Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) Poster


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The film released on the 30th anniversary of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" saga.
Originally the mutant thugs Bebop and Rocksteady were to appear in the film to fight the Turtles; they were to be martial arts soldiers that were given mutagen and turned into monstrous super-soldier mutants for the Turtles to fight. They were written out with the intent of appearing in a sequel.
Raphael has "Mikey was here" scribbled on his shell (in Japanese so he can't tell!).
The film was originally to be called just "Ninja Turtles", but the "Teenage Mutant" part was put in to please the fans when they expressed negative feedback about it.
The Turtle Van's car horn theme is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) theme.
Ernie Reyes Jr., who starred in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991) (and acted as a stunt double for Donatello in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)), pitched a stunt video to Michael Bay in an attempt to serve as martial arts consultant on this film.
April O'Neill has on a yellow jacket throughout the film. This pays homage to her appearance in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), where she prominently had on a yellow jumpsuit.
Originally, Michelangelo had a gold chain around his neck, but was ultimately changed after receiving criticism of being a stereotype towards black people. It was then digitally replaced with a seashell necklace to better represent Michelangelo's outgoing surfer & skateboarding personality.
Whoopi Goldberg stated that this movie has been a lifelong goal of hers: "My daughter was a huge fan of the original TMNT cartoon so when the original movie was announced she wanted me to be in it and so I asked around but it never happened, same with the other films they made, so when I heard this new project get announced I asked around again and to my surprise I got the part!"
The VFX team incorporated the facial features of various actors into the mutants' appearances:
  • Leonardo's face was based on Russell Crowe

  • Raphael's face was based on Clint Eastwood (a scene where Raphael sticks his sai into his belt like a gunslinger is a homage to Eastwood)

  • Donatello's face was based on Leonard Nimoy

  • Michelangelo's face was based on comedian Bill Murray

  • and Splinter's face was based on Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune, who had played various samurai in his career (Splinter even has a chonmage haircut like what Mifune usually wore in his samurai role).

