G.Silver »

I look forward to the implied return of Lewis Black in a future episode! Episode 3 is actually what got me fired up for more. I did go ahead and see the others that are out, and I'm thinking over-arcing plot is not going to be a strong element in this one (not necessarily a bad thing), like episode 4 brings in Shredder (sort of) and maybe we're excited to see that, but episode 5 just goes off in a completely different direction. I noticed they didn't waste an episode introducing April to their lair--at the end of one episode, they're dropping her off at some apartment, and the next time we see her, she's just chilling in the sewer for no reason.

The white eye also really bothers me, though I do think it looks cool in the opening (and the occasional 2D "silhouette" action scene), where it seems more like a stylistic choice and not some psychotic transformation. I assumed it was just more "look what we can do with their eyes" garbage than a literal eye-rolling.

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by Neo »

I just realised I have nothing in common with any of you guys but Sonic games. Except for Zelda with j-man, I guess!

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by j-man »

Woooo! Zeldaaa!

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by Dr. BUGMAN »

G.Silver wrote:The white eye also really bothers me, though I do think it looks cool in the opening (and the occasional 2D "silhouette" action scene), where it seems more like a stylistic choice and not some psychotic transformation. I assumed it was just more "look what we can do with their eyes" garbage than a literal eye-rolling.
Yeah, in certain contexts it works, e.g., the old Batman cartoon has Bruce Wayne with "pupils" (or somesuch) which became featureless when he puts on his cowl (see also SWAT Kats). Here, the Turtles never remove their masks, so it creates a weird, disconcerting effect. (Maybe it being CGI also has something to with it?)
Neo wrote:I just realised I have nothing in common with any of you guys but Sonic games. Except for Zelda with j-man, I guess!
I believe hey're called "Hero" Turtles over there!

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by Esrever »

I really like how unapologetically and deliberately the new Ninja Turtles show is aimed at kids.

Don't get me wrong -- as a fan of the original comics, I was happy to see the previous show and the TMNT movie move closer to the more serious action-adventure tone of the source material. But... we've done that now. So I think it's a great time to just let the turtles be silly again.

And as far as silly takes on the Turtles go, this is hands down the most successful. The characterization is really strong, in both voice acting and distinct body language, and for the most part the humour of their interactions really works. And the goofy tone of their adventures is played juuuussst right... which is vital when you're trying to pull off a story where, say, Baxter Stockman is recast as a disgruntled office worker who gets his robotics from Donatello's military-tech-powered iPod. They make it all seem charming and innocent rather than just idiotic.

My one complaint so far is April. She's been onscreen maybe a collective five minutes so far, but they are treating her like she is a character that we should all already know. She's never actually had a proper "getting to know you" episode -- a story that establishes her personality, her goals, her friendship with the Turtles, and so on. After they save her in the first episode, she's just kind of... around. It actually makes me wonder if they are airing the episodes out of order. (Different episodes are being animated by different studios, which can often lead to production problems and episode shuffling with new shows.)

It's kind of funny that such a light take on the franchise has been paired with some of the franchises hardest-hitting and most well-choreographed fight scenes. But the restrictions on cartoon violence ain't what they used to be. The reason they gave Mikey the turtle line in the old show is because depicting nunchuks was illegal in the UK, and they got tired of having to edit it all out. But those restrictions are long gone now! (They don't have to use the "Hero Turtles" name overseas anymore, either.)

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by cjmcray »

I caught up on some reruns of the show lately (whenever there's nothing else on, that is)

I don't.. completely hate it. The first episode left a bad taste in my mouth and I gave up on it instantly. But after seeing reruns It's.. not that bad, I guess.

It lacks the 'edge' that the 2003 series had, has some terrible CGI (as usual for Nick cartoons these days.) I thought turning April into a teenager was another stupid move, but it could be worse I guess. I like Splinter's new design, and that they brought back '
turtle power' for the theme song.

I wonder why it took so long for a company to snatch up the rights to TMNT. I think the show would've been in better hands at WB or even Disney.

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by G.Silver »

I think it just took that long for E&L to decide it was time to sell it.

I recently saw the one that introduces the Shredder properly (where the Turtles actually come face to face with him) and was really struck by the scope of the episode, how much stuff they crammed into it without making it feel rushed, too short, or too long. It's not like it was perfect (and of course it relied on build up from other episodes) but I was just really impressed by how it all came together there. I really liked it.

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by Dr. BUGMAN »

"Why does Leo get to drive?"