The song that Michelangelo sings to April at the end is a 1967 song called "Happy Together" by The Turtles. This song is often misunderstood - instead of being a happy love song, it is actually about a guy trying to convince himself his girl hasn't dumped him.
During the movie, the Shredder says "Tonight I dine on turtle soup", his trademark line from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987).
An early screenplay had the Turtles be aliens from Dimension X, the Shredder be an alien who grows spikes, and a breakout and escape at a mountainside Foot base. This screenplay received a huge backlash from fans and was discarded; however the mountainside action sequence was retained. April's line "Aliens? No, that's stupid!" homages the screenplay.
This is the first TMNT live-action film to feature the Shredder's lieutenant Karai.
Eric Sacks mentioned testing the mutagen on rabbits. This is a homage to "Usagi Yojimbo", a comic about a samurai bunny. Yojimbo and the Turtles have teamed up on several occasions.
Master Splinter is played by 4-foot actor Danny Woodburn. This is in regards to the original Mirage "TMNT" comics, where Splinter was smaller in stature compared to his Turtle stepsons.
Producer Michael Bay stated that the Turtles in this film would be presented as having an extraterrestrial origin. This statement caused a great furor and was met with harsh criticism from much of the fanbase. However, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" co-creator Kevin Eastman expressed his support in the alien concept, saying he believes the concept to be "awesome!" and pointed out that the ooze that created the Turtles was in fact an alien substance.
The Turtles are primarily influenced by their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) characteristics: Leonardo is a samurai, Raphael is a brute fighter, Michaelangelo is a cool punk and Donatello is a tinkerer.
In nearly all TMNT media, Leonardo wields twin ninjato (a medium-sized swords with straight blades) often incorrectly referred to as katana (longer swords with curved blades). In this film, Leo wields actual katana.
Vernon (Will Arnett) makes a sandwich with only mustard and cheese in his apartment, while listening to the George Michael song "Careless Whisper". This was a nod to Arnett's character G.O.B. Bluth in the show Arrested Development (2003) where he makes the same sandwich and has a nephew named George Michael.
The undercover code name for the filming of the movie was "Foursquare". This name was told to anyone who asked what was being filmed to keep the secret.
This is the first TMNT live-action film to feature April's associate Vernon Fenwick. The screenwriters and Will Arnett decided to make this incarnation of Vernon more likable and supportive of April, as opposed to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) version where he is mean-spirited and often antagonistic towards April.
Megan Fox, Will Arnett and Johnny Knoxville cited their children as a big factor in their decision to be in the film.
Jane Levy, Anna Kendrick and Elizabeth Olsen tested for the role of April O'Neil.
Michelangelo states the Turtles need Raphael for the Christmas hip-hop CD. This is a reference to the TMNT special We Wish You a Turtle Christmas (1994).
From the cast of the 1990s Turtles films, Robbie Rist (the voice of Michelangelo) accused Michael Bay of "sodomizing" the Turtle saga with an alien origin. However, Rist's co-stars Brian Tochi (the voice of Leonardo), Corey Feldman (the voice of Donatello) and Judith Hoag (April O'Neill) placed their support on this direction. Rist later took back his statement, remarking that he could have been out of line since Bay makes more money than he does.
The filmmakers cite the comic book film The Avengers (2012) and the martial arts films Fist of Legend (1994) and The Raid: Redemption (2011) as an influence on the action.
Casting for Foot Clan roles were held when the Ninja Turtles 25th Anniversary Shell-Ebration stopped at Los Angeles. The people being cast were ordinary people on the street.
Danny Woodburn was disappointed that he would only motion-capture Splinter and not get to provide his voice. He would however get to voice Splinter in the video game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014).
The Shredder's armor is visually a direct copy of his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) battle armor. However, instead of a faceplate it has a mask with a monstrous face on it, referencing the series' Shredder having been a human, alien and demon over its history.
The Turtles are visually based on their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) designs:
  • the Turtles have no snouts

  • the Turtles all bear bandage wraps on their shells, arms and legs

  • Leonardo and Michelangelo have blue eyes and Raphael has green eyes

  • Michelangelo is the shorter of the Turtles

  • Donatello is distinctly leaner than his brothers

  • and Raphael is the most muscular and scarred, having a cracked shell.