"'Cause he's the least likely to run something over for fun."

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by big_smile »

Apparently, a live action reunion between the Turtles and the Power Rangers is planned for 2014. The evidence for this rumour is fairly weak (a box marked 'Donatello Stunt' was spotted in a leaked photo from the set of the Power Rangers 20th Anniversary season), but it would be neat to see these titians of 90s kids TV battle each other for a second time.

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by cjmcray »

TMNT and Power Rangers battling for a second time?

..I don't remember them ever battling for a first time.

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by Crazy Penguin »

cjmcray wrote:TMNT and Power Rangers battling for a second time?

..I don't remember them ever battling for a first time.
It was a crossover with Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation. Which pretty much says it all.

Oh, and the new show is excellent. Donatello was always my least favourite turtles in the previous incarnations, but now he's one of the most entertaining characters in the show. On paper, him having a crush on April sounds like a terrible error of judgement, but they've made it incredibly cute and charming in the execution.

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by Dr. BUGMAN »

holy crap Kraang Prime was voiced by Roseanne Barr. I'm usually very adept at voice recognition, how'd I not pick up on that? on her!?

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by Gaz »

The teaser trailer for the new movie is now online.

I want to be optimistic but the movie just looks horrible. With Michael Bay producing I can't say I'm overly shocked though.

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by Yami CJMErl »

As a major fan of most things Transformers, I fell that, while those films have done a great deal of good for the brand as a whole, there were a LOT of...questionable decisions made by Bay and his associates as well. (I'm hoping Age of Extinction fixes some of them.)

However, not all franchises are as..."conducive" to change as some, and I can't really see this new TMNT film being as successful as the execs are hoping. (also the art style reminds me WAY too much of that terrible "Out of the Shadows" game what was made about a year or two ago)

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by G.Silver »

I am pretty sure even when Out of Shadows was revealed (didn't it only come out in the past 6 months or so ago?) there was some strong suggestion that it and the movie would be drawing on similar source material.

The focus on April's dad in the narration here suggests they're drawing more on the Nick show for the background here than was suggested before (I had heard it was going to be more like the 80s cartoon--still holding out hope for Bebop and Rocksteady). Not a bad thing imp, I can see this just being a kind of shitty trailer, I see teaser trailers all the time that are big turn offs but the show ends up being fine (or, at least, another trailer makes it look cool). I like the mask gag.

What a weird piece of action to focus on though, throwing a turtle into a car with perfect, slow-motion, crucifixion-like framing. I bet that's a cool scene in the movie but as a character-establishing moment it seems very strange for me. Also a kind of weird move for Leonardo, isn't being hurled into something traditionally more of a Mike/Raph maneuver? (Edit: Oh, that is Raph!)

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by Wooduck51 »

I will admit right out of the gate that I never paid much attention to TMNT over the course of my life, but it turned out my wife was really liked them, so we went to see the new movie last night, and... I really liked it, and so did she. I have no memories or past material to judge it by, but it was alot of fun! It was also decently humorous, and clean (maybe one weird joke, and only one fart joke) They also didn't take themselves really seriously, and that made it all the better. Action was a bit frenetic, but you could follow it, and while the plot wasn't deep,it was put together well (don't expect The Dark Knight though). I wish 'ol Bay could have treated transformers more like this. AND, the movie is somewhere around 104-ish minutes with credits, so the actual movie is about an hour and a half, and alot gets done in that time, and doesn't feel rushed. As a turtle new comer, they had me up to speed with back story and everything. Biggest gripe; Still haven't figured out where Sacks home is supposed to be.

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by Tsuyoshi-kun »

I was surprised by the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie myself. I mean, it's no masterpiece, but it's a lot better paced than Turtles 3 and TMNT were. The entire action sequence down the snowy hills was great, and a great example of something the old movies could have never done. The battles are more elaborate, too. Don't care for Megatron Shredder, and Megan Fox still can't really act, but otherwise it really exceeded my expectations. Well, as high of expectations you can have for a movie about four six-foot tall turtles who practice ninjitsu, anyway.

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Re: They have three toes, the end is nigh!

Post by Dr. BUGMAN »

Hey, speaking of toes and big-budget movies about old comic properties, I realized that Rocket Raccoon walks on his toes like a digitigrade animal despite the fact real deal raccoons are plantigrade (just like peoples daww) so I did a google search if anyone else on the internet was peeved about this and found precisely one other person who pointed this out, the rest of the search results were furry erotica.

My life is full of fun surprises.

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