The hi-tech goggles Donatello wears are a live-action version of the Turtle Vision Goggles from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003).
This is the first TMNT film as well as the third Nickelodeon film to receive a PG-13 rating in the United States.
Within two weeks of the film's release in the US a green light was given for a sequel.
A scene was shot where April takes Raph (disguised in his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) trenchcoat) to Vernon without attracting attention. This scene was cut out for running time purposes.
Young April mentions that the Mutagen is an alien substance. This references the Ninja Turtle comic books and television shows where it is revealed that the Mutagen is of alien origin.
The vigilante Casey Jones was originally to be April's sidekick, but he was replaced with April's co-worker Vernon Fenwick since he felt more reasonable as her human partner. Jones will instead appear in the sequel.
When Splinter starts listing the ingredients of the 99-Cheese Pizza, he mentions Cheddar, Provolone, Asiago, Taleggio and Mozzarella; Michelangelo can't recognize Taleggio. Taleggio is a medium-soft cheese made in Val Taleggio (Taleggio Valley), part of the Lombardy region in North Italy.
The training regimen Splinter puts his sons through is called the Hashi. "Hashi" is Japanese for "bridge", which in context refers to building and strengthening muscles for balance and endurance. "Hashi" is also Japanese for "chopsticks"; as an in-joke, Leonardo is seen training with chopsticks.
The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film to receive a PG-13 rating.
Both James Saito (the first cinematic Shredder) and William Fichtner (Eric Sacks) appeared in Michael Bay's film Pearl Harbor (2001).
This is the second TMNT live-action film that does not feature Casey Jones. The first one was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)
The highest grossing film in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film franchise.
A smoke machine was used throughout shooting to give an "80s feel" to the film.
A billboard advertising "Project Almanac" can be seen. Project Almanac (2014) is a film about a bunch of teenagers on an adventure, directed by Dean Israelite (the cousin of Jonathan Liebesman) and produced by Michael Bay.
The first scene in the film is a zoom into the New York sewers. This is an iconic shot that has appeared in every TMNT animated show.
April's boss in the film, Bernadette Thompson, is a feminine version of Burne Thompson, April's boss in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987).
In all of TMNT media, Leonardo is the leader and eldest of the Turtles. But Pete Ploszek (the actor who portrays Leonardo in this film) is actually the youngest of the four actors chosen to play the Turtles.
Mikey says Raphael is using a "Batman" voice (as in a low menacing snarl). Will Arnett had starred as Batman in The Lego Movie (2014), while William Fitchner had starred in the Batman film The Dark Knight (2008).
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Tohoru Masamune is the first ever Japanese actor to voice the Shredder in an English-speaking TMNT feature.
Michelangelo is drawn to an online video of a cat. In the comics and cartoons, he took in a stray cat as his pet.
According to Jonathan Liebesman, Michael Bay found the original cut of the film was too dark and dreary and had reshoots done to put more comedy and cartoon homages into the final film.
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As part of the promotion campaign of the film, there was a Japanese folktale released that described the Turtles and Shredder as supernatural creatures and guardians (inspired by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)'s Tengu Shredder and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)). In homage to this, Eric Sacks holds up a scroll with the word "kappa" on it.
The Channel 6 reporter McNaughton (Taran Killam) was a very obscure character from the "TMNT" Mirage comics.
The previously planned title, 'Ninja Turtles' was subsequently changed to 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' following fan protest. However, the Italian release title is 'Tartarughe Ninja' which translates to Ninja Turtles. While the official title in Japan is 'Mutant Turtles', which dropped the word ninja completely.
This film marks the second portrayal of a comic book hero for Alan Ritchson. The first role was that of Arthur Curry/Aquaman in Smallville (2001); coincidentally both heroes are of an amphibious nature.
Producer Michael Bay's directorial venture Armageddon (1998), featured a brief appearance by Judith Hoag (April O'Neill in the first feature film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)). Bay's successive film Pearl Harbor (2001) featured James Saito (the Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)) and Mako (Splinter in TMNT (2007)).
The Turtles have tattoos on them (Donatello's are not visible as he wears a lot of gear). This would be the second time they bear markings since Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), where they underwent ninja training and received special markings to denote their increased chi mastery.
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A canister of mutagen bears the title "TCRI". This stands for the Techno Cosmic Research Institute, a research facility in the "TMNT" comics/cartoons that was responsible for creating the mutagen.
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According to Pablo Helman, the Turtles' physical appearances are based on sports players: "Leonardo is like a wrestler, Donatello is like a basketball player, Raph is like a rugby player and Mikey is a very short soccer player".
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Donatello is wearing a set of tortoiseshell spectacles. Tortoiseshell, despite the name, is produced from the shells of the larger species of both tortoises and turtles.
This is the first TMNT film in the franchise to be released in 3D.
Megan Fox broke her little finger during filming.
Taran Killam is a huge fan of the Ninja Turtles and successfully lobbied to get a role in the film.
"Novantanove Formaggio" is direct Italian for "Ninety-Nine Cheese". A more correct name for the pizza would be "Novantanove Formaggi" ("Formaggi" is plural, so it would mean "Ninety-Nine Cheeses").
One subplot that was mentioned by actors that was cut out of the final film included the turtles believing that the public would see them as monsters and they always have to be away from society yet protect it.
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This is Tony Shalhoub's second comic book series after having done Men in Black (1997) (which was based on a comic book by Lowell Cunningham).
The Turtles describe their home as a Fortress of Solitude, Hogwarts and Xavier's Academy (from Superman, Harry Potter and X-Men respectively). While all three serve as bases and training areas, Hogwarts is notable for featuring the Chamber of Secrets, a lair accessible only through the castle's pipes and drains.
Shredder's head design bears a distinct similarity to the Transformer Grimlock from Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014). That film was directed by Michael Bay, who produces this film.
This is the first TMNT film to be produced/released by Paramount Pictures.
TMNT co-creator Peter Laird was not directly involved with the movie, so he suggested some caution about overreacting to the film's origins. He stated that the rumored extraterrestrial origins "might actually work. I'm not saying it's probable, or even somewhat likely... but it IS possible."
Raphael catches April with a chain. This is a homage to TMNT (2007), where he employed a kusari-fundo (a chain weapon), the only time in any TMNT feature he had used another weapon besides his sais.
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The Lebanese Tony Shalhoub is the fourth actor of Asian origin to portray Splinter, after the Japanese Mako and the Chinese actors Feodor Chin and Hoon Lee.
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Producer Michael Bay was so impressed with Jacob Sullivan and Darius Jackson's uncredited rewrites. He purchased a screenplay they wrote and plans on producing it.
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Brett Ratner was in talks to direct the film.
This is the first TMNT live-action film to feature the Turtles' antagonist Baxter Stockman.
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As of 2015 this film's budget is the highest in the franchise. It exceeded all the other films' budgets combined.
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A young Michelangelo calls himself a dragon. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) had the Turtles harness their chi and change into dragons, which represented their warrior spirit.
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The kiosk that April used to administer adrenaline to the turtles is in reality a Phoenix Hemodialysis System from Gambro.
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Kevin Eastman:  creator of "Ninja Turtles", a doctor. Eastman was also brought on as consultant for the film, and provided artwork for the opening animated montage.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The name of Eric Sacks is an Anglicized alias derived from the Shredder's original name of Oroku Saki.
This is the first ever TMNT story that doesn't feature Hamato Yoshi, the Shredder's civilian rival and creator of Splinter and the Turtles. The IDW comics origin of the Turtles, which this film uses, maintains that Hamato Yoshi lived in feudal Japan with his four sons; after crossing the Foot, they were all murdered by the Shredder of that era, and were reincarnated as Splinter and the Turtles. This part of the origin was left out for exploring in the sequel.
In the original TMNT comics by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, Splinter found a book on Renaissance artists that he uses to name the Turtles; in the film he finds a book on martial arts that inspires him to school the Turtles in martial arts. The book has Eastman and Laird's names on it, homaging their role as creators of the Turtles.
The film contains homages to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), the first cinematic TMNT film:
  • April discovers the Turtles after they save her from a Foot attack

  • Leonardo dices a pizza in mid-air and a slice drops onto Splinter's head

  • Splinter recounts the Turtles' history to April

  • the Foot Clan make a kidnapping

  • and the Turtles face the Shredder on a rooftop for their climactic duel (the Shredder uses a spear at one point, and intervention from a third party leads the Shredder to fall from the building).

On the Japanese mural in Eric Sacks' office, an Utrom can be seen waving a sword. This pays homage to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), where the Utrom Ch'rell had arrived in feudal Japan.
The origin of Splinter and his Turtles is based on the IDW comics, where they were lab subjects and April O'Neil is a lab assistant who named them.
Erick Sacks (William Fichtner) is based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) version of Oroku Saki, who was a businessman secretly in charge of the Foot. Originally it was intended that Sacks be the Shredder, but after the Mandarin controversy from Iron Man 3 (2013) (where the Mandarin was an actor and front for a conspiracy) the filmmakers decided to feature the classic Shredder and made Sacks his subordinate.
A downtown Manhattan fight between April and Vernon and Karai and a Foot squad was filmed, but was cut out because it drew away from the Turtles and was instead replaced with April and Vernon facing off with Sacks in his complex.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